DILG tells LGUs: Ensure all cemeteries are closed during Undas

Robie de Guzman   •   October 27, 2020   •   159

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday directed all local government units (LGU) and police commanders to make sure that all private and public cemeteries, memorial parks, and columbariums are closed during the Undas period.

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año reminded local authorities to close cemeteries from October 29 to November 4 to prevent any form of mass gathering amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, as previously ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte.

“September pa lang po nagbigay na ng kautusan ang Pangulo. We expect all LGUs to cooperate by ensuring that cemeteries within their localities are closed. Ito’y para walang mass gathering ngayong panahon ng pandemya,” Año said.

He also mandated all police chiefs across the country to make sure that health and safety protocols are strictly enforced as people begin to flock to cemeteries for the observation of Undas ahead of the closure period.

“The local police commanders and the mayors by now should have discussed the rules that would be implemented per locality but all these local rules that would be crafted should conform to the guidelines set by the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force),” he said.

The number of visitors in cemeteries, memorial parks, and columbariums shall also be limited to only 30 percent of the venue’s capacity, with all those entering required to wear face masks and face shields and observe physical distancing.

Año also said that PNP assistance desks must be set up with regular foot patrol to ensure that IATF regulations on the number of people are followed.

The DILG chief said Undas this year will be different from the usual observance as he urged the public for their consideration and patience since the health crisis is not yet over.

“During the pandemic, we are asking for the people’s cooperation by not going to the cemeteries, staying at home from October 29 to November 4, 2020, and visiting their departed relatives days before or weeks after the closure,” he said.

“Maaari naman pong makadalaw sa mga sementeryo ang ating mga kababayan kahit anong edad bago o matapos ang itinakda at ipinagbabawal na mga araw. Ito naman po ay para rin sa kabutihan ng nakararami,” he added.

Local airlines to increase number of flights this holiday season

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Local airlines are preparing to add more flights as more passengers are expected to travel this holiday season just as quarantine restrictions ease.

Philippine Airlines (PAL) spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said the easing of quarantine restrictions can help the airline industry recover from the effects of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“The good news is the Balikbayan Program. This is the easing of travel requirements for balikbayans to entice them to return to the Philippines,” she said.

Villaluna said they are also coordinating with local government units to make sure the minimum health standards are still being implemented.

Local airlines have already partnered with private laboratories for more affordable and faster swab testing of passengers. For PAL and Air Asia, the RT-PCR testing in their accredited diagnostic lab costs P4,000.

Meanwhile, Cebu Pacific launched a “test before boarding” policy which requires passengers to undergo an antigen testing before boarding. The testing in Cebu Pacific is free from December 3 to December 14 but it is only exclusive to passengers en route to General Santos City.

“This is an initiative where we are closely working with the LGU in coming up with this process wherein passengers are required to take an antigen test no more than five hours before their departure time and then the results will come out in 30 minutes,” according to Candice Iyog, vice president for Marketing and Customer Experience of Cebu Pacific.

Local airlines advise passengers to refer to their respective websites for the essential requirements before boarding their flights. AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

Duterte to attend virtual UN General Assembly on COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   December 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is set to participate in the 31st Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic from December 3 to 4, Malacañang said Thursday.

The Palace said Duterte is expected to deliver the Philippine Statement on December 3, where he will further amplify his call for global solidarity in addressing the challenges posed by the COVID-19.

The president is also expected to raise universal access to the anti-COVID-19 technologies, as well as the need for global efforts to ensure the availability of safe and effective vaccines to peoples of developing nations.

During the 75th UNGA session last September, Duterte also said that COVID-19 vaccines “must not be denied nor withheld,” and that “it should be made available to all, rich and poor nations alike, as a matter of policy.” – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Unemployment rate in October 2020 eases to 8.7% —PSA

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 3, 2020

The unemployment rate in October 2020 eases to 8.7%, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

From April 2020, with a 17.6% unemployment rate, the number of unemployed Filipinos continued to drop to 10% in July and 8.7% in October. This is equivalent to 3.8 million Filipinos, 15 years old and above, who are unemployed.

With several establishments reopening after strict lockdowns due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), several Filipinos were able to find jobs during the last quarter of the year.

Meanwhile, the underemployment rate also droppedd to 14.4% this October, compared to 17.3%t last July.

The PSA said the economy is gradually recovering as lockdowns continue to ease. -AAC

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