DILG tells LGUs, PNP: Strictly enforce health protocols to arrest spike in COVID-19 cases

Robie de Guzman   •   March 8, 2021   •   852

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday said it has directed all local government units (LGU) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to crack down on quarantine violators and intensify the enforcement of health protocols amid the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the country.

The DILG issued the directive after the country registered more than 3,000 COVID-19 cases a day for three days now.

DILG officer-in-charge Bernardo Florece Jr. ordered the Joint Task Force Shield to ramp up police deployment, particularly in Pasay City, Malabon, Navotas, Cebu City, and Cebu Province, which have recently registered higher number of cases.

“Naging kampante ang ating mga LGUs maging ang PNP sa enforcement ng ating mga minimum health standards kaya’t inaatasan ko ang ating mga local officials kasama ang mga barangay at kapulisan na puspusang ipatupad ang basic health protocols sa lahat ng barangay sa ating bansa,” Florece said in a statement.

Florece reiterated that the wearing of face masks and face shields and physical distancing should be strictly imposed in all localities and that violators should be fined based on the prevailing ordinances.

Temperature checks and filling out contact tracing forms manually or thru the Stay Safe app should also be a must in all establishments and workplaces, he added.

Additional contact tracers will also be deployed in areas with rising cases to aid the local contact tracing teams in identifying and testing of close contacts.

Florece also directed the PNP to strictly enforce the prevailing curfews imposed by LGUs in certain areas which has been adjusted by some to 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. 

“Isang taon na tayong naka-lockdown kaya dapat memorize na natin ito. Gawin na nating bahagi ng araw-araw na pamumuhay natin ang pagsunod sa basic health protocols para hindi na tumaas pa ang mga kaso,” he said.

Based on the latest case bulletin released by the Department of Health, the total number of new cases in the country reached 3,045 last Friday, 3,439 on Saturday, and 3,276 on Sunday. Cases in the National Capital Region, Region 7 and Calabarzon reached 1,533, 491, and 341, respectively, on Sunday.

Florece said LGUs should have enacted local ordinances providing sanctions to those who violate the minimum health standards set by the national government thru the Interagency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID). 

“If the ordinance they passed have no penal clause, they should immediately amend this because an ordinance with penalties have no teeth,” he said.

“Kailangang patawan ng kaukulang sanctions ng mga LGUs ang mga matitigas ang ulo na hindi sumusunod sa health protocols. Ang pagsuway at pagkakamali ng iilan ay katumbas ng mas maraming kaso,” he added.

According to Florece, LGUs can reverse the rising trend of coronavirus cases by ensuring zero lag time from symptom onset, testing, contact tracing, and isolation. The 10-day isolation and 14-day quarantine for those positive and with symptoms should also be strictly implemented.

“LGUs should also see to it that there is good ventilation in work spaces and other settings to prevent the transmission of the virus,” he said.

Florece also said that LGUs can implement localized lockdown in their respective jurisdictions without the need to request approval from the IATF.

The DILG likewise urged the public to “politely call out each other” if they observed simple breaches of health protocols, as this could lead to higher transmission of the virus more cases and possibly deaths. 

“Huwag nating iasa lahat sa gobyerno at kapulisan. Bantayan natin ang isa’t isa para ang lahat ay sumusunod, sa health guidelines ng IATF,” DILG Spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said.

“Sayang ang isang taon nating pagsasakripisyo kung magrerelax tayo ngayon. Lahat tayo ay dapat maging bida sa pagiging disiplinado at hindi maging pasaway,” he added.

PH records 13,846 new COVID-19 cases

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines on Tuesday (September 28) logged 13,846 new COVID-19 cases, pushing the nationwide tally of confirmed cases to 2,522,965.

In its latest bulletin, the Department of Health said the new single-day tally brought the number of active cases to 132,139.

Of these cases, 76.6 percent are mild, 3.99 percent are moderate, 16.4 percent are asymptomatic, 2.1 percent are severe, and 0.9 percent are in critical condition.

The DOH said seven testing laboratories failed to submit data on time.

Meanwhile, total recoveries rose to 2,353,140 after 39,980 more patients recuperated from the viral respiratory disease.

The death toll reached 37,686 after 91 deaths were recorded. 

The DOH also reported a positivity rate of 24.1 percent out of the 47,430 tests conducted on September 26. AAC

Over 42,000 inmates in BJMP jails now vaccinated vs COVID-19

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Over 42,000 persons deprived of liberty (PDL) detained in facilities under the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

According to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), a total of 42,493 PDLs have been inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine.

Of the PDLs who got jabbed, 27,951 received the first dose; 7,473 received the second dose and 7,069 received a single dose COVID-19 vaccine.

The top three regions with the highest number of vaccinated PDLs are Metro Manila, CALABARZON, and Northern Mindanao.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año calls on local government units (LGUs) to provide enough budget allocation for PDLs and jail officers.

Nakikiusap kami sa ating mga LGUs na bigyan ng sapat na alokasyon ang mga PDLs at jail officers. Napakadelikado na magkaroon ng hawaan sa loob ng mga piitan kaya dapat ay bakunado rin sila (We are requesting the LGUs to provide sufficient allocation for PDLs and jail officers. It would be very dangerous to have transmission inside detention centers so they need to be vaccinated as well),” he said.

“Our PDLs are not and will never be second-class citizens and they, too, deserve to be protected from the virus. We will not stop until all PDLs under the DILG and the BJMP’s supervision are all vaccinated,” he added.

Among the BJMP personnel, 12,568 are fully vaccinated while 14,441 are waiting for their second dose. AAC (with reports from Janice Ingente)

DepEd, DOH ink guidelines for pilot run of face-to-face learning

Robie de Guzman   •   September 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines ­– The Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Health (DOH) on Monday signed the guidelines for the pilot implementation of in-person classes in selected areas deemed as low-risk for COVID-19.

The DepEd said the guidelines contain mechanisms to ensure safety of participating learners, teaching and non-teaching staff, and their families.

“Our utmost priority is the health and safety of our learners and teachers while ensuring that learning happens and learning gaps are addressed. We have been proactive in planning for safe return to schools,” Education Secretary Leonor Briones said.

“The operational guideline for the pilot run of face-to-face classes is a product of our collaboration with DOH, in consultation with various stakeholders, including child health experts,” she added.

Briones stressed that the guidelines will only be applicable for schools that passed the strict vetting process of DepEd and DOH, and have the support of their respective local government units.

The pilot test will be conducted in 120 schools across the country that have passed the School Readiness Assessment conducted by DepEd and concerned local government units.

The guidelines set standards on the readiness of schools for re-opening. It implements the Prevent, Detect, Isolate, Treat, and Reintegrate (PDITR) framework highlighting the importance of availability of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities.

The guidelines also emphasized the need for proper ventilation in classrooms, room layouts that will enable physical distancing between persons, prioritization of students who will benefit most from limited face-to-face learning modality, management of foot traffic, and conduct of simulation activities prior to implementation of the pilot, among others.

“We want to ensure that we provide safe learning spaces for children during this pandemic. The pilot run will be a shared responsibility among DOH, DepEd and local government units to ensure that mechanisms are in place from prevention of COVID-19 infection to reintegration of recovered patients,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.

“It is also a shared responsibility among school management, teachers, and families for ensuring that all minimum public health standards are observed and possible COVID-19 cases are detected early through regular symptoms screening and reporting,” he added.

Teachers and school personnel participating in the program should be fully vaccinated, must be aged 65 and below, and have no co-morbidities.

“We are committed to providing additional protection for our teachers through vaccination. While vaccination is not mandatory, classroom learning will be limited to vaccinated teaching personnel. So as not to disenfranchise unvaccinated teachers, they may teach using distance or online modules. This also presents options for parents who are still hesitant to send their children to school,” Duque said.

Under the guidelines, Kindergarten class will have a maximum of 12 learners, while Grade 1 to 3 classes will have 16 students. Technical-Vocation classes in five senior high schools may have 20 learners.

Learners in Kindergarten to Grade 3 will only spend a maximum of 3 hours in school while senior high school students will have 4 hours.

The pilot will feature a combined implementation of face-to-face classes and distance learning.

DepEd assured it has drafted a contingency plan with recommended actions for various scenarios, which range from where there is a suspected case presenting symptoms, to a scenario where there is resurgence of COVID-19 cases in multiple barangays. This sets the policy on when schools should impose a lockdown.

“With the help of DOH and other local partners, we will soon orient those who will be involved in the pilot run and coordinate with them regarding the prioritization of their vaccination in case our participating teachers and other non-teaching personnel haven’t completed their vaccines yet,” Briones said.

The government has yet to announce the exact date of the pilot run for physical classes, as well as the list of participating schools.

The dry run will be carried out for two months. Its expansion will depend on the result of the evaluation of the pilot test.

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