DOT clarifies tourists of all ages from NCR Plus can still travel to Boracay until June 30

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 16, 2021   •   253

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT) has clarified that tourists of all ages in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus are free to travel to Boracay and other tourist destinations under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) until June 30.

In a statement, Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat made the clarification following reports that some tourism stakeholders may not be aware that restrictions had been relaxed, even for seniors and young travelers, since June 1. She said this would further help tourism workers to return to their jobs.

“This extended liberal movement of people will allow the DOT and local government units to revive the jobs of displaced tourism workers,” Puyat said.

The NCR Plus still remains under general community quarantine (GCQ) with varying degrees of restrictions. The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) also extended its resolution to allow the movement of persons traveling in and out of NCR Plus until June 30.

The DOT said that, based on IATF Resolution 121, interzonal travel will be allowed in areas under GCQ and MGCQ for leisure purposes. However, tourists coming from Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal may only undertake point-to-point travel to GCQ and MGCQ areas

Meanwhile, Puyat urged tourism enterprises to abide by the guidelines of the IATF. This includes implementing 30% to 50% limited capacity in museums and outdoor tourist attractions.

Essential meetings and other social events such as weddings, birthday celebrations, are allowed in GCQ areas at up to 50% capacity, except for NCR and Bulacan. Essential meetings in the NCR and Bulacan will only have 30% capacity while social events will be at 10% capacity.

“The amended guidelines from the Task Force also comes with the responsibility to strictly adhere to the minimum health and safety protocols when traveling,” Puyat said. AAC 

Garbage still main cause of flooding in NCR — MMDA

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Garbage is still the main cause of flooding in the National Capital Region (NCR), according to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos Jr. reported there are low areas in the NCR that are prone to flooding but other areas have clogged drainages due to wastes.

He also said that the MMDA is repairing and declogging the pumping stations for the flood water to go to Pasig River.

Sa ngayon ay ginagawa natin ang mga pumping station para i-pump out ang mga tubig na bumabaha. Pero paano mo ipa-pump out kung talagang heavy ang siltation, barado dahil sa basura” he said.

(Presently, we are repairing the pumping stations to pump out the floodwater. But how will you pump it out if there is heavy siltation and it’s clogged due to the garbage.)

In San Andres Pumping Station, around 8 to 10 cubic meters of garbage are collected per day during the rainy season.

The MMDA reminds the public to avoid throwing garbage on the streets. -AAC (with reports from Asher Cadapan Jr.) 

NCR, 4 provinces placed under GCQ with heightened restrictions until July 31

Marje Pelayo   •   July 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The National Capital Region (NCR) and four other provinces have been placed under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions beginning Friday (July 23) until Saturday (July 31).

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to impose such restrictions due to threats of COVID-19 infections specifically following the confirmation of Delta variant cases in the country.

The same IATF rules would be observed when NCR was previously under GCQ with heightened restrictions.

Apart from Metro Manila, areas also placed under GCQ with heightened restrictions are:

  1. Ilocos Norte
  2. Ilocos Sur
  3. Davao de Oro
  4. Davao Del Norte

Prior to the recent change in restrictions, both Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur were under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) supposedly until the end of July.

Davao de Oro and Davao del Norte were under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ).

As these areas will be placed under GCQ with heightened restrictions. Children five years old and above will not be allowed to go to outdoor areas, as provided for under IATF Resolution No. 125 (s.2021).

Meanwhile, Davao del Sur, which was previously under MECQ, is placed under GCQ starting July 23, 2021 until July 31, 2021.

Given the new restrictions, the following measures must strictly be implemented:

-All incoming international travelers in all ports of entry must strictly comply with testing and quarantine protocols approved by the IATF in order to prevent the introduction of variants of concern to the country.

-All close contacts of the confirmed case inside the plane or vessel must be identified by the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) to closely monitor them.

-Infection prevention and control protocols must likewise be strictly followed in all quarantine and isolation facilities.
-Local government units handover must include clear transportation arrangements and quarantine accommodation.

-Local government units must closely monitor for the appearance of any sign or symptom while arrivals are completing their quarantine and immediately conduct RT-PCR testing after detection of symptoms.

-Health assessment must be done for all arrivals at the end of isolation or quarantine period.

-Establishments are asked to consider developing and converting more outdoor spaces into temporary outdoor weekend markets and dining spaces, as outdoor recreational spaces and public sanitation facilities to enable the safe continuity of economic activities.

-Foreign spouses, parent/s, and/or children of Filipino citizens with valid 9(a) visas are allowed to enter the Philippines without the need of an entry exemption document beginning August 1, 2021.

The IATF also approved the continuous and strengthened implementation of the Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate (PDITR) Strategy which includes active case finding, intensified contact tracing, immediate quarantine/isolation which should preferably be in a facility, declaration of localized Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) down to the zone or barangay levels, stricter implementation and observance of minimum public health standards, and fast-tracked deployment of COVID-19 vaccines.

COVID-19 reproduction rate sa NCR, muling tumaas; panibagong surge pinangangambahan – OCTA

Robie de Guzman   •   July 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Nagbabala ang OCTA Research team hinggil sa posibilidad ng muling pagkakaroon ng COVID-19 surge dahil sa tumataas na namang reproduction rate sa National Capital Region (NCR).

Ayon sa OCTA Research team, umaabot ngayon sa 1.15 ang reproduction rate sa NCR na mas mataas kumpara sa 0.91 noong nakaraang linggo.

Ibig sabihin, higit na sa isang tao ang maaaring mahawa ng isang nag-positibo sa COVID-19.

Ayon kay OCTA Research Fellow, Dr. Guido David, ang nakikitang pagtaas ngayon ay kagaya umano noong panahon na nagkaroon ng COVID-19 surge sa bansa sa unang bahagi ng taon.

“We are seeing an increase which is similar to the increase we saw last February,” ani David.

Naniniwala si David na ang pagkalat ng Delta variant ang isa sa mga sanhi ng muli na namang pagtaas ng kaso ng COVID-19 sa bansa.

“Based on the evidence that there are local cases of the Delta variant in Manila and the NCR, there is sufficient cause to suspect na at least part of this is driven by the Delta variant,” ani David.

Kapag muling tumaas ang kaso ng COVID-19, mapupuno ang mga ospital at mangangailangan muli ng mas maraming facility beds at manpower ang mga ospital lalo na sa NCR Plus areas.

Kaya panawagan ng grupo sa pamahalaan, pabilisin ang COVID-19 response at agad magpatupad ng mga hakbang upang mapigilan ang lubhang pagtaas ng mga kaso.

“Maybe it’s too early to call it a surge pero we should not wait for it to become a surge before we act on it. It’s better if we are cautious. We act on this now and make preparations, interventions,” dagdag pa niya.

Bagaman hindi pa makumpirma sa ngayon kung mayroon nang local transmission ng Delta variant, sinabi ni Health Secretary Francisco Duque III na may posibilidad na nangyayari na nga ito.

“As we ramp up our response, our capacities we need to assume na mayroon ng local transmission but there is yet no evidence to establish because investigations are ongoing to link this identified local cases to and international travelers who might have brought it here,” ani Duque.

Once you are able to establish that then mas maganda because of course it doesn’t mean only just because ma-link mo siya into a international traveller you let your guards down, you don’t, that’s why you continue to assume that there is transmission,” dagdag pa niya.

Tiniyak naman ng Department of Health na pinaghahandaan na ng pamahalaan ang posible pang pagtaas ng COVID-19 cases sa bansa.

Bukod sa oxygen supply ay nagdagdag na rin ng hospital beds sakaling dumami ang mga pasyenteng kailangang i-admit sa mga pagamutan.

Sa kasalukuyan ay nasa 47 na ang naitatalang kaso ng Delta variant sa bansa. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

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