DOTr, DOLE to provide jobs to repatriated OFWs affected by COVID-19 pandemic

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 8, 2021   •   140

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Transportation (DOTr), along with other government agencies, has signed a memorandum that would provide job opportunities for repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

During the 2021 Migrant Workers’ Day celebration on Monday (June 7), DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to provide OFWs displaced by the pandemic with employment opportunities in the DOTr.

“Our repatriated OFWs who are out of work will be able to work under the DOTr at narito sila sa sarili nilang bansa. They no longer need to go out of the country because work is here at home. Second, we will not be looking elsewhere in getting the needed workforce to finish various infrastructure projects,” he said.

Under the said agreement, the DOTr will provide OWWA with a list of vacant positions and skills required where an OFW can apply for work. These include projects under the Build Build Build Program.

Tugade reported that 2,000 jobs will be made available under the PNR Clark Phase 1 Project.

He also said that the department will not only prioritize hiring OFWs, but also displaced public utility drivers and conductors once the project becomes operational. AAC

DOTr to review increase of passenger capacity amid easing of quarantine restrictions

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is looking into increasing passenger capacity in public transportation as quarantine restrictions ease in several areas in the Philippines.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said during a virtual presser on Wednesday (June 16) that public transportation is currently at 50% capacity.

“Paunti-unti dadagdan naitn iyan at hihingi tayo ng approval sa mga kinauukulan, higit sa lahat sa IATF at sa mga LGU,” he said.

(We will gradually increase [the capacity] and we will request approval from respective authorities, especially from the IATF [Inter-Agency Task Force] and LGUs [local government units].)

Meanwhile, the department said they will continue to increase the number of buses available to accommodate more passengers with limited capacity and to lessen congestion.

Tugade also said he has instructed his team to review if increasing the passenger capacity by 5% to 10% is possible.

“Naumpisahan na iyan. Mayroon na kaming tinatawag na pag-aaral at mag-approach kami sa IATF na kung puwede dagdagan, let’s say 5%, 10% and we make it gradual. Hindi natin pwedeng biglain iyan,” he said.

(We have started it. We are already conducting studies and we will approach the IATF if we can increase the capacity by 5% or 10% and we make it gradual. We cannot rush this.) AAC

Delta COVID-19 variant, 60% na mas nakakahawa kumpara sa Alpha variant ayon sa ilang pag-aaral

Robie de Guzman   •   June 16, 2021

Higit na nakakahawa ang Delta variant ng coronavirus disease (COVID-19) kung ikukumpara sa iba pang natuklasang variant ayon sa Department of Health (DOH).

Ayon kay DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, lumabas sa ilang pag-aaral na 60 porsiyentong mas nakakahawa ang Delta variant na unang natuklasan sa India kumpara sa Alpha variant na unang napaulat sa United Kingdom.

“Iyong UK Variant po noong unang lumabas, sinabi nila na ito ay 50-60% more transmissible. So iyong existing po na variant natin ngayon for SARS-COV2 dadagdagan niyo ng 60% more transmissible so talagang mabilis po ang pagkakahawa-hawa,” ani Vergeire.

“Pero noong lumabas ang Indian Variant, it’s 60% more transmissible than the UK variant so it means that the existing variant that we have on top of UK and then there’s Indian Variant sobrang bilis na po ng pagkakahawa-hawa,” dagdag pa niya.

Buwan ng Mayo nang isama sa listahan ng variants of concern ng World Health Organization ang Delta variant.

Ibig sabihin, may mga ebidensyang nagpapakitang mas mabilis ang pagkalat nito, mas nakahahawa at sanhi ito ng mas malala o severe na pagkakasakit ng isang nagpositibo sa COVID-19.

Ayon sa United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ang Delta variant ay nakakabawas din sa epekto ng gamot o bakuna kontra COVID-19.

Batay sa mga pag-aaral sa United Kingdom, ang Delta variant rin ang nakitang dahilan ng mabilis na paglobo ng COVID-19 cases sa nasabing lugar.

Una nang iniulat na ang nasabing uri ng COVID-19 rin ang sanhi ng mabilis na pagtaas ng kaso sa India.

Sa Pilipinas, 13 ang natukoy na kaso ng Delta variant – dalawa sa mga ito ay pawang balikbayan na may travel history sa India.

Wala pang kumpirmasyon ang DOH sa ngayon kung Delta ang umiiral na COVID-19 variant ngayon sa mga lugar sa bansa na may mataas na kaso.

Sa ngayon ay nagpapatupad na ang Pilipinas ng travel restriction sa mga biyahero mula sa India at anim pang mga bansa na may kaso na rin ng nasabing variant.

Paalala naman ng DOH sa publiko na palagiang sumunod sa health protocols upang maiwasan ang hawaan ng COVID-19.

“Lagi natin tatandaan, variants are produced if there is a host, kapag mataas ang kaso mas maraming mag-mutate na virus, mas maraming variants na ipo-produce pero kapag na-maintain natin na mababa ang kaso kakaunti lang ang kapasidad ng virus na mag-mutate pa siya at mag- produce pa ng further variants,” ani Vergeire. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

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

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 16, 2021

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 

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