DTI to allow mall-wide sales to revive economy amid pandemic

Robie de Guzman   •   October 20, 2020   •   591

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it will once again allow the conduct of mall-wide sales to draw more shoppers as part of government efforts to revive the country’s economy amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said the move aims to encourage more customers to visit malls following the Inter-Agency Task Force’s (IATF) decision to ease quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila and allow more people to leave their homes.

“Payagan ulit natin para restimulate ulit ang dami ng tao sa mall dahil nakita natin as we reopen hindi pa ganun kadami yung mga nagpupunta sa mall,” he said.

“Isang panghikayat ulit para sumigla ang ekonomiya ay payagan natin ang paggawa ng mall-wide sale o whether sa isang tindahan,” he added.

The DTI earlier said around 95% of sectors have been allowed to resume operations amid the pandemic, provided that they implement strict observance of health protocols in light of the COVID-19 threat.

Mall operators, for their part, assured they will continue to follow health protocols for commercial establishments to ensure the safety of their customers. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)



Senate probes distance learning quality, deferment of proposed resumption of in-person classes

Robie de Guzman   •   February 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – A Senate panel will conduct an inquiry on Wednesday on the quality of distance learning, other psycho-social concerns, and the implications of postponing the resumption of face-to face classes amid the threat of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chairperson of the Senate committee on basic education, arts, and culture, said that during the hearing, he will urge the Department of Education (DepEd) to use all available tools and resources to avert a looming ‘learning crisis’ as part of its next steps in mitigating the “pernicious effects” of distance learning.

Gatchalian earlier expressed fears that a huge chunk of more than 25 million learners in the basic education sector might end up “unprepared” for their next level of schooling.

While DepEd has exhausted all possible steps to provide for continued education amid the pandemic, Gatchalian stressed that several challenges still hound the rollout of distance learning, including the inadequacy of connectivity, lack of enough guidance from teachers, and the quality and effectiveness of self-learning modules, among others.

“Dahil ipagpapaliban muna nating muli ang pagkakaroon ng face-to-face classes, mahalagang magkaroon tayo ng kaliwanagan sa kung ano ba ang magiging pangmatagalang epekto nito sa ating mga mag-aaral, lalo na’t hinaharap nila ang maraming mga hamong may kinalaman sa epektibong pagpapatupad ng distance learning,” Gatchalian said in a statement issued on Wednesday morning.

“Ang ating layunin sa pagpapatuloy ng edukasyon sa gitna ng pandemya ay masigurong natututo ang ating mga mag-aaral at maging handa sila para sa susunod na antas ng kanilang pag-aaral,” he added.

Duterte earlier thumbed down fresh proposals to resume face-to-face classes in areas classified as low-risk for COVID-19 transmission.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque relayed the president’s decision not to allow any in-person classes until the vaccination program has been rolled out in the country.

Roque, however, said that face-to-face classes may be considered in August this year after the launch of the immunization drive.

A pilot test of limited face-to-face classes was supposed to be held by the government last January but was ordered suspended by Duterte due to increasing COVID-19 cases.

Duterte thumbs down fresh bid to resume in-person classes – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   February 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has rejected for a second time, proposals to resume face-to-face classes in the country amid the continuing threat of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Malacañang said Monday.

“Nagdesisyon na po ang president ha, wala pa rin po tayong face-to-face classes sa bansa,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said

“Ang sabi niya, ayaw po niyang malagay sa panganib o alanganin ang buhay ng ating mga mag-aaral at mga guro habang wala pa pong nababakunahan sa bansa,” he added.

Roque issued the statement after the Department of Education (DepEd) earlier expressed support for fresh bids to conduct a dry-run of in-person classes in areas classified as low-risk for COVID-19 transmission.

He, however, said that face-to-face classes may be considered in August this year after the launch of the COVID-19 vaccination drive.

“Sabi niya, may awa po ang Panginoon, baka naman po pagkatapos nating malunsad ang ating vaccination program, pwede na tayong mag-face to face sa Agosto lalong-lalo na dun sa mga lugar na mababa po ang COVID-19 cases,” he said.

A pilot test of limited face-to-face classes was supposed to be held by the government last January but was ordered suspended by Duterte due to increasing COVID-19 cases.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones last week said that a survey conducted by her agency showed that more than 50% of students were in favor of attending face-to-face classes.

Briones also said that the Philippines is also the only country in Southeast Asia that has yet to resume limited in-person classes to supplement distance learning modalities. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Higit na 300,000 manggagawa naka-depende sa pagbubukas ng mga sinehan—DTI

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Kinakailangan nang maibalik ang operasyon ng mga sinehan dahil dito nakasalalay ang kabuhayan ng halos 300,000 mga manggagawa, ayon sa Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Ayon sa Consumer Protection Group ng DTI na si Usec.Ruth Castelo, maraming manggagawa sa sinehan ang halos isang taon nang nahinto sa pagtratrabaho kayat umaasa ang nga ito na muli na silang makababalik sa kanilang hanapbuhay.

“Recommendation ng NEDA and the DTI Secretary Lopez na i-allow na para makabalik na sa trabaho yung mga tao ng income, makagenerate sila ng income at makasuporta doon sa mga pamilya nila,” aniya.

Nag-inspeksyon din ang DTI noong Miyerkules (ika-16 ng Pebrero) sa ilang mga sinehan upang makita ang kanilang paghahanda sakaling mag-umpisa na muli ang kanilang operasyon.

Bagaman wala pang guidelines na inilalabas ang national government, ginagawan na ng paraan ng mga mall operator na magkaroon nang maayos na bentilasyon sa loob ng mga sinehan.

Paliwanag pa ng nga ito, bago pa ang pandemya ay sinisuguro na nila na malinis at tama ang sirkulasyon ng hangin dito.

“Two hours prior to the cinema opening we started operating our fresh air and exhaust system to ensure na fresh ang air natin sa loob ng cinema then while you are watching there are six air exchange happening in the cinema. So ibig sabihin kahit nakaupo ka lang nagpapalit ang hanging sa loob ng 6 na beses sa isang oras,” ayon kay Gerson Dela Cruz, Senior Engineer Facilities Management ng Ayala Malls.

Mahigpit na ring ipagbabawal ang pagkain sa loob ng mga sinehan upang maiwasan ang posibleng hawaan ng COVID-19.

“So that all facemasks must be worn all the time while inside the cinema and of course we’re waiting for the additional guidelines, safety guidelines that will come out before we open the cinemas required by the LGUs and IATF,” ayon naman kay Bomboy Lim, ang General Manager ng Robinsons Movie World.

Sa ngayon ay hinihintay pa rin ang guidelines na babalangkasin ng Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)  na dapat masunod sa mga enclosed na establisyimento gaya ng mga sinehan.

Pero nauna na ring sinabi ng IATF na bukod sa guidelines, kinakailangan din na aprubado ng mga alkalde na nakakasakop sa kanilang mga lugar ang muling pagbubukas ng mga sinehan at arcade.

Una nang sinabi ni Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso na magkakaloob sila ng libreng swab test sa mga cinema worker at hindi niya papayagan na magbukas ito hangga’t hindi sumasailalim sa pagsusuri ang mga manggagawa nito.

“Pinag-aaralan pa namin kasi while it is true that we wanted to open businesses, are they ready to come up with a plan yung katulad ng cinema o yung mga nabanggit? Hindi naman po pwede na bibiglain natin. Kailangan responsable pa rin,” aniya.

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