Duterte asks LGUs to accept returning OFWs cleared of COVID-19

Marje Pelayo   •   May 5, 2020   •   497

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte asked local government units to accept returning overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in their areas amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the country.

This is especially so if the OFWs have completed quarantine protocols and are cleared of the infection.

The President lamented over some LGUs not accepting returning Filipinos in their localities.

“If they are really cleared by the medical authorities, that is binding. It has to be the certification of the Department of Health. If your Department Secretary Duque would certify she has undergone the tests, that she is virus-free, then we have to make arrangements that they can go home,” the President said in a message aired on Monday night (May 4).

“But to say na hindi kayo pwedeng pumasok [But to say that they cannot enter] even after staying there for already more than 14 days without anything happening to them, then the national government — listen, local executives — will insist that you accept the OFWs. Magkakaroon tayo ng problema [We will have a problem] if you resist,” he said warning local officials that he will not hesitate to use his powers against them to be fair to all.

The President said he understands the concerns of LGUs about the risks of spreading the virus by accepting returning OFWs in their respective areas as it is their duty to help and protect their constituents.

But he also emphasized that every Filipino has a constitutional right to travel which the LGUs cannot simply ignore.

Importante lang na [It is important that] the returning workers, our brothers and sisters who have labored abroad to give us also their share of their income with us, we do not want to repay them with this kind of behavior,” he stressed.

He said there are still thousands of returning OFWs to worry about and what is needed at this time is cooperation among agencies including the LGUs.

READ: LGUs urged to allow entry of repatriated OFWs who completed 14-day quarantine

President Duterte also asked LGUs to provide OFWs with temporary shelter in their localities to help contain the virus and for them not to spend much of their hard-earned money which they expect to bring home to their families.

“Rather just leave them there stranded, they have money for their pockets intended as savings for their family,” he said.

“Their money would run out and they would go home with their pockets empty. We do not want that to happen,” the President concluded. MNP (with inputs from Rosalie Coz)

LRT-2 stops manual ticket selling to curb spread of COVID-19

Marje Pelayo   •   July 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Following the spike of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection among personnel of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3), the management of Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT-2) has decided to stop manual ticket dispensing in all its stations. 

This is to prevent physical contact and COVID-19 transmission among ticket sellers and commuters.

Instead, all LRT-2 passengers will have to use the ticket vending machines to acquire a ticket.

According to LRTA Spokesperson Atty. Hernando Cabrera, manual ticket selling is not part of LRT-2’s plan upon the resumption of their operations on June 1 but the full use of their ticket vending machines.

“What we did is we start with small stations, This is what is happening now. Talagang lahat na ng istasyon, maliit o malaki, ticket vending machines na ang ginagamit natin wala nang selling sa teller [In all stations, we use ticket vending machines already and no tellers anymore],” Cabrera.

But the LRTA clarified that while the ticket sellers were unloaded of their ticket selling functions, they may still provide passenger assistance such as help for senior citizens and technical problems with ticket dispensing among other concerns.

All single journey tickets will be disinfected before they return to circulation, according to Cabrera.

At the end of the day kapag nakolekta na namin lahat ng single journey ticket dadalhin namin sa depot and then ika-quarantine namin sila for 72 hours,” Cabrera said.

[At the end of the day once we collected all single-journey tickets, we will bring them to the Depot for quarantine for 72 hours.]

By that time, based sa study ay patay na yung virus, saka palang namin sila irere encode and then ibabalik ulit sa sikulasyon,” he added.

[By that time, based on the study that the virus is eliminated, that’s the time we will re-encode and bring them back to circulation.]

At present, LRT-2 has recorded two confirmed COVID-19 cases among its personnel and undergoing quarantine. 

Both patients were office-based and no exposures to passengers. MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

2 areas in San Juan City under lockdown due to spike of COVID-19 cases

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 9, 2020

Two areas in San Juan City are placed under lockdown due to the high number of confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

C. Santos Street in Barangay Balong Bato and J. Eustaquio Street in Barangay Proseso are considered critical zones by the local government of San Juan after a total of 13 COVID-19 cases were recorded.

Seven are from C. Santos Street while six are from J. Eustaquio Street. The two areas will be under lockdown from July 7 to July 22.

Based on National Task Force on Covid-19 Memorandum Circular No. 2, “a street shall be categorized as CrZ (Critical Zone) if at least two (2) cluster of cases, composed of either suspect, probable and/or confirmed COVID-19, are present in different houses, buildings or establishments along a specified street.”

The local government has provided assistance to 255 households affected by the lockdown, while police are deployed to monitor lockdown violators.

Meanwhile, San Juan’s Agora Market will remain closed until July 15 after 23 employees and vendors tested positive for COVID-19. The said market is now under disinfection and sanitation procedure.

As of July 8, the San Juan local government recorded a total of 481 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 134 active cases, 300 recoveries, and 47 deaths.

Based on the report, there is a spike in the daily number of new cases from June 27 compared to the recorded cases from June 15 to June 26. –AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

Tokyo 2020 expects to secure all venues for Games — local media

UNTV News   •   July 9, 2020

Tokyo Olympics organizers expect to be able to use all the venues as originally planned at next year’s rearranged Games, several Japanese media outlets reported on Thursday (July 9).

Securing venues was a top priority for organisers after the Games were pushed back to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Kyodo and NHK, citing unnamed sources, said they were now confident they would be tied down for Olympics use again.

However, at his regular weekly news conference, Tokyo 2020 spokesman Masa Takaya said the reports were “optimistic” and that nothing had been announced.

Last month, Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said 80% of all venues needed had been secured, with the Athlete’s Village and Tokyo Big Sight, the planned media centre, among those yet to be fully secured.

Thursday’s reports also said the competition schedule would remain largely unchanged and that all tickets holders would be eligible for refunds, and that organisers would seek approval of these decisions from the IOC’s General Assembly on July 17.

Asked to confirm those details, Takaya said nothing had been decided and Tokyo 2020 did not expect to seek approval from the IOC next week. (Reuters)

(Production: Jack Tarrant)

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