Duterte supports IATF’s ‘no back-ride’ policy

Marje Pelayo   •   June 5, 2020   •   701

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte maintains his support for the Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 (IATF) ‘No Backride’ policy on motorbikes.

According to Duterte, the policy remains unless no new case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is reported. 

Prior to his statement, the President already turned down an appeal from the province of Cebu asking him to lift the policy in consideration to commuters due to limited public transport service. 

The Chief Executive argued that exempting the province of Cebu from the policy will be unfair to other provinces that have been asking similar requests.

“If I begin to give an exemption to one, I will open myself to charges of Anti-Graft Law, giving another an undue advantage,” Duterte said. 

Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia earlier recalled the city government’s executive order allowing back riders in the province.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año maintains that backriding cannot ensure the health safety of the riders against COVID-19 infection. 

The national government has been criticized for the policy as critics argue that backriding should be allowed to married and cohabiting couples who have been living together. 

Nonetheless, Año assured that the national government may consider lifting the policy once the country has flattened the curve on COVID-19 cases. 

“Napakahirap talaga pero health risks po ang pinaguusapan natin, hindi ang convenience [Commuting is hard but what we are taking into consideration here is the health risks, not convenience],” he said. 

“Pero ang buhay kapag nahawa ang isa, sigurado mahahawa ang isa. It’s costlier kung mamamatay sila [Life is what we are taking into consideration. When one is infected, his partner will be infected as well. It’s even costlier if they die],” he added. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Government to formulate common ordinance on face masks for LGUs

Marje Pelayo   •   July 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The national government is formulating a common ordinance on wearing face masks to be imposed by all local government units (LGU) across the country.

This was among the issues discussed at a recent meeting between the Inter-Agency Task Force and the Council of Metro Manila Mayors.

The said ordinance will set guidelines for law enforcers on accosting violators.

Iminumungkahi na po na magkaroon ng common ordinance para magpataw po ng parusa sa mga taong hindi nagsusuot ng masks sa mga pampublikong lugar (There have been proposals for a common ordinance to penalize individuals who refuse to wear a mask in public places) ,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

Magkakaroon po iyan ng common ordinance, (There will be a common ordinance),” he assured.

The plan was prompted by an incident where journalist Howie Severino, a COVID-19 survivor, was accosted by authorities after pulling down his mask to take a drink during an early morning bicycle ride in Quezon City.

The city implements Ordinance No. 2936 which requires the use of face masks or other face-covering when in public places. MNP (with inputs from Rosalie Coz)

IATF expands services in salons, barbershops amid COVID-19 pandemic

Maris Federez   •   July 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 has expanded the services allowed in salons and barbershops in areas under the general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

Aside from haircut services, hair treatments are now allowed in salons under the GCQ areas; while nail care, basic facial care services, and basic personal care services will be allowed in areas under MGCQ.

Nevertheless, minimum public health standards will be strictly implemented in both GCQ and MGCQ areas, such as strict protocol on hand sanitation, face mask and face shields, gloves, and sterilized equipment.

The operating capacity in salons and barbershops will also be expanded to 50 percent in GCQ areas and 75 percent in MGCQ areas starting July 16, 2020. —(with details from Rosalie Coz) /mbmf

Religious gatherings up to 10% of venue capacity to be allowed in GCQ areas after July 10 – IATF

Robie de Guzman   •   July 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Friday announced that religious gatherings involving attendees of up to 10% of the venue capacity will soon be allowed in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ).

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said this is based on the latest resolution approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases following calls for the partial reopening of places of worship.

Roque said the new policy will take effect next Friday, July 10.

“Magkakaroon muna po tayo ng dry run na 10% itong darating na linggo, pero yung 10% po na allowed na ang lahat ay magsisimula po ng July 10,” he said in a televised press briefing.

The Palace official stressed that public health standards such as physical distancing, wearing of face mask, disinfection and hand hygiene, should be strictly followed.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier announced that the following areas will be under GCQ from July 1 to July 15:

  • National Capital Region
  • Cavite
  • Benguet
  • Rizal
  • Lapu-Lapu City
  • Mandaue City
  • Talisay City
  • Towns of Minglanilla and Consolacion in Cebu Province
  • Leyte
  • Ormoc
  • Southern Leyte

Roque also announced that operation of travel agencies in GCQ areas will also be allowed but only limited to a skeleton workforce.

The Department of Trade and Industry will also release a set of guidelines on additional services that will be allowed in salons and barbershops.

The latest IATF resolution also states that practice and conditioning sessions for professional basketball and football teams will also be permitted.

Roque said the move comes after a joint administrative order was signed between the Philippine Sports Commission, Games and Amusements Board, and the Department of Health to allow limited physical activities amid the community quarantine. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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