Duterte tells local execs to strictly enforce quarantine protocols, forego fiesta celebrations

Robie de Guzman   •   May 14, 2021   •   470

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday night directed local government officials to strictly implement community quarantine protocols and to prohibit fiesta celebrations in their localities amid the continuing threat of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

During a pre-taped public address late Thursday, Duterte warned local executives that they would be held accountable if they fail to enforce COVID-19 protocols.

 “Ang hinihingi ko is that you only not tone down but forego, kasi may batas, forego to congregrate, to crowd and to hold [fiestas],” he said.

“I will not allow the violations of the guidelines given by the task force. I will hold the local governments, down to the last barangay level, and therefore it could only be the barangay captains, I will hold you responsible for any violation itong mga batas na hindi napatutupad,” he added.

Duterte issued the directive as he approved the easing of quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila and other provinces.

Metro Manila and nearby provinces of Cavite, Bulacan, Rizal, and Laguna – called NCR Plus – have been shifted to general community quarantine (GCQ) “with heightened restrictions” from May 15 to May 31.

Other areas under GCQ during the same period are Apayao, Baguio City, Benguet, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Abra, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Batangas, Quezon, Puerto Princesa, Iligan City, Davao City, and Lanao del Sur.

Areas placed under modified enhanced community quarantine are Santiago City, Quirino, Ifugao, and Zamboanga City. The rest of the country will remain under modified GCQ.

Duterte emphasized that enforcing health protocols in the localities must be stringent to allow the country to recover from the pandemic and to prevent virus transmission.

He also reminded the public to wear face mask, frequently wash their hands and to stay at home.

“This is really a law so you have to enforce it because if you want this country to recover form the onslaught of COVID-19, you have to be mindful of what is going on and how to prevent it,” Duterte said.

“Nakikiusap ako, there are a lot of fiestas which you would like to hold, the problem is there is also the consequence which we must be mindful of,” he added.

PH logs 18,449 new COVID-19 cases

Robie de Guzman   •   September 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines on Monday recorded 18,449 new COVID-19 cases, pushing the country’s total to 2,509,177, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

Of the new cases, the DOH said that 17,953 were reported from Sept. 14 to 27.

The top regions with cases in the recent two weeks were National Capital Region (NCR) with 3,060 or 17%, Region 4-A with 2,465 or 14%, and Region 3 with 1,922 or 11% , it added.

Of the nationwide total, 158,169 cases are active – 78.7 percent of which are mild, 3.42 percent are moderate, 15.3 percent are asymptomatic, 1.7 percent are severe, and 0.8 percent are in critical condition.

Total recoveries climbed to 2,313,412 after 21,811 more patients recuperated from the disease.

The DOH also reported 93 new fatalities, raising the death toll to 37,494.

The agency noted in its bulletin that backlog deaths will be reported in separate advisories.

The DOH also said that 130 duplicates were removed from the total case count, while 227 cases previously tagged as recoveries have been validated to be active cases.

Some 117 cases that were previously tagged as recoveries were reclassified as deaths after final validation, it added.

The DOH said two laboratories failed to submit data on time.

Data from the agency also showed a positivity rate of 23.5 percent out of the 68,678 tests reported on Sept. 25.

The DOH said that ICU beds allotted for COVID-19 patients are 75 percent occupied nationwide, and 77 percent in the NCR.

Ventilators allotted for COVID-19 cases are 54 percent in use nationwide, and 58 percent in the NCR.

Over 42,000 inmates in BJMP jails now vaccinated vs COVID-19

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Over 42,000 persons deprived of liberty (PDL) detained in facilities under the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

According to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), a total of 42,493 PDLs have been inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine.

Of the PDLs who got jabbed, 27,951 received the first dose; 7,473 received the second dose and 7,069 received a single dose COVID-19 vaccine.

The top three regions with the highest number of vaccinated PDLs are Metro Manila, CALABARZON, and Northern Mindanao.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año calls on local government units (LGUs) to provide enough budget allocation for PDLs and jail officers.

Nakikiusap kami sa ating mga LGUs na bigyan ng sapat na alokasyon ang mga PDLs at jail officers. Napakadelikado na magkaroon ng hawaan sa loob ng mga piitan kaya dapat ay bakunado rin sila (We are requesting the LGUs to provide sufficient allocation for PDLs and jail officers. It would be very dangerous to have transmission inside detention centers so they need to be vaccinated as well),” he said.

“Our PDLs are not and will never be second-class citizens and they, too, deserve to be protected from the virus. We will not stop until all PDLs under the DILG and the BJMP’s supervision are all vaccinated,” he added.

Among the BJMP personnel, 12,568 are fully vaccinated while 14,441 are waiting for their second dose. AAC (with reports from Janice Ingente)

DepEd, DOH ink guidelines for pilot run of face-to-face learning

Robie de Guzman   •   September 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines ­– The Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Health (DOH) on Monday signed the guidelines for the pilot implementation of in-person classes in selected areas deemed as low-risk for COVID-19.

The DepEd said the guidelines contain mechanisms to ensure safety of participating learners, teaching and non-teaching staff, and their families.

“Our utmost priority is the health and safety of our learners and teachers while ensuring that learning happens and learning gaps are addressed. We have been proactive in planning for safe return to schools,” Education Secretary Leonor Briones said.

“The operational guideline for the pilot run of face-to-face classes is a product of our collaboration with DOH, in consultation with various stakeholders, including child health experts,” she added.

Briones stressed that the guidelines will only be applicable for schools that passed the strict vetting process of DepEd and DOH, and have the support of their respective local government units.

The pilot test will be conducted in 120 schools across the country that have passed the School Readiness Assessment conducted by DepEd and concerned local government units.

The guidelines set standards on the readiness of schools for re-opening. It implements the Prevent, Detect, Isolate, Treat, and Reintegrate (PDITR) framework highlighting the importance of availability of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities.

The guidelines also emphasized the need for proper ventilation in classrooms, room layouts that will enable physical distancing between persons, prioritization of students who will benefit most from limited face-to-face learning modality, management of foot traffic, and conduct of simulation activities prior to implementation of the pilot, among others.

“We want to ensure that we provide safe learning spaces for children during this pandemic. The pilot run will be a shared responsibility among DOH, DepEd and local government units to ensure that mechanisms are in place from prevention of COVID-19 infection to reintegration of recovered patients,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.

“It is also a shared responsibility among school management, teachers, and families for ensuring that all minimum public health standards are observed and possible COVID-19 cases are detected early through regular symptoms screening and reporting,” he added.

Teachers and school personnel participating in the program should be fully vaccinated, must be aged 65 and below, and have no co-morbidities.

“We are committed to providing additional protection for our teachers through vaccination. While vaccination is not mandatory, classroom learning will be limited to vaccinated teaching personnel. So as not to disenfranchise unvaccinated teachers, they may teach using distance or online modules. This also presents options for parents who are still hesitant to send their children to school,” Duque said.

Under the guidelines, Kindergarten class will have a maximum of 12 learners, while Grade 1 to 3 classes will have 16 students. Technical-Vocation classes in five senior high schools may have 20 learners.

Learners in Kindergarten to Grade 3 will only spend a maximum of 3 hours in school while senior high school students will have 4 hours.

The pilot will feature a combined implementation of face-to-face classes and distance learning.

DepEd assured it has drafted a contingency plan with recommended actions for various scenarios, which range from where there is a suspected case presenting symptoms, to a scenario where there is resurgence of COVID-19 cases in multiple barangays. This sets the policy on when schools should impose a lockdown.

“With the help of DOH and other local partners, we will soon orient those who will be involved in the pilot run and coordinate with them regarding the prioritization of their vaccination in case our participating teachers and other non-teaching personnel haven’t completed their vaccines yet,” Briones said.

The government has yet to announce the exact date of the pilot run for physical classes, as well as the list of participating schools.

The dry run will be carried out for two months. Its expansion will depend on the result of the evaluation of the pilot test.

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