Filipino with UK variant now found negative for COVID-19, QC gov’t says

Robie de Guzman   •   January 22, 2021   •   296

MANILA, Philippines – The Filipino who contracted the UK variant of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has now tested negative for the virus based on his latest swab test, the Quezon City government said Friday.

Dr. Rolly Cruz, head of the City Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit (CESU), said physicians at the quarantine facility where the patient is currently staying will make a final assessment before he is declared fully recovered.

“After that, he would be allowed to reunite with his family and reintegrate with the community,” Cruz was quoted as saying in a statement.

However, the patient will remain under strict health monitoring for at least two weeks, he added.

The Department of Health (DOH) earlier reported that the patient, a resident of Barangay Kamuning, returned to the country from Dubai with his girlfriend on January 7. Upon arrival, he underwent the mandatory testing and 14-day quarantine.

After he tested positive for COVID-19, his sample was sent to the Philippine Genome Center for analysis and was later found that he contracted the UK coronavirus variant.

The DOH on Wednesday reported that the patient’s mother and girlfriend, together with 14 other passengers on his flight also tested positive for COVID-19. Their test results were also sent for genome sequencing to determine if they were infected with the new variant.

Meanwhile, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte reiterated her warning on residents against discrimination, saying it is punishable under the city’s existing anti-discrimination Ordinance.

Belmonte issued the warning after some workers residing in the said barangay complained of discrimination in their workplaces.

QC gov’t launches program to exchange waste for basic commodities

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 2, 2021

The Quezon City Government has launched a plastic waste trading project for residents to exchange their plastic waste with basic commodities.

The program entitled “Trash to Cashback” is launched with the help of the city’s Environmental Protection and Waste Management Department and the Basic Environmental Systems and Technologies, Inc. (BEST).

Under the said program, residents will convert their plastic waste to environmental points that can be exchanged for basic commodities such as rice, eggs, bread, fruits, vegetables and other essentials such as toiletries.

The QC government has yet to provide further details but they announced that caravans and rolling stores will be deployed to various barangays in the city.

Those interested may visit https://www.facebook.com/bxtraphilippines. -AAC

Quezon City resumes implementation of plastic bag ban

Robie de Guzman   •   March 1, 2021

The ban on the use of plastic bags in Quezon City has resumed on March 1.

In a statement, the city government said Mayor Joy Belmonte led the kickoff-rites last Sunday by inspecting markets in Galas, Muñoz, Suki, A. Bonifacio, Frisco, and Kamuning in Quezon City to distribute bayongs and eco-bags to marketgoers.

Belmonte also visited a supermarket in Barangay Kamuning.

The city government said the activity serves as a kick-off event in relation to the re-implementation of the City Ordinance 2868-2019 or the Plastic Bag Ban, which prohibits the use of plastics as carry-out bags in retail establishments through the city.

Belmonte said the activity is also part of the city’s celebration of Women’s Month this March which highlights the role of women in environmental protection.

Under the Kababaihan Para sa Kalikasan movement with the theme “Babae: Tayo ang Pagbabago,” women are encouraged to be more pro-active and be catalysts for change given their important role in our households and communities.

“We suspended the implementation of the ordinance during the pandemic para hindi po makadagdag sa uncertainty, but now we can manage the pandemic better so itinuloy na natin,” Belmonte said.

“Alam naman natin na plastics are one of the greatest polluters of our oceans and bodies of water, clogs our waste streams and pose health risks,” she added.

The city already implemented the ban in January 2020, but was temporarily lifted in May through the issuance of the city’s Localized Guidelines for Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) and its succeeding versions.

Under Ordinance 2868-2019, supermarkets, malls, shopping centers, fast-food restaurants, and other businesses violating the ban will be meted out with a fine of P1,000 for the first offense, a fine of P3,000 and revocation of environmental clearance for  the second offense, and revocation of business permit and a fine of P5,000 for the third offense.

The city government earlier said that it will also be enforcing the ban on the distribution of disposable and single-use plastics in restaurants and hotels for dine-in transactions starting July 1, 2021. Its implementation was also deferred through the MECQ guidelines.

As stated in City Ordinance 2876-2019, restaurants are prohibited from distributing single-use plastic/ disposable materials to their dine-in customers such as plastic spoon and fork, knives, plastic/ paper cups, plates, plastic/ paper straws, coffee stirrers and other disposable materials and Styrofoam.

For food delivery and take away orders, food establishments are also encouraged to adopt a “by-request protocol,” where they ask their customers if they need single-use plastic utensils and condiment sachets before providing it to them.

Food delivery applications such as Grab Food and Food Panda are also requested to consider incorporating the protocol to positively contribute in the plastic waste reduction program of the city.

Meanwhile, hotels in the city will also be prohibited from distributing soap, shampoo, shower gels, liquid soap, conditioners, and other items used for hygienic purposes in sachets and single-use containers.

The city government said it will be deputizing enforcers to check each establishment’s compliance to the ordinances.

Senate to conduct probe on QCPD-PDEA ‘misencounter’ — Dela Rosa

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Ronald ‘Bato’ Dela Rosa on Thursday (February 25) announced that the Senate will be conducting a hearing to shed light on the ‘misencounter’ between the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

The lawmaker said the investigation which will be conducted on March 2 will look into the seeming lack of proper coordination from both camps.

In a statement, Dela Rosa said that there was also negligence in the proper dissemination of that coordination to the operating units.

“Through our hearing and investigation, we will try to ferret out the truth and give [an] opportunity to all parties involved in this unfortunate incident to explain their side,” he added.

Dela Rosa said the hearing will help the Senate determine if there is a need to revise laws concerning law enforcement authorities. -AAC

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