Filipinos in Singapore cope with work adjustments amid coronavirus crisis
Marje Pelayo • February 20, 2020 • 579
SINGAPORE – Employers in the city-state are making arrangements with their workers to reduce the risk of community transmission of the deadly coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Filipino domestic helper Analyn Baculinao said her employer has asked her to just stay at home even on her rest day so as not to contract the disease.
Household workers in Singapore are known for rest-day gatherings especially during Sundays.
“Umpisa po noong naglabas ng advisory ang Ministry of Manpower tungkol sa domestic helper naging aware din po ang amo ko, kinausap niya ako na kung pwede huwag muna akong lumabas (Since the Ministry of Manpower issued an advisory regarding domestic helpers, my employer became aware of the situation and asked me if I could just stay at home),” Analyn told UNTV News.
“Huwag muna ako mag take ng day off kasi daw pag nag day off ako mag te-take ako ng bus, mag-e-mrt. Kaya super aware ang amo ko kaya sabi niya hanggang hindi okay hindi ka muna lalabas (She appealed that I should not take a day off for now because if I do, I would ride a bus, the MRT. My employer is aware (of the risk) that’s why she has asked me to stay indoors while the situation is not okay),” she added.
Jorge Araza, meanwhile, has no other choice but to extend his working hours as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Currently, he has to work 14 hours straight in a day because most of his Chinese office mates are under quarantine after coming from a vacation in mainland China.
“Lahat ng worker na galing sa China, quarantine ng 14 days bago sila pumasok sa site. Tapos ang mga staff naman, ang meeting namin sa mga consultant, online na ginaganap para maiwasan ang virus (All workers who returned from China are under 14-days quarantine that’s before they’ll be allowed to come to the site for work. Then, staff meetings with consultants are now being done online to prevent the spread of the virus),” Jorge, a mechanical and electrical supervisor, explained.
“Ang epekto sa amin, kulang po kami ng manpower kaya karamihan nag-e-extend po ang staff na nagta-trabaho. Tapos may pasok na po kami ng Sabado due to lack of manpower (The effect on us is lack of manpower so most of us in the office extend for additional hours. We are also required now to come to the office on Saturdays due to lack of manpower),” he added.
As of Wednesday (February 19), the Ministry of Health (MOH) reported three new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number infected to 84.
This makes Singapore the third country with the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection after China and Japan.
Of the 84, a total of 50 are still in hospital while the other 34 already recovered and discharged.
Most of those in the hospitals are already in stable condition with only four remain critical.
The World Health Organization (WHO) lauded Singapore’s efforts in handling cases of COVID-19.
“We are very impressed with the efforts they are making to find every case, follow up with contacts and stop transmission,” said World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“Singapore is leaving no stone unturned, testing every case of influenza-like illness and pneumonia, and so far they have not found evidence of community transmission,” he added.
Singapore’s campaign against the spread of coronavirus came strong as its leaders, led by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, lead the efforts themselves.
On February 8, Prime Minister Lee posted a video on his Facebook in three languages encouraging Singaporeans to stay united and resolute, assuring them that the country is much prepared now than it was 17 years ago during the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars).
Among the measures the Singapore government has taken into place is the intensified contact tracing and monitoring; the implementation of the new ‘Stay-Home Notice’ for 14 days for Singapore residents and long-term pass holders returning from mainland China (outside of Hubei). MNP (with inputs from Annie Mancilla)
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte revoked the earlier decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 (IATF) easing age restrictions in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
Duterte expressed concern that children aged 10 to 14 years old may compromise their safety and the safety of the older sector given that the new strain of coronavirus is said to be more contagious.
“Just to be sure and in our desire to protect our people, napilitan akong (I was compelled) ire-impose ang (the) 10 to 14 (years old restriction). Not at this time. It’s a sacrifice for the parents and for the children. It would limit their movements,” the President said late Monday night (January 25).
Following the president’s announcement, children 10 to 14 years of age are still not allowed to go outside their homes.
This policy, the President said, will remain in effect until the government is sure that the public is safe from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) through vaccination.
Last Friday (January 22), the IATF announced its plan to relax age restrictions which is supposed to take effect on February 1.
President Duterte asked for the public’s understanding regarding his latest decision.
“Pasensya na po kayo. (I’m sorry.) Mine is just a precaution,” he said.
“Takot lang ako kasi itong bagong (I’m worried because this new) strain strikes the young children,” he added, reminding the public to continuously follow the standard health and safety protocols as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country remains high.
To date, COVID-19 cases in the country have surpassed the half a million mark.
Meanwhile on Tuesday (January 26), the IATF is expected to come up with a recommendation on the quarantine classifications to be imposed for February.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III during Monday’s meeting reported that at this stage, the health care utilization rate in Davao de Oro and Baguio City has reached the critical level while that of Nueva Viscaya and Agusan del Norte are already high. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
MANILA, Philippines — The country’s top FM station Wish 107.5 staged another milestone in the Philippine music industry with a concert inside not just any venue but at the Big Dome on Sunday (January 17).
The radio station of the famed Wish Bus, once again proved that it is truly “breaking boundaries”, that despite the pandemic it was able to pull off a grand concert for a cause and gathered some of the top Filipino artists at the 6th Wish Music Awards hosted by celebrity-athlete Gretchen Ho and “Asia’s Romantic Balladeer,” Christian Bautista.
“It’s so nice to see people get a chance again to perform for their fans live, to just have a feel of the stage again,” said Ho.
Attendees underwent swab testing, while health protocols and proper sanitation procedures were strictly observed.
Each of the hosts and performing artists was given a microphone for their exclusive use throughout the event.
For the RT-PCR and antigen tests, Wish 107.5 partnered with Maxicare Health Corporation.
Only attendees with negative results were allowed to enter the venue.
The entire Big Dome also underwent massive disinfection for the safety of the attendees.
All productions and technical crew were required to use face masks and face shield throughout the event and floor markings were placed to guide them of the proper social distance.
The event at the Big Dome was not opened to the public, but fans and supporters were still able to enjoy the show as it was streamed live through Wish 107.5’s official YouTube channel.
Viewers on Sunday night reached to over 40,000 and the event hashtag #WishMusicAwards trended on Twitter with almost 200,000 tweets.
This year, the station gave two prestigious awards to individuals who made major contributions to the Philippine music industry, starting off with OPM legend and renowned lyricist, Rey Valera and Journey frontman and singer-philanthropist, Arnel Pineda.
“It is an honor to be bestowed this prestigious award; the prize money you’re going to give to us will definitely make a difference to the lives of our beneficiaries,” Pineda said, receiving the KDR Icon of Music and Philanthropy award.
“Salamat sa Kuya Daniel. Natutuwa ako puro kabataan ang nakikita ko. Nakikita ko ang kinabukasan ng OPM. Napakinggan ko ang mga lyrics nila. Importante sa akin iyon. Gusto kong mangyari kung ano ang mangyayari bukas,” Valera said receiving the KDR Icon of Musical Excellence award.
Winners in this year’s Wish Music Awards received P25,000 each while their chosen charities received P100, 000 each.
Among the highlights at Sunday’s event was the debut performance at the Wish Awards of OPM royalty, ‘Parokya ni Edgar’ and the award-winning Australian singer-songwriter Guy Sebastian.
Wish 107.5’s creator and innovator Kuya Daniel Razon, who on Sunday graced the event inside the Wish Bus, expressed his gratitude to all OPM artists for keeping their music alive to heal, to inspire and to give hope in the face of a pandemic.
“I wish to tell all of you, that your endeavors are very much appreciated,” noted Kuya Daniel, President and CEO of BMPI-UNTV which manages Wish 107.5.
“Ang inyong mga awitin at musika ay nanatili para patuloy na umaliw, patuloy na dumamay, sa bawat lumbay, sa bawat pangamba at sa bawat takot. Mayroon pong mga titik, mayroong tinig at tunog na palaging nagbibigay buhay at kahulugan sa mga damdaming ito. I would like to thank you all for being our hidden heroes during this difficult time,” he added.
Kuya Daniel vows to continue helping more Filipino artists by providing an avenue for the promotion of their music and an opportunity to spread goodwill through Wish 107.5. MNP (with reports from Mirasol Abogadil)
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang announced Tuesday (January 12) that the Philippine government is expanding its travel ban to include China and four other countries amid threats of a new coronavirus (COVID-19) variant.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that apart from China, travelers from Pakistan, Jamaica, Luxembourg and Oman are also not allowed to enter the country starting Wednesday (January 13) to Friday (January 15).
The expansion of travel restriction is part of the country’s measures to prevent the entry of new variants of coronavirus that were initially reported affecting residents in the United Kingdom and South Africa.
With five additional nations on the list, the Philippines so far has banned flights to and from 33 countries.
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