Government to formulate common ordinance on face masks for LGUs

Marje Pelayo   •   July 10, 2020   •   1040

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 requires PH establishments to adopt Safety seal, Stay Safe contact tracing app

Robie de Guzman   •   December 4, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) is requiring all establishments in the country to adopt the Stay Safe application and the generation of its QR code to trace those who have interacted with novel coronavirus patients, Malacañang said Friday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the IATF approved the recommendation of the Office of the Cabinet Secretariat to implement the Safety Seal Certification Program in addition to StaySafe.ph during their meeting on Thursday.

“All establishments, such as government offices, private companies, hotels and business establishments and public transportation units are thus required to adopt the Safety Seal,” Roque said in a statement.

The Stay Safe mobile application can be downloaded for free and can function without mobile prepaid load.

Those who use the app can just take a photo of the QR codes in malls, banks, restaurants, trains, and buses instead of manually filling out contact-tracing forms.

It will also notify them if a person they had close contact with in these places has tested positive for COVID-19.

The IATF has directed the departments of trade and industry, health, labor and employment, interior and local government, tourism, and transportation to issue the necessary joint memorandum circular to detail the requirements to secure a Safety Seal which will be displayed in entrances of all establishments.

Limited workshops, trainings, and other events now partially allowed in GCQ areas

Robie de Guzman   •   December 4, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The conduct of limited workshops, trainings, seminars, and other related events will now be allowed in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ), Malacañang said Friday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) during a meeting on Thursday decided to allow the following events to be held in GCQ areas, with venues to be filled up to 30 percent capacity:

  • Workshops
  • Trainings
  • Seminars
  • Congresses
  • Conferences
  • Board meetings
  • Colloquia
  • Conclaves
  • Symposia
  • Consumer trade shows

Roque said these events may be held in venues such as restaurants, in general; restaurants attached to hotels; ballrooms and function halls within hotels; venues within hotel premises; and mall atria.

The IATF has directed the Department of Tourism and the Department of Trade and Industry to jointly issue the necessary guidelines, he added.

The latest policy is stated in the IATF Resolution No. 87.

Metro Manila is currently under GCQ along with seven other areas until year-end. Select business have been permitted to operate at full capacity under this quarantine level.

Other parts of the country are under modified GCQ. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

IATF allows entry of Balikbayans starting Dec. 7

Maris Federez   •   November 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has approved the entry of balikbayans and their families to the country starting December 7.

In Resolution No. 85 dated November 26, the IATF has resolved to allow entry privileges to the Philippines Filipino citizens and former Filipino citizens, including their foreign spouses and children, regardless of age, who are traveling with them.  These privileges were provided for under Republic Act No. 6768 or the “Act Instituting the Balikbayan Program”.

The resolution stated that the entry of these persons shall be subject to the following conditions:

  1. They are allowed visa-free entry under Executive Order No. 408, s. 1960;
  2. With pre-booked quarantine facility;
  3. With pre-booked COVID-19 testing at a laboratory operating at the airport; and
  4. Subject to the maximum capacity of inbound passengers at the port and date of entry.

The decision of the IATF is without prejudice to immigration laws, rules, and regulations of the Bureau of Immigration (BI), the resolution said.

Among such regulations is that the Commissioner of Immigration shall have the exclusive prerogative to decide on waiver or recall of exclusion order for the above foreign nationals, including other foreign nationals who have entered the Philippines by virtue of the IATF resolutions.

The resolution also directed the BI to formulate the necessary guidelines to ensure smooth implementation, as well as the Department of Tourism to issue the necessary guidelines for the provision of sufficient accommodation for the foregoing persons taking into account the release of COVID-19 test results, the resolution further stated. — /mbmf

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