Gov’t travel restrictions bar OFWs bound for Red List countries from leaving

Maris Federez   •   December 3, 2021   •   420

MANILA, Philippines — Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) bound for the countries under the Red List cannot still go out of the country amid the threat of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

The POEA said that even if OFWs have complete travel documents, they still cannot leave because there are no outbound international flights going to their employment destination.

POEA administrator Attorney Bernard Olalia stated that because inbound flights from counties under the Red List are banned, outbound flights going there are affected as well.

“At bilang nasa kategorya ng Red List countries, kanselado po lahat ng incoming international flights, at pagka kanselado po ang international incoming flights ay syempre wala ring outbound international flights,” he said.

Based on the resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases seven countries were added to the Red List were cases of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant which health authorities categorized as a variant of concern.

These countries are Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, and Italy.

Inbound flights from these countries were banned to prevent the entry of the said variant.

Olalia said that POEA will issue a labor advisory to OFWs affected by the travel ban to guide them on what action to take.

Meanwhile, OFWs from the Red List countries will be allowed to return to the Philippines via repatriation flights organized by the government, the Bayanihan Flights, and flights initiated by non-government organizations.

“Kapag galing po kayo sa ibang bansa na ganyan, at ito pong flight ninyo ay isang government-initiated flight, o kaya NGO-initiated flight, o kaya Bayanihan flight na in-arrange po ng POLO o DFA. Kayo po ay papayagan namang makalapag dito kapag kayo ay OFW,” Olalia said.

The POEA said OFWs who are interested to avail of the repatriation flights may coordinate with the Philippine Embassy for the availability of slots.

OFW passengers are required to undergo the 14-day mandatory facility-based quarantine, as well as, an RT-PCR testing on the 7th day upon arrival in the Philippines. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Aileen Cerrudo)

Kaso ng Omicron variant naitala sa 15 lugar sa Metro Manila – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   January 18, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Labinlimang lugar sa Metro Manila na ang nakapagtala ng local case ng Omicron COVID-19 variant, ayon sa Department of Health (DOH).

Ayon kay DOH Epidemiology Bureau director Dr. Alethea de Guzman, ikinokonsidera nang predominant variant ang Omicron sa Metro Manila batay sa resulta ng pinakahuling whole genome sequencing run.

“Our latest whole genome sequencing showed that the Omicron variant is now the predominant variant in the National Capital Region, It’s also detected in 13 of 17 regions and in the National Capital Region, 15 of its 17 areas already have local Omicron cases,” ang wika ni De Guzman.

Hindi na tinukoy ng DOH ang mga nasabing lugar pero ayon kay De Guzman, mabilis ang pagkalat ng nasabing variant na maaaring bunsod na rin ng paglabas ng mga tao at hindi lubos na pagsunod ng iilan sa public health protocols.

“These case increases that we’ve seen especially in the National Capital Region is driven by Omicron but is also facilitated by our increased mobility, our reduced compliance to minimum public health standards, as well as delays in our detection and isolation,” ani De Guzman.

Bukod sa Metro Manila ay napansin rin ng kagawaran ang pagtaas ng kaso ng COVID-19 sa lahat ng rehiyon sa bansa.

“We have now observed an increase in cases across all regions and all provinces, highly-urbanized cities and independent component cities but there are still areas whose counts are lower than what we are seeing now in the NCR Plus but we’re already seeing continuous and swift increases,” ani De Guzman.

Una nang sinabi ni Health Secretary Francisco Duque III na nasa critical risk classification ang Pilipinas sa kabila ng pagbagal ng growth rate ng COVID-19.

Ngayong Martes, 28,471 bagong kaso ng COVID-19 ang naitala sa bansa. Ito ang unang pagkakataon ngayong linggo na mas mababa sa 30,000 ang napaulat na kumpirmadong kaso ng coronavirus disease sa Pilipinas. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

PUV drivers, pasahero na lalabag sa ‘no vax, no ride’ policy, posibleng maharap sa parusa – DOTr

Robie de Guzman   •   January 18, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Posibleng patawan ng parusa ang mga lalabag sa ipinatutupad na “no vaccination, no ride” policy sa mga pampublikong sasakyan sa Metro Manila sa gitna ng mataas na kaso ng COVID-19 sa bansa.

Ayon sa Department of Transportation (DOTr), ang mga tsuper ng public utility vehicles (PUV) na magpapasakay ng hindi bakunadong pasahero ay titikitan at pagmumultahin na ng mga otoridad simula ngayong Martes.

Batay sa alintuntunin ng Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), pagmumultahin ng P5,000 ang mga unang beses na lalabag sa polisiya, P10,000 at impounding ng sasakyan sa ikalawang paglabag, at P15,000 at suspensyon o kanselasyon ng prangkisa sa ikatlo o higit pang paglabag.

Bagaman hindi sakop ng DOTR ang pagpapataw ng parusa sa mga pasaherong hindi otorisadong bumiyahe, maaari pa ring pagmultahin ang mga ito batay sa nakasaad sa mga ordinansa na ipinasa ng local government unit (LGU) sa Metro Manila.

Maaari ding makasuhan ang mga pasaherong hindi susunod sa polisiya sa ilalim ng Republic Act 11332 o ang batas sa Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases And Health Events of Public Health Concern.

Kung mahuhulihan ng pekeng vaccination card ang pasahero ay may parusa itong pagkakakulong at nasa P1 milyong multa.

Ayon sa DOTr, naging mapayapa sa kabuuan ang unang araw ng pagpapatupad ng polisiya.

May naitala namang mahigit sa 1,700 na pasahero ng tren ang sumubok na sumakay kahit walang maipakitang vaccionation card noong Lunes.

Hindi saklaw ng “no vaccination, no ride” policy ang mga indibidwal na hindi maaaring bakunahan dahil sa medikal na kondisyon pati na ang mga lumabas lang para sa essential goods at services.

Ang mga pasaherong kasama sa exemptions ay pinapayuhang magdala ng dokumento gaya ng medical certificate o clearance mula sa barangay. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

DILG warns public, says no such thing as ‘COVID vaccination exemption cards’

Robie de Guzman   •   January 18, 2022

Image from DILG

The Department of the Interior and Local Government on Tuesday said that there is no such thing as “COVID-19 vaccination exemption cards.”

“The public is warned that there is no such thing as a ‘vaccination exemption card.’ This is not authorized, issued, nor recognized by the government. In other words, these are fake,” DILG Spokesperson, Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said in a statement.

Malaya said they have received reports that this card supposedly originated from Facebook groups and group chats in Davao Region and Soccsksargen that can allegedly be registered to local government units (LGUs).

The cards are also supposedly recognized by local authorities in lieu of COVID-19 vaccination cards.

According to reports, people are being asked to put their name, birthdate, address, and signatures on the green vaccination exemption card being shared in FB groups and group chats, have the cards printed, laminated, and registered to their barangay/city/municipal LGUs.

“The so-called exemption cards look similar to the green COVID-19 Vaccination Cards being issued by several LGUs,” Malaya said.

“Sa biglang tingin aakalain itong tunay dahil pareho ng kulay, format at hitsura,” he added.

Malaya said the government will never issue nor recognize such cards because this runs counter to the government’s national vaccination program to inoculate the majority of the populace to achieve population protection.

He also called on local authorities to be more vigilant in their inspection of vaccination cards at provincial and regional borders amid restrictions being implemented for unvaccinated people.

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