Health workers, not cops, will lead transfer of COVID cases to quarantine facilities, DILG clarifies

Robie de Guzman   •   July 15, 2020   •   152

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday clarified that it will be local health workers who will lead in the search and transfer to government quarantine facilities of suspected or COVID-positive cases who cannot comply with the minimum requirements of home quarantine.

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said police will only be there to assist local government officials and health workers in the search and transfer of virus-infected individuals under the program, called “Oplan Kalinga.”

“Again, I wish to emphasize that the PNP’s presence in the conduct of the said program is purely for support and assistance to the LGUs who are taking the lead in defeating COVID-19 in the communities,” Año said as he dismissed claims of militarization since the military will have no role in this effort.

The DILG Chief said that he doesn’t understand why some quarters are speculating about the program since Republic Act 11332 or “An Act Providing Policies and Prescribing Procedures on Surveillance and Response to Notifiable Diseases, Epidemics, and Health Events of Public Health Concern,” specifies that collaboration with law enforcement is encouraged “to protect the people from public health threats.”

He said that Section 4 of the said law states that one of its objectives is expanding collaboration beyond traditional public health partners such as law enforcement entities.

“Itong ginagawa natin ay nasa batas. Sa pangangalaga ng kaligtasan at kalusugan ng ating mga kababayan ay maaaring makipag-partner ang local health authorities sa ating mga law enforcement,” he said.

He said that the local government unit, through its Local Epidemiological Surveillance Unit will be the one to visit the households with COVID-19 patients.

“Ang mangunguna dito ‘yung ating LGU at ang public health authority, pangungunahan ito ng city or local epidemiological surveillance unit kasi sila talaga ang mga expert dito. Pati’ yung resulta ng contact tracing, pati kung sino ‘yung tetesting, ililipat o ire-refer sa ospital,” he stressed.

He added that prior to going to residences, local officials already have the necessary list and identification of households with COVID-19 patients.

These patients will then be assessed if they can comply with the minimum requirements to be permitted to practice home quarantine.

The Inter-Agency Task Force earlier said that patients showing mild flu-like symptoms or asymptomatic are allowed to do home quarantine if he/she has a separate room where the patient can be confined; if the patient has his own comfort room; and if he/she is not living with people who are vulnerable to COVID-19 such as senior citizen and immunocompromised individuals, among others.

If these protocols cannot be observed at home, then the patient must be brought to a local quarantine facility.

Año assured the public that no rights will be violated as police officers’ presence will be limited to assisting in transporting patients and ensuring that lockdowns are imposed.

“We are very systematic naman in our approach. Bago pa pumunta sa lugar ay kumpleto na sila ng listahan at ng pangalan. Ito naman ay mga naka-PPEs (personal protective equipment) ‘yung ating health officials and health workers dito. Trained din naman ‘yung pulis para pumasok,” he said.

The DILG Chief urged the public’s cooperation by reporting households with confirmed COVID-19 cases and are currently practicing home quarantine despite not having the appropriate facilities. 

“Kailangan po nating ipaalam sa ating mga autoridad ang mga ganitong kaso para sila po ay mailagay sa tamang pasilidad at doon magpagaling. Ito naman po ay para rin sa kapakanan ng buong komunidad at nang hindi na dumami pa ang COVID-19 cases,” he said.

‘No need to panic buy,’ Palace reminds public

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 3, 2020

Consumers in Metro Manila flocked to grocery stores after President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday night, approved the reversion of some areas to Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) in response to the medical frontliners’ plea for a two-week “timeout”.

This prompted Malacañang on Monday to remind the public not to panic buy amid the implementation of MECQ in the National Capital Region (NCR).

“Walang dahilan para mag-panic buying. Supplies are high, delivered in supermarkets in anticipation of bigger demand prior to MECQ,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

The Palace official reiterated that only essential establishments will remain open including supermarkets, banks, and hospitals. He also said that the “time out” will be used to strengthen the government’s testing, tracing, and treatment of COVID-19.

“This is primarily to accede to the demand of the frontliners for a break. A ‘time out,'” Roque said. AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

Telcos can now secure permits to build towers in less than a month – DILG

Robie de Guzman   •   August 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday said it will now take less than a month to secure government permits to build telecommunication towers in the country.

The DILG made the announcement following President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to improve digital infrastructure in the country and to cut down the requirements and processing time for building permit applications in government agencies.

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said that the new timeframe is shorter than the previous six to seven months of permit processing time.

He said the development follows the signing of a joint memorandum circular (JMC) between the DILG, Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) and other agencies, streamlining documentary requirements and processing time for building permit applications on shared passive telecommunication tower infrastructure (PTTI), also known as common telecommunication towers.


“Dati po inaabot ng 200 days yung pag-apply ng permit. Dito po sa bagong JMC namin kasama ang lahat ng ahensya at mga local government units (LGUs), sabay-sabay na ang pag-process, makukuha po lahat ng permit in less than a month,” Año said.

“Dati po kailangan ng home owners association resolution, kailangan pa ng sangguniang bayan resolution, ngayon, wala na po ‘yan. Di na po ‘yan kailangan. Lahat po ng steps na nagpapabagal sa proseso ay inalis na natin,” he added.

Año said that under the memorandum, LGUs and national government agencies shall only require documents stipulated in the circular and are prohibited from requiring anything else from applicant network providers. 

He said that among the reduced requirements are: barangay clearance; documentary requirements for building permit applications on common towers such as Unified Application Form for Locational Permit, Fire Safety Evaluation Certificate, Building Permit, property documents (owners/authorized occupants of Registered/Untitled lands, authorized occupants of registered land), and select ancillary permit and accessory permits requirements.

LGUs must also adhere to the minimum processing time enforced through the JMC. 

“According to the memorandum, the prescribed processing time for construction-related permits for common towers shall be counted from the date the complete application was submitted to the concerned agency,” the DILG chief said.

He said that in seven working days, the locational clearance, barangay clearance, Fire Safety Evaluation Certificate from the Bureau of Fire, and Building Permit shall be issued all together, exclusive of the period of appeals.

If the LGU is without a Comprehensive Land Use Plan and is unable to issue a Location Clearance, Año said that the applicant may secure said Location Clearance from the regional office of DHSUD within seven days. Height Clearance Certificate shall also be issued within seven days.

He also said that application for locational clearance, barangay clearance, Fire Safety Evaluation Certificate, and Building Permit shall proceed without need of a written consent from home owners association or the condominium owner, among others.

If the Shared PTTI or common tower is proposed to be located on a privately-owned land within a residential subdivision, the telco shall certify that there is no other available or suitable site within the coverage area.

The DILG chief said that with this development, telecommunication companies such as Globe Telecom, PLDT/Smart Communications, and third telco player Dito Telecommunity Corp., can now address the public clamor for improved telecommunications services especially during the global pandemic where millions of people are working from home.

PLM on 2-week lockdown over rise in COVID-19 cases among staff

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 3, 2020

The Pamantasang Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) will be placed under a two-week lockdown due to the high number of staff that tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“There are currently four confirmed cases, with two recovered patients and one fatality among employees. There are also three probable and one suspect cases,” PLM President Emmanuel Leyco said in a statement.

BREAKING: Mayor Isko approves two-week quarantine at PLM amid rising COVID-19 casesManila City Mayor Francisco ‘Isko…

Posted by Manila Public Information Office on Sunday, August 2, 2020

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso has approved their request and the PLM management will be adopting a strict work-from-home arrangement for employees for the next two weeks.

“As a University which produces doctors, nurses and medical professionals, we believe it is necessary to respond to the public health crisis by listening to science and the inputs of medical experts,” Leyco said. AAC

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