Higit na 300,000 manggagawa naka-depende sa pagbubukas ng mga sinehan—DTI

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 17, 2021   •   280

MANILA, Philippines — Kinakailangan nang maibalik ang operasyon ng mga sinehan dahil dito nakasalalay ang kabuhayan ng halos 300,000 mga manggagawa, ayon sa Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Ayon sa Consumer Protection Group ng DTI na si Usec.Ruth Castelo, maraming manggagawa sa sinehan ang halos isang taon nang nahinto sa pagtratrabaho kayat umaasa ang nga ito na muli na silang makababalik sa kanilang hanapbuhay.

“Recommendation ng NEDA and the DTI Secretary Lopez na i-allow na para makabalik na sa trabaho yung mga tao ng income, makagenerate sila ng income at makasuporta doon sa mga pamilya nila,” aniya.

Nag-inspeksyon din ang DTI noong Miyerkules (ika-16 ng Pebrero) sa ilang mga sinehan upang makita ang kanilang paghahanda sakaling mag-umpisa na muli ang kanilang operasyon.

Bagaman wala pang guidelines na inilalabas ang national government, ginagawan na ng paraan ng mga mall operator na magkaroon nang maayos na bentilasyon sa loob ng mga sinehan.

Paliwanag pa ng nga ito, bago pa ang pandemya ay sinisuguro na nila na malinis at tama ang sirkulasyon ng hangin dito.

“Two hours prior to the cinema opening we started operating our fresh air and exhaust system to ensure na fresh ang air natin sa loob ng cinema then while you are watching there are six air exchange happening in the cinema. So ibig sabihin kahit nakaupo ka lang nagpapalit ang hanging sa loob ng 6 na beses sa isang oras,” ayon kay Gerson Dela Cruz, Senior Engineer Facilities Management ng Ayala Malls.

Mahigpit na ring ipagbabawal ang pagkain sa loob ng mga sinehan upang maiwasan ang posibleng hawaan ng COVID-19.

“So that all facemasks must be worn all the time while inside the cinema and of course we’re waiting for the additional guidelines, safety guidelines that will come out before we open the cinemas required by the LGUs and IATF,” ayon naman kay Bomboy Lim, ang General Manager ng Robinsons Movie World.

Sa ngayon ay hinihintay pa rin ang guidelines na babalangkasin ng Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)  na dapat masunod sa mga enclosed na establisyimento gaya ng mga sinehan.

Pero nauna na ring sinabi ng IATF na bukod sa guidelines, kinakailangan din na aprubado ng mga alkalde na nakakasakop sa kanilang mga lugar ang muling pagbubukas ng mga sinehan at arcade.

Una nang sinabi ni Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso na magkakaloob sila ng libreng swab test sa mga cinema worker at hindi niya papayagan na magbukas ito hangga’t hindi sumasailalim sa pagsusuri ang mga manggagawa nito.

“Pinag-aaralan pa namin kasi while it is true that we wanted to open businesses, are they ready to come up with a plan yung katulad ng cinema o yung mga nabanggit? Hindi naman po pwede na bibiglain natin. Kailangan responsable pa rin,” aniya.

Shift to GCQ not just yet, says DTI

Marje Pelayo   •   April 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — With the current number of COVID-19 infections in the country, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez believes it is not yet time to shift into a more relaxed quarantine restriction.

During Thursday’s (April 15) Laging Handa briefing, Lopez said reverting back to a more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ) will depend on the utilization rate of major hospitals in the country.

“Kapag further bumaba ang COVID cases at bumaba ang utilization rate, maraming bakante, ibig sabihin pwede tayong magluwag ulit to GCQ,” he said.

In March, World Health Organization (WHO) Country Representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe expressed concern over alleged COVID-19 clustering in workplaces.

Lopez said the recent spike in the country’s COVID-19 cases shouldn’t be blamed on the return of workers because the clusters of cases in workplaces was only about 20 percent since the reopening of the economy.

“Base sa datos, ang contribution ng mga cases —  mga clusters ng ilan sa workplaces — ay around 20% lamang,” Lopez said.  “Isa nga sa observation bago nagtaas muli ang cases ay ang pagdami ng non-essential activities and gatherings.”

For this reason, the official said that when the country reverts to GCQ, he would not recommend the easing of restrictions on non-essential gatherings.

“I would think that once we move to GCQ, isa pa rin ‘yan sa ipagpapatuloy munang ipagbawal – mga gatherings na non-essential,” he said.

DTI prefers not extending NCR Plus Bubble beyond April 4

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it is not in favor of extending the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus Bubble beyond April 4.

DTI Undersecretary Ruth Castelo said extending the stricter quarantine in NCR would not be beneficial for the economy. Castelo said businesses can still operate while individuals follow health protocols.

Kung tatanungin mo ang DTI, gusto na sana natin na maipa-open na ulit sa April 5. Hindi naman siguro natin kailangan totally isara ang mga negosyo or ang paggalaw ng tao. Dahil kung susundin natin lahat ng mandatory protocols, makakatulong pa rin iyan kapag tuloy-tuloy ang negosyo (If you’re going to ask the DTI, we prefer to open [the economy] by April 5. We may not need to close businesses or limit the public. Because as long as mandatory protocols are followed, it will still be beneficial if businesses will continue),” he said.

The recommended extension of the NCR Plus Bubble stemmed from the study of the University of the Philippines (UP) OCTA Research where it would need four months to see the effects of the restriction in the NCR and see the possible lowering of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

According to the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), Metro Manila and its neighboring cities lose around P700 million in profit due to the implementation of the general community quarantine (GCQ). -AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

DTI orders cinemas, other tourism-related establishments closed until April 14

Marje Pelayo   •   March 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases, the national government has decided to temporarily close some of the newly opened sectors in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ).

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez on Thursday (March 18) said that driving schools, cinemas, video arcades, museums, and cultural centers, as well as limited social events in all establishments accredited by the Department of Tourism (DOT) will be suspended immediately until April 4.

He was present at the meeting of the Inter Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) via video feed after testing positive again for COVID-19.

“Due to rising cases, DTI also supports scaling back of some activities that were recently reopened or expanded,” he said.

Lopez added that the IATF is reducing capacity for meetings, incentives, conference, and exhibitions industry to 30 percent while venue capacity of dine-in restaurants, cafés, and personal care services will be scaled back to 50 percent.

He said the IATF will issue a new circular on the matter.

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