IATF approves Comelec’s voting simulation in San Juan City

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 15, 2021   •   269

MANILA, Philippines—The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has approved the voting simulation of Commission on Elections in San Juan City.

The IATF-EID released Resolution No. 144, dated on October 14. Under the said resolution, participants of the voting simulation are exempted from any travel restrictions and shall not be required to show proof of vaccination status and/or be required to undergo COVID-19 testing.

“The IATF recognizes that voting simulation exercises are essential activities and as such, poses no objection to the request of the Commission on Election,” the resolution read.

The simulation, which will be conducted on October 23, aims to determine which policies need to be amended to prevent issues that may occur on election day. AAC

 

 

Comelec faces backlash for denying application of 2 party-list groups

Maris Federez   •   December 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has earned the ire of two party-list groups as the poll body rejected their applications for accreditation for the 2022 national and local elections.

The groups, Nurses United and Guardians, trooped in front of the Comelec office in Manila to question the poll body’s decision to deny their application.

The Comelec, in its ruling, said the group’s representation of its membership is erroneous.

The Nurses United accused the commission of being cold-hearted to the condition of Filipino workers in the health sector.

“Pinatay po nila yong pag-asa ng mga nurses at mga manggagawang pangkalusugan. Pag-asa na magkaroon ng tunay na representante na manggagawang pangkalusugan sa loob ng kongeso. Sapagkat napakarami pong isyu na dapat matugunan sa usapin po ng ating manggagawang pangkalusugan,” said Maristela Abenojar, 1st nominee, NU Partylist.

The group’s motion for reconsideration was also denied by the poll body.

The group asked Comelec to provide them with a copy of the resolution of their denial.

Meanwhile, the group, Guardians, questioned Comelec for denying them the opportunity to make it to the list.

Based on the Comelec ruling, the group failed to prove that the majority of its membership are poor and are senior citizens.

The group pointed out that they have been assisting the government in disaster and relief operations, among others.

“Pinapakita lang namin na nandito kami. Kami yong sinasabi ninyong walang representation,” said Bong Contapay, Guardians Partylist 1st Nominee.

Since they failed in their appeal to the poll body, the group said they will be filing an appeal to the Supreme Court to have their application be reviewed and considered.

Meanwhile, based on Comelec Resolution No. 10735, to date, 152 registered party-list groups have made it to the list to be raffled a designated number come December 10.

On the other hand, 107 applications were denied; while 13 applications still await the final decision of the poll body.

The final list of party-list groups will be released 15 days after all the designation numbers are raffled off. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Dante Amento)

IATF updates testing, quarantine protocols; Apayao now under Alert Level 2

Maris Federez   •   December 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has approved testing and quarantine protocols for arriving international passengers in all ports of entry in the Philippines coming from countries/territories/ jurisdictions not classified under the Red List.

This was what was agreed upon in the task force’s meeting on Thursday (December 2).

In a statement released to reporters, acting spokesperson Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the new protocols shall take effect Friday, December 3.

As part of the new protocols, fully vaccinated individuals shall be required to have a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test conducted within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin.

Upon arrival in the Philippines, they shall undergo facility-based quarantine with an RT-PCR test taken on the 5th day, with the date of arrival being the first day.

Regardless of a negative result, they shall be required to undergo home quarantine up to the 14th day from the date of arrival.

On the other hand, individuals who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or whose vaccination status cannot be independently validated shall be required a negative RT-PCR test conducted within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin.

Upon arrival in the Philippines, they shall undergo facility-based quarantine with an RT-PCR test done on the 7th day, with the date of arrival being the first day.

Like those who are vaccinated, they, too, shall be required to undergo home quarantine up to the 14th day from the date of arrival, regardless of a negative RT-PCR test result.

The statement also said that the IATF has directed the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to ensure that airlines board only passengers who comply with the negative RT-PCR test-before-travel requirement.

“The testing and quarantine protocols of minors, on the other hand, shall follow the testing and quarantine protocol of the parent/guardian traveling with them, regardless of the minor’s vaccination status and country of origin,” the directive read.

“For international passengers who have already arrived and are currently undergoing quarantine, they shall continue with the testing and quarantine protocols in place at the time of their arrival,” it added.

The directive further read that Filipinos from Red List countries allowed entry via government-initiated or non-government repatriations and Bayanihan Flights shall only be allowed to deplane via the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and/or Clark International Airport.

The DOTr, through their attached agencies, is directed to ensure the compliance of airlines with this directive.

Upon arrival, passengers must comply with the testing and quarantine protocols as prescribed under IATF Resolution No. 149-A (s.2021).

Meanwhile, the IATF also amended the metrics for determining alert level classifications of provinces, highly urbanized cities, and independent component cities.

Amendments include removing the One-Week Growth Rate as a metric for escalation from Alert Level 1 to Alert Level 2, and the escalation of areas under Alert Level 1 to Alert Level 2 if either case classification or total COVID-19 bed utilization increases to moderate risk or higher.

Also, part of the amendment is the escalation of areas under Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 3 if both case classification and total COVID-19 bed utilization are at moderate risk, or if case classification is at high to critical risk.

With the implementation of the revised metrics, Apayao shall be classified under Alert Level 2 from December 3 to 15, Nograles said. —/mbmf

CA confirms Bulay’s appointment to COMELEC

Robie de Guzman   •   December 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Appointments (CA) on Wednesday confirmed the nomination of lawyer Rey Bulay as a new Commission on Elections (COMELEC) commissioner.

Bulay got unanimous votes from the 25-man panel after the CA committee on constitutional commissions and offices conducted a hearing to determine his experience and capability to hold a sensitive government post.

President Rodrigo Duterte nominated Bulay to COMELEC in November to replace former COMELEC Commissioner Luie Tito Guia who retired in February 2020.

Prior to his appointment, Bulay served as Manila chief city prosecutor and a commissioner at the Presidential Commission on Good Government.

He also served as councilor of Muntinlupa City in the early part of his career as a public servant.

Bulay’s tenure in COMELEC will end on February 2, 2027.

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