IATF proposes school opening in September, awaits DepEd recommendation

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 24, 2020   •   609

File photo of a public school teacher

The Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has proposed to move the opening of the school year to September amid the continued threat of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

However, they would still have to wait for the recommendation of the Department of Education (DepEd) regarding the official opening of classes.

DepEd is already mulling over postponing the opening of classes for the safety of the students amid the COVID-19 threat.

Acting National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Karl Chua said Republic Act no. 7977 states that the school year shall start on the first Monday of June but not later than the last day of August.

“Hanggang end of August puwede naman po, so hintayin na lang po natin ang Deped para mag-present at ang IATF ang magsasabi kung policy na po (It is still allowed until the end of August, we will wait for Deped’s presentation then the IATF will announce if it is already a policy),” he said. AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

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GCQ extended in Metro Manila until end of November

Maris Federez   •   October 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Metro Manila will remain under general community quarantine (GCQ) until November 30.

President Rodrigo Duterte made the announcement in a taped address to the nation aired on Tuesday (Oct. 27), after meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

The President has also decided to keep Batangas, Iloilo City, Bacolod City, Tacloban City, Iligan City and Lanao del Sur under GCQ until the end of November.

Nevertheless, local government units still have until October 28 to appeal to the IATF on the quarantine classification of their respective areas for the next month.

Metro Manila mayors have earlier stated that they want to keep the GCQ status for the NCR until the end of the year. They, however, applied eased restrictions on movement, travel, and business.

Except for Navotas City, the whole of NCR is implementing lesser curfew hours to allow more businesses to recover.

The Philippines had been under community quarantine classification since March due to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. —(with details from Rosalie Coz) /mbmf

Gov’t allows religious gatherings at 30% seating capacity in GCQ areas

Marje Pelayo   •   October 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The government has made another step to further relax community restrictions under the recently issued Resolution No. 80 approved by the Inter – Agency Task Force against COVID-19.

On Friday (October 23), Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced that religious gatherings are now allowed up to 30% seating capacity from the previous 10% in areas covered by general community quarantine (GCQ) in Metro Manila.

“Pinayagan na ang religious gatherings sa mga lugar sa ilalim ng GCQ na hanggang 30 percent of the seating or venue capacity,” he said.

“Ito rin po ay alinsunod doon sa mga naging rekomendasyon ng ating mga Metro Manila mayors,” he added.

Meanwhile, foreign investors or foreign nationals who are investors’ visa holders may also enter the country, according to the IATF.

Roque stressed, however, that this does not include foreign tourists visa holders.

“Hindi po lahat ng foreign nationals ang ina-allow,” Roque emphasized.

Roque clarified that only foreigners who are holders of the following requirements are allowed to enter the country:

  • Holders of investors visa; 
  • Holders of 4782 visa issued by the Department of Justice (DOJ);
  • Holders of visa issued by Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.

Foreigners who are eligible to enter the Philippines still need an existing, valid visa and a pre-booked stay at an accredited quarantine facility among others.

In addition to the above new ruling, the IATF lifted the previous requirement of pre-boarding test for outbound Filipino travelers.

This means anyone who wants to leave the country no longer needs an antigen testing result but they still need to present a negative COVID-19 test result if required by their country of destination or their airline of choice. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Philippines to allow entry to foreigners with investor visas starting Nov. 1

Robie de Guzman   •   October 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Foreign nationals with investors visa will soon be allowed to enter the Philippines, Malacañang said Friday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) on Thursday allowed the entry of foreigners starting November 1.

“These foreign nationals include those with visas issued by the Bureau of Immigration pursuant to Executive Order No. 226, or the Omnibus Investments Code, as amended, and Republic Act. No. 8756; those with 47(a)(2) visas issued by the Department of Justice; and those visas issued by the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority,” Roque said in a statement.

The Palace official, however, stressed that the entry of these foreigners to the country is subject to conditions.

“(T)hey must have valid and existing visa at the time of the entry and must likewise have a pre-booked accredited quarantine facility,” Roque said.

“In addition, they must be subject to the maximum capacity of inbound passengers at the port and date of entry and must follow applicable immigration laws, rules and regulations,” he added.

The government earlier said it will be easing travel restrictions to help the country’s economy recover from the impact of the pandemic.

The Philippines imposed travel restrictions in February to curb the spread of novel coronavirus disease.

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