IATF to decide on ECQ extension in NCR Plus this week – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   March 30, 2021   •   656

MANILA, Philippines – The government’s task force for COVID-19 response will decide this week on whether or not to extend the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) re-imposed over Metro Manila and four nearby provinces, Malacañang said Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) will meet on Saturday, April 3, to discuss this proposal.

The Department of Health (DOH) earlier said it is recommending a one-week extension of the ECQ being implemented in the National Capital Region, and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna, tagged as NCR Plus bubble, to see a decline in the number of COVID-19 cases and its effect to the country’s healthcare utilization rate.

Roque said the enforcement of the one-week ECQ period is necessary to ensure that hospitals will have a breathing space amid the surge in COVID-19 cases.

But the issue on whether hospitals can still cope if the ECQ is extended needs to be addressed, he added.

He also said that extending the duration of the strictest lockdown level will be implemented as an “absolute last resort.”

“Inaasahan po natin na ang isang linggong ECQ at isang linggo ng NCR Plus bubble, kasama ang mas, hugas, iwas, at pagbabahay-bahay ng paghahanap ng may sintomas at pinaigting na testing at isolation, umaasa po tayo na sana po, hindi na kinakailangan mag-[extend] ng ECQ,” he said during the regular Palace briefing.

Metro Manila and four nearby provinces are under ECQ until April 4.

During this period, only essential trips are allowed and non-essential workers are prohibited from leaving their homes.

Deadline for NCR Plus ECQ aid distribution extended to May 15 — Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   April 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The deadline for the distribution of assistance for NCR Plus residents heavily affected by the enforcement of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) has been extended, Malacañang announced Tuesday.

“Inextend ang deadline na makumpleto ang pamamahagi ng financial assistance hanggang sa a-kinse ng Mayo,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said during an online briefing.

Roque said the extension was approved in light of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic situation, in which mass gatherings are limited as part of health protocols to curb the virus transmission.

“Ito ay dahil sa sumusunod: tayo ay nasa panahon ng COVID-19, bawal ang malakihang pagtitipon, kailangan pangalagaan ang kaligtasan at kalusugan ng lahat,” he said.

“Pangalawa, inaayos ang paraan at ginagawang flexible ang pamamahagi kung ito ay automated o bahay-bahay,” he added.

Roque also said the move is in response to the request of local government units (LGU) to extend the deadline for aid distribution.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government earlier ordered LGUs to complete within 15 days the distribution of assistance to family beneficiaries in Metro Manila, Cavite, Bulacan, Rizal, and Laguna – tagged as NCR Plus.

The NCR Plus was placed under ECQ from March 29 to April 11.

The national government allocated nearly P23 billion for the program that will benefit 22.9 million people.

The government earlier acknowledged the slow distribution of the assistance and asked the public for patience as it works on giving aid amid tightened community restrictions.

Two-week ECQ resulted in over 26,000 displaced workers — DOLE

Marje Pelayo   •   April 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Over 26,000 workers have lost their jobs during the two-week implementation of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), according to the latest data from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Specifically, there were about 26,114 displaced workers in DOLE’s Job Displacement Monitoring Report from a total of 1,567 establishments within the areas covered by the NCR Plus (Metro Manila, Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite, Rizal) set by the government.

Of the said number of establishments, 1,389 reduced their workforce while 169 declared permanent closure.

The most number of displaced workers were recorded in Metro Manila where 778 establishments reduced their manpower and 69 declared permanent closure.

This resulted in the displacement of 15,246 workers in Metro Manila alone.

Region VIA (3,322); Region III (5,151); Region VII (3,638), and Region V (2,274) are among the regions with the highest number of displaced workers in the past two weeks.

The ECQ was imposed in NCR Plus initially from March 27 to April 4 but has been extended until April 11.

Duterte tells DILG to keep monitoring complaints on ECQ aid distribution

Robie de Guzman   •   April 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte directed the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to continue monitoring and investigating reported complaints regarding the distribution of government assistance to families heavily affected by the enforcement of enhanced community quarantine in the NCR Plus.

Duterte issued the directive after the DILG officer in charge Undersecretary Bernardo Florece Jr. told the president that they have not received any complaints about the aid disbursement in the National Capital Region (NCR), Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.

During his pre-recorded national address with some members of the Cabinet on Monday night, Duterte said he has seen media reports about beneficiaries complaining about difficulty in claiming government subsidy.

“Maraming nagreklamo na ano, so ask your field offices to try to make rounds and investigate if these allegations are true,” he said.

“Sabi mo nga as of now malinis, then I’ll take it, but with another caveat that continue to monitor through your field offices… I do not have any reason to doubt the mayors, lalo na yung malalaki,” he added.

Florece, in turn, assured the president that all DILG senior officials are doing the rounds inspecting and monitoring the aid disbursement of local government units.

Around 22.9 million beneficiaries from low-income households in the NCR Plus are expected to benefit from the government’s assistance program which was allocated with a P22.9 billion fund.

The one-time aid program covers areas that have been placed under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) period from March 29 to April 1.

The NCR Plus was reverted back to MECQ starting April 12 to April 30.

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