Ilocos Norte, muling bubuksan sa mga turista sa Oct. 15

Robie de Guzman   •   October 13, 2020   •   456

Muli nang tatanggap ng mga turista ang lalawigan ng Ilocos Norte matapos ang halos pitong buwang pagsasara dahil sa ipinatutupad na community quarantine bunsod ng coronavirus pandemic.

Ayon kay Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, simula sa Oktubre 15 ay maaari nang bumisita sa Ilocos Norte ang limitadong bilang ng mga lokal na turista na magmumula sa Luzon.

Isa ang Ilocos Norte sa mga dinarayong lugar sa bansa dahil sa adventure sites at magagandang tanawin rito, kabilang na ang Pagudpud, panoramic ocean views, sand dunes adventure, wind farms at Baroque architecture.

Ayon kay Romulo-Puyat, malaking tulong ang muling pagbubukas ng turismo sa lalawigan upang makabangon ang lokal na ekonomiya mula sa epekto ng pandemiya.

Ngunit paalala ng kalihim, kailangang sumunod sa mga requirement at health protocols ang mga bisita upang maiwasan ang posibleng pagkalat ng coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Kabilang sa mga requirement ang pagprisinta ng negative swab test result para sa COVID-19 ng mga bisita dalawang araw bago ang kanilang pag-alis; dapat rin ay may kumpirmado silang accommodation booking, travel agent o operator for tours, tour itinerary at medical certificate.

Tiniyak naman ng DOT na tutulong sila sa paglulunsad ng Visita Management System upang mabantayan ang pagpasok ng mga turista.

Katulad ito ng ipinatutupad na Visitor Information and Travel Assistance (VISITA) para sa mga bibisita sa Baguio City na kamakailan ay binuksan na rin para sa mga lokal na turista.

Maliban sa Ilocos Norte at Baguio City, muli na ring binuksan ang turismo sa Boracay Island. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Grace Doctolero)

Senate probes distance learning quality, deferment of proposed resumption of in-person classes

Robie de Guzman   •   February 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – A Senate panel will conduct an inquiry on Wednesday on the quality of distance learning, other psycho-social concerns, and the implications of postponing the resumption of face-to face classes amid the threat of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chairperson of the Senate committee on basic education, arts, and culture, said that during the hearing, he will urge the Department of Education (DepEd) to use all available tools and resources to avert a looming ‘learning crisis’ as part of its next steps in mitigating the “pernicious effects” of distance learning.

Gatchalian earlier expressed fears that a huge chunk of more than 25 million learners in the basic education sector might end up “unprepared” for their next level of schooling.

While DepEd has exhausted all possible steps to provide for continued education amid the pandemic, Gatchalian stressed that several challenges still hound the rollout of distance learning, including the inadequacy of connectivity, lack of enough guidance from teachers, and the quality and effectiveness of self-learning modules, among others.

“Dahil ipagpapaliban muna nating muli ang pagkakaroon ng face-to-face classes, mahalagang magkaroon tayo ng kaliwanagan sa kung ano ba ang magiging pangmatagalang epekto nito sa ating mga mag-aaral, lalo na’t hinaharap nila ang maraming mga hamong may kinalaman sa epektibong pagpapatupad ng distance learning,” Gatchalian said in a statement issued on Wednesday morning.

“Ang ating layunin sa pagpapatuloy ng edukasyon sa gitna ng pandemya ay masigurong natututo ang ating mga mag-aaral at maging handa sila para sa susunod na antas ng kanilang pag-aaral,” he added.

Duterte earlier thumbed down fresh proposals to resume face-to-face classes in areas classified as low-risk for COVID-19 transmission.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque relayed the president’s decision not to allow any in-person classes until the vaccination program has been rolled out in the country.

Roque, however, said that face-to-face classes may be considered in August this year after the launch of the immunization drive.

A pilot test of limited face-to-face classes was supposed to be held by the government last January but was ordered suspended by Duterte due to increasing COVID-19 cases.

Duterte thumbs down fresh bid to resume in-person classes – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   February 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has rejected for a second time, proposals to resume face-to-face classes in the country amid the continuing threat of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Malacañang said Monday.

“Nagdesisyon na po ang president ha, wala pa rin po tayong face-to-face classes sa bansa,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said

“Ang sabi niya, ayaw po niyang malagay sa panganib o alanganin ang buhay ng ating mga mag-aaral at mga guro habang wala pa pong nababakunahan sa bansa,” he added.

Roque issued the statement after the Department of Education (DepEd) earlier expressed support for fresh bids to conduct a dry-run of in-person classes in areas classified as low-risk for COVID-19 transmission.

He, however, said that face-to-face classes may be considered in August this year after the launch of the COVID-19 vaccination drive.

“Sabi niya, may awa po ang Panginoon, baka naman po pagkatapos nating malunsad ang ating vaccination program, pwede na tayong mag-face to face sa Agosto lalong-lalo na dun sa mga lugar na mababa po ang COVID-19 cases,” he said.

A pilot test of limited face-to-face classes was supposed to be held by the government last January but was ordered suspended by Duterte due to increasing COVID-19 cases.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones last week said that a survey conducted by her agency showed that more than 50% of students were in favor of attending face-to-face classes.

Briones also said that the Philippines is also the only country in Southeast Asia that has yet to resume limited in-person classes to supplement distance learning modalities. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

IATF allows arcades, cinemas and other businesses to reopen in GCQ areas – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   February 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The government’s task force for COVID-19 response has allowed the reopening of more businesses in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ), Malacañang announced Friday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has approved the reopening and further expansion of the following businesses/industries:

  • Driving schools
  • Traditional cinemas
  • Video and interactive-game arcades
  • Libraries 
  • Archives
  • Museums and cultural centers

The conduct of meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions, and limited social events at credited establishments of the Department of Tourism have also been allowed.

The IATF approved the new policy during its 99th meeting on Thursday, February 11, as authorities sought to boost the country’s economy battered by the pandemic.

“Also approved is the reopening of limited tourist attractions, such as parks, theme parks, natural sites and historical landmarks,” Roque said.

He stressed that the reopening and further expansion of businesses/industries “shall be subject to the issuance of the implementing guidelines which will provide for the operational capacity, and oversight of the appropriate regulatory agency and the concerned local government units where these businesses/industries are located.”

“These businesses/industries shall comply with the strict observance of minimum public health standards set by the Department of Health,” Roque added.

Metro Manila is under GCQ for the month of February, as well as the Cordillera Administrative Region, Batangas, Tacloban City, Davao City, Davao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, and Iligan City.

The rest of the country is under modified GCQ, the loosest quarantine restriction level.

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