Iloilo City closes borders as COVID-19 cases spike

Marje Pelayo   •   July 22, 2020   •   543

ILOILO CITY, Philippines — The local government of Iloilo City has temporarily closed its borders due to the increasing number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the area.

Mayor Jerry Treñas said the city government banned the entry of residents coming from Bacolod City, Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental. 

Meanwhile, movement of essential goods and cargoes remains open to maintain normal supply of food and basic needs.

Due to the rising number cases of COVID-19, Iloilo City will CLOSE ITS BORDERS for people coming in from BACOLOD CITY,…

Posted by Jerry Treñas on Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Filipino seafarers now part of gov’t COVID-19 vaccination priority group – DOTr

Robie de Guzman   •   April 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino seafarers have moved up in the country’s list of priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) announced.

The DOTr said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has approved its recommendation to include Filipino sailors in the priority recipients as their work is considered crucial in keeping the economy afloat.

“This is a very good development for our maritime industry champions— our seafarers. Now, our Filipino seafarers will be given priority to be vaccinated,” DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said in a statement.

“Paulit-ulit ko pong inilalarawan ang ating maritime workforce bilang mga silent workers ng bayan. They work silently, yet their contribution is as crucial as keeping the economy thriving. Not only are they frontliners, but they are undoubtedly HEROES, too,” he added.

From under B3 (other essential workers) or B5 (Overseas Filipino Workers) in the vaccination priority framework, Filipino seafarers have been reclassified under A4 (frontline personnel in essential sectors, including uniformed personnel and those in working sectors identified by the IATF as essential during ECQ) or the top 4 priority group.

Based on government data, there are a total of 549,000 active seafarers registered in the system. Around 497,000 of which are deployed overseas while 51,000 are serving locally. Meanwhile, a total of 181,000 seafarers are without updated sea service within the last three years.

In summary, there are 730,651 Filipino seafarers who are up for consideration in the A4 category, the DOTr said.

“The working group is in the unified position to push for the prioritization of Filipino seafarers in the country’s COVID-19 vaccination program to secure their employment, and to ensure the safe shipping operations of essential goods amid the pandemic,” DOTr Assistant Secretary Narciso Vingson Jr. added.

The DOTr said that top priority will be given to active seafarers or those with recorded sea service within the last three years, while new seafarers or those with last recorded sea service beyond 2018 shall be ranked second.

The national government is targeting to inoculate 70 million people this year but the country has so far received more than three million doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

Malacañang earlier reported that more than a million Filipinos, mostly healthcare workers, have been inoculated against coronavirus disease.

‘Slow start’: DSWD says only 8% of P22.9 billion ECQ aid distributed in NCR Plus

Robie de Guzman   •   April 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Only eight percent, or equivalent to more than P1 billion, of the fund allotted for government assistance has been distributed to low-income families affected by the 2-week enhanced community quarantine previously imposed in the NCR Plus areas, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said.

During President Rodrigo Duterte’s Talk to the People briefing on Monday night, DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista said that P1.7 billion of the total P22.9 billion government assistance aid has been disbursed to beneficiaries.

Citing data from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) covering the payouts from April 7 to 9, Bautista said around 1.7 million beneficiaries in the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal have already received their aid.

The government earlier said that each beneficiary will receive P1,000 or a maximum of P4,000 per family.

Bautista admitted that the rollout of the assistance was off to a “slow start” but assured that the process will speed up in the next few days.

“Makikita po natin dito na talagang may slow start but as experienced last year, na talagang start po talagang mabagal, after four to five days doon na po nag-start ng pag-distribute ng special assistance,” he said.

The DSWD chief also reported to Duterte that a joint monitoring and inspection committee has been set up for every local government to ensure that the aid is properly distributed.

Grievance committees were also created where recipients can raise their concerns on government assistance.

Metro Manila and four nearby provinces – called NCR Plus – were placed under ECQ from March 29 to April 11 in a bid to slow down the COVID-19 spread.

The said areas were reverted back to modified ECQ starting April 12 until April 30.

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Over 1 million Filipinos vaccinated against COVID-19 – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   April 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – More than one million Filipinos have been administered with the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, Malacañang said.

In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that as of April 12, a total of 1,007,356 individuals have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine while 132,228 were already given their second dose.

Among Priority Group A1 or the medical frontliners, 848,986 already received their first dose, while 116,183 had their second dose, he added.

Healthcare workers are the first group on the priority list followed by senior citizens and persons with co-morbidities.

“Sa ASEAN makikita ninyo po bagama’t tayo po ay medyo nahuli sa pag-a-administer ng bakuna, tayo po ngayon ang pangatlo sa pinakamaraming nabakunahan na sa ASEAN. … Ito naman po ay sa kabila ng kakulangan talaga ng mga supply eh pangatlo pa rin po tayo sa ASEAN,” Roque said.

The Palace official said that among ASEAN countries, Indonesia currently ranks first with 14.7 million vaccine doses administered, followed by Singapore at 1.7 million, and the Philippines with 1.1 million.

The Philippines is followed by Myanmar, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and Brunei, he added.

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