Malacañang reminds charity groups to coordinate with LGUs for relief ops after Jinggoy’s arrest

Marje Pelayo   •   May 5, 2020   •   711

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang has reiterated its call on humanitarian groups to coordinate first with local government units (LGUs) before conducting relief operations especially when the government is implementing strict protocols in relation to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. 

The reminder comes after the arrest of former Senator Jinggoy Estrada for allegedly violating the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) when he distributed goods to the people of San Juan City.

Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque stressed President Rodrigo Duterte’s plea to set aside politics while the country is battling COVID-19.

“Nakikiusap po kami doon sa mga nais magkawanggawa na makipag-coordinate po tayo sa LGUs dahil doon sa pagbibigay ng ayuda sa ating mga kababayan, kinakailangan pong magkaroon ng safeguards nang hindi po magkumpol-kumpulan at dagsain kayo ng taumbayan [We ask humanitarian missions to coordinate with the LGUs because there must be safeguards in relief operations to make sure that people will not crowd the relief distribution],” Roque stressed.

Kinakailangang magkaroon ng hakbang upang masigurado ang social distancing habang namimigay ng ayuda [There must be protocols to make sure that social distancing is observed during relief distribution],” he added.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) explained that the former senator did not coordinate with San Juan City LGU in his relief operations which led to his arrest. 

According to DILG Secretary Eduardo Año, Estrada and his team are not even considered authorized persons outside of residence.

Nakita ko sa video may mga pagsuway sa physical distancing [I saw in the video that there were violations of social distancing protocols],” the official said.

Pati ang mga seniors at saka minors ay lumabas din ng bahay. Another pagsaway na naman iyon [Even seniors and minors went out of their houses. That’s another violation],” he added.

Though they understand the former lawmaker’s intention to help, Año said that does not exempt him from following strict ECQ guidelines. 

“Kung kaaway naman niya ang LGU, pwede naman ang OCD [If he’s in conflict with the LGU, he can go straight to the (Office of the Civil Defense)],” Secretary Año said.

Ibigay mo ang gusto mong ipamigay doon, and let OCD do its job dahil may mga ahensya naman sa ilalim niyan [You distribute goods there and let the OCD do its job as there are agencies under it that can assist you],” he added.

But Estrada maintained he did not violate any law but instead, local politics had a hand in his arrest. 

“Why are they singling me out? Just because I am an Estrada? Bawal na ba kaming tumulong dito sa [Are we banned from helping the people of] San Juan?” Estrada said. 

“Noon pa lang sinasabi niya na huwag tutulungan ang mga rolling store namin [Even back then he discouraged others from helping our rolling stores] So, you expect me to get a fair shake? I don’t think so,” he added.

However, Mayor Francis Zamora denied the allegation reiterating that Estrada violated the ECQ protocols.

Zamora noted that he even granted a one-day permit to the former senator’s daughter, former San Juan Vice Mayor Janella Estrada when she requested a permit for their rolling drugstore.

Zamora maintained that the arrest of Estrada had nothing to do with politics but with law and order especially amid the coronavirus pandemic wherein strict measures must be observed. 

The Estrada clan is the archrival of the Zamoras in San Juan City.

Estrada was later released from the San Juan Police Station. MNP (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

LRT-2 stops manual ticket selling to curb spread of COVID-19

Marje Pelayo   •   July 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Following the spike of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection among personnel of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3), the management of Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT-2) has decided to stop manual ticket dispensing in all its stations. 

This is to prevent physical contact and COVID-19 transmission among ticket sellers and commuters.

Instead, all LRT-2 passengers will have to use the ticket vending machines to acquire a ticket.

According to LRTA Spokesperson Atty. Hernando Cabrera, manual ticket selling is not part of LRT-2’s plan upon the resumption of their operations on June 1 but the full use of their ticket vending machines.

“What we did is we start with small stations, This is what is happening now. Talagang lahat na ng istasyon, maliit o malaki, ticket vending machines na ang ginagamit natin wala nang selling sa teller [In all stations, we use ticket vending machines already and no tellers anymore],” Cabrera.

But the LRTA clarified that while the ticket sellers were unloaded of their ticket selling functions, they may still provide passenger assistance such as help for senior citizens and technical problems with ticket dispensing among other concerns.

All single journey tickets will be disinfected before they return to circulation, according to Cabrera.

At the end of the day kapag nakolekta na namin lahat ng single journey ticket dadalhin namin sa depot and then ika-quarantine namin sila for 72 hours,” Cabrera said.

[At the end of the day once we collected all single-journey tickets, we will bring them to the Depot for quarantine for 72 hours.]

By that time, based sa study ay patay na yung virus, saka palang namin sila irere encode and then ibabalik ulit sa sikulasyon,” he added.

[By that time, based on the study that the virus is eliminated, that’s the time we will re-encode and bring them back to circulation.]

At present, LRT-2 has recorded two confirmed COVID-19 cases among its personnel and undergoing quarantine. 

Both patients were office-based and no exposures to passengers. MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

2 areas in San Juan City under lockdown due to spike of COVID-19 cases

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 9, 2020

Two areas in San Juan City are placed under lockdown due to the high number of confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

C. Santos Street in Barangay Balong Bato and J. Eustaquio Street in Barangay Proseso are considered critical zones by the local government of San Juan after a total of 13 COVID-19 cases were recorded.

Seven are from C. Santos Street while six are from J. Eustaquio Street. The two areas will be under lockdown from July 7 to July 22.

Based on National Task Force on Covid-19 Memorandum Circular No. 2, “a street shall be categorized as CrZ (Critical Zone) if at least two (2) cluster of cases, composed of either suspect, probable and/or confirmed COVID-19, are present in different houses, buildings or establishments along a specified street.”

The local government has provided assistance to 255 households affected by the lockdown, while police are deployed to monitor lockdown violators.

Meanwhile, San Juan’s Agora Market will remain closed until July 15 after 23 employees and vendors tested positive for COVID-19. The said market is now under disinfection and sanitation procedure.

As of July 8, the San Juan local government recorded a total of 481 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 134 active cases, 300 recoveries, and 47 deaths.

Based on the report, there is a spike in the daily number of new cases from June 27 compared to the recorded cases from June 15 to June 26. –AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

Tokyo 2020 expects to secure all venues for Games — local media

UNTV News   •   July 9, 2020

Tokyo Olympics organizers expect to be able to use all the venues as originally planned at next year’s rearranged Games, several Japanese media outlets reported on Thursday (July 9).

Securing venues was a top priority for organisers after the Games were pushed back to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Kyodo and NHK, citing unnamed sources, said they were now confident they would be tied down for Olympics use again.

However, at his regular weekly news conference, Tokyo 2020 spokesman Masa Takaya said the reports were “optimistic” and that nothing had been announced.

Last month, Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said 80% of all venues needed had been secured, with the Athlete’s Village and Tokyo Big Sight, the planned media centre, among those yet to be fully secured.

Thursday’s reports also said the competition schedule would remain largely unchanged and that all tickets holders would be eligible for refunds, and that organisers would seek approval of these decisions from the IOC’s General Assembly on July 17.

Asked to confirm those details, Takaya said nothing had been decided and Tokyo 2020 did not expect to seek approval from the IOC next week. (Reuters)

(Production: Jack Tarrant)

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