Mass gatherings in areas in MGCQ allowed with 50% limited capacity

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 4, 2020   •   250

Mass gatherings is now allowed in areas under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) but is limited to 50% seating capacity, according to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) Resolution no. 43 also stated that mass gatherings, including religious gatherings and work conferences, are allowed in areas under MGCQ.

However, Roque clarified that it still has limitations in order to adhere to safety protocols such as wearing masks and social distancing to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“Sa mga lugar na MGCQ pa lamang, pwede na pong magkaroon ng mass gatherings para sa religious purposes pero po hanggang 50 percent lamang ng seating capacity, (Mass gatherings for religious purposes is only allowed in areas under MGCQ but only up to 50% seating capacity)” he said during a press briefing on Thursday (June 4).

Meanwhile, the IATF-MEID clarified that not all residents are allowed to leave the house in areas under MGCQ.

Residents who have no important reason to leave should stay at home.

This also includes individuals ages 21 years old and below, the elderly, pregnant women, and immunocompromised patients.AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

MGCQ not yet possible in NCR – Malacañang

Marje Pelayo   •   July 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Community quarantine measures may not be relaxed yet in the National Capital Region (NCR), according to National Task Force against COVID-19 Chief Implementer Sec. Carlito Galvez.

Galvez said areas with high cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are likely to remain under general community quarantine (GCQ) if the situation will not improve.

He noted the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in the NCR and the region’s hospital occupancy has already reached 70% in the past five days.

On July 15, the existing community quarantine measures across the country will lapse and President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to announce the government’s decision as to which quarantine restriction should the NCR be placed beginning July 16.

However, Malacañang said the numbers cannot yet justify Metro Manila’s shift from GCQ to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ). 

“Datos po ang tinitingnan natin. Kung tayo po ay magluluwag, siguro po at this point, the data does not indicate na pwedeng magluwag at least sa Metro Manila, para lang po to manage expectations [We are looking into data. If we are to ease (restrictions) at this point, the data does not indicate that we can ease at least in Metro Manila, just to manage expectations],” explained Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

Galvez also stressed that even Metro Manila mayors recommended retaining the GCQ in their respective areas or implementing hybrid status which means opening all businesses while observing safety precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Galvez noted, however, that there are other areas where stricter quarantine restrictions will be imposed starting July 16. 

Mayroon pong nag-escalate, at mga area na ito ay nakita nating nagkaroon ng new cases at spikes [There are areas that escalated. And these areas are where new cases and spikes were reported],” Galvez concluded. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Palace remains ‘neutral’ on House rejection of ABS-CBN franchise bid

Marje Pelayo   •   July 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque reiterated on Friday (July 10) that the Palace remains neutral on the issue of ABS-CBN franchise renewal.

In a statement after the House Committee on Legislative Franchises rejected the network’s franchise application, Roque said House Committee decision is a “sole prerogative of Congress” that the Executive Branch recognizes.

“The Palace has maintained a neutral stance on the issue as it respects the separation of powers between the two co-equal branches of government,” he said. 

“Much as we want to work with the aforesaid media network, we have to abide by the resolution of the House committee,” he added. 

Voting 70-11, the Committee chaired by Rep. Franz Alvarez adopted the resolution submitted by the Technical Working Group (TWG) rejecting the network’s bid for another 25-year franchise. 

READ: House prepares to vote on ABS-CBN franchise renewal

For his part, ABS-CBN President and CEO Carlo Katigbak in a statement said they ‘are deeply hurt’ by the House Committee’s decision saying, “We believe that we have been rendering a service that is meaningful and valuable to the Filipino public.”

Nevertheless, Katigbak said the network expressed its gratitude to the Committee for giving them the chance to air their side on all the issues and allegations raised against them.

“We remain committed to public service, and we hope to find other ways to achieve our mission.  Together with our employees and our audiences all over the world, we share in your sadness over this setback,” he said. 

“We look forward to the day when we can again reunite under our broadcast,” he further said.

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Malacañang admits shortcomings in not building more laboratories soon enough

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 9, 2020

Malacañang admitted the government had shortcomings in not building more coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing laboratories to boost the country’s response against the pandemic.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the country only began having more testing laboratories last March, adding that the country should have already boosted its testing capacity when the first COVID-19 case was reported.

Inaamin po natin na medyo naging mabagal ang proseso sa lumipas po na dalawang buwan (We admit the process has been slow in the past two months),” he said.

“If I were to look back, what could have we done better? Siguro po noong nagkaroon tayo ng unang kaso imported case ng COVID, dapat pinalawak na natin ang testing capacity natin agad (When we had the first imported case of COVID-19, we could have already boosted our testing capacity), Roque added.

The country only had one COVID-19 laboratory in January. As of July 7, licensed RT-PCR laboratories across the country have reached 78. The Palace official said the government is improving its COVID-19 testing, treatment, and contact tracing to better the response against the virus.

The Duterte Administration also called on the public, local government, and business establishments to be more responsible in following minimum health standards including social distancing, wearing face masks, and hand washing.

Roque also announced the government will further boost its targeted testing.

Bukod po sa 10 million na naorder natin at 1 million na na-deliver na PCR testing, magkakaroon ng mas malawak na targeted testing na iaanunsyo po natin sa mga darating na panahon (Aside from the 10 million we ordered and the 1 million PCR testing that has been delivered, there will be wider targeted testing which we will announce soon), he said. –AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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