Mayor Sara Duterte tells residents to prepare for possible return of Davao City to GCQ

Robie de Guzman   •   July 14, 2020   •   259

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte has called on residents to prepare for the possible return of the city to the general community quarantine (GCQ), which entails the observance of stricter health and movement restrictions.

Duterte made the call on Monday after receiving advance information from the National Inter-Agency Task Force that the city will be reverted to GCQ on Wednesday, July 15.

Malacañang earlier said that President Rodrigo Duterte may be announcing on Wednesday the new quarantine restrictions that will be implemented in various parts of the country after July 15.

Mayor Sara said she will be appealing to the IATF to reconsider the quarantine classification of Davao City which is currently under modified GCQ.

“Kung ma deny gihapon ang appeal nga magpabilin ta og MGCQ, may I request everyone nga duna tay July 2 nga version sa Omnibus Guidelines nga atoa lang i-review, pasadahan nato kung unsa tong GCQ para mahinumdom ta kung unsa atoang kinahanglan buhaton during a GCQ. So maayo nang mangandam ta daan for a status nga GCQ,” she said in an interview over the city-run Davao City Disaster Radio.

(If our appeal to remain under MGCQ is denied, I request everyone to review the July 2 version of our Omnibus guidelines, go over the guidelines under GCQ so we remember what we should do during a GCQ. We should get ready for a GCQ status.)

The latest version of the Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines issued on July 2, 2020 include limitations of in-dining services to only 30 percent capacity, and prohibiting entertainment establishments like comedy bars and karaoke from operating, as well as mass gatherings with more than 10 people.

Davao City saw a continued rise in coronavirus cases in the past weeks. Based on the latest data from the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC), Davao City has 162 active positive cases, the highest number of active cases since the Covid-19 outbreak started in March this year. The number of recoveries is at 382 and 35 deaths.

Given the still increasing cases and in the absence of anti-coronavirus disease vaccine, the public is reminded to stay at home except when buying food and medicine; wash hands frequently, social distancing, and wear masks whenever they go out of their homes.

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Duterte reverts NCR, nearby areas to MECQ beginning Tuesday, August 4

Maris Federez   •   August 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has placed Metro Manila and other high-risk areas back to a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) status for 15 days, that will take effect on Tuesday, August 4, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continuing threat.

On Sunday night’s televised briefing, Duterte said the National Capital Region, Bulacan, and the provinces of Laguna, Cavite, and Rizal in Region 4-A will be under the MECQ until August 18.

As proposed by the taskforce, healthcare workers would also be provided additional benefits, as follows:

  • risk allowance for private sector healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients
  • the amount of 10 to 15,000 pesos for every healthcare worker that gets sick
  • life insurance
  • free accommodation
  • free transportation, and
  • free and frequent testing

Malacañang said that the president, likewise, approved the hiring of additional healthcare workers to augment the current workforce, including the hiring of 10,000 medical professionals and call them to active duty and enlistment to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The chief executive also approved the Cabinet’s recommendation to issue work and quarantine passes to minimize movement.

Duterte also directed the local government units (LGUs) and the COVID-19 CODE Teams to intensify the localized lockdown strategy and the implementation of Oplan Kalinga.

Malacañang said the guidelines for minimum health standards will also be strictly enforced and intensified while giving twenty million face masks for the poor.

The president has also approved the use of RT-PCT testing as the gold standard.

On August 1, several groups of doctors and medical practitioners have asked for a time-out and for Metro Manila to return to an ECQ status for two weeks to give them time to rest and “recalibrate strategies” against the disease.

On June 1, Malacañang ordered placing Metro Manila and other areas from MECQ to a less strict general community quarantine (GCQ) although the cases of the fatal disease in the region and other key areas have been continually rising.

Under the general community quarantine, businesses in Metro Manila were allowed to open and more modes of public transportation were able to operate in limited capacity.

On Sunday (August 2), 5,032 new infections were added to the number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines pushing the total number to 103,185. — /mbmf

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IATF to allow partial opening of gyms, internet cafes, aesthetic services starting August 1

Robie de Guzman   •   July 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Inter-Agency Task for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has approved the partial opening of more business establishments in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified (GCQ) starting August 1, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said Wednesday.

According to IATF Resolution No. 59, establishments in GCQ areas that are offering aesthetic services, gyms, fitness centers and sports facilities, internet cafes, personal grooming, pet grooming, testing and tutorial centers as well as review centers and drive-in cinemas will be allowed to operate up to 30 percent of capacity.

The DTI, however, clarified that gyms with contact sports such as karate and boxing are not covered by the measure.

In areas under MGCQ, limited operations will be allowed for establishments offering full body massage, live events, entertainment industries, libraries, archives, museums and cultural centers, and tourist destinations, as well as driving, and dance/acting/voice schools.

The DTI said these businesses will be allowed to partially operate as long as mandatory health protocols, such as physical distancing and sanitation, are followed.

Meanwhile, Malacañang reiterated on Wednesday that President Rodrigo Duterte will make announcements this week about the new community quarantine classification that will be implemented in August.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the president is set to meet with the IATF on Thursday to discuss its recommendations.

Roque also said that aside from the new community quarantine restrictions, the public should also await the “major changes” that will be implemented in the government’s response to COVID-19 pandemic.

The Palace official earlier said that these changes, which will include massive testing, “invigorated” tracing, and creation of more quarantine facilities, will focus more on the policies to contain the public health crisis. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Sara Duterte to skip father’s 5th SONA

Robie de Guzman   •   July 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, said she will not be attending the fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) of her father, President Rodrigo Duterte which is set to be held on Monday, July 27 at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City.

In an interview over Davao City Disaster Radio on Wednesday, Duterte-Carpio said she is skipping this year’s SONA because she wants to avoid the cumbersome health requirements like going through swab testing and 14-day mandatory requirement as imposed on Davao-bound passengers to curb the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“Hindi pa ako dumadaan sa RT-PCR testing and of course, pag ganyan babalik na naman ako sa pagho-home quarantine ng 14 days. It’s not something na I want to do again kay dumaan na ako sa ganyan,” she said referring to the time she underwent home quarantine last March after her meeting in Manila with Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, who came in contact with a COVID-19 patient.

Mayor Sara also said she would rather stay in Davao City than travel to Manila to witness her father address the nation.

She also advised the public to watch the president’s SONA to hear about his administration’s accomplishments and other plans before his term ends in 2022. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Marisol Montaño)

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