MMDA chairman, hopeful for NCR shift to Alert Level 3

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 27, 2021   •   122

MANILA, Philippines — Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Benhur Abalos said he remains hopeful that the National Capital Region (NCR) will be placed under Alert Level 3.

During a virtual public briefing on Monday (September 27), Abalos said reports show that the reproduction rate and the number of active cases have decreased in the past three or four days.

“I’m always data-driven. Tinitingnan ko three to four days ago, talagang gumanda naman ang reproduction rate, growth rate, even ang active cases. Iyong active cases kung titingnan natin, it was at a high of about 40,000 noong September 15. Ngayon po ay bumaba na tayo ng 29,000, (I was looking at [the data] three to four days ago. The reproduction rate, growth rate, and even the active cases are improving. In the active cases, we can see that it was at a high of about 40,000 last September 15. Now it is down to 29,000)” he said.

Abalos hopes that with the recent data, quarantine classifications in the NCR would ease.

The MMDA chair said that the total bed and ICU utilization rates should also drop to allow a shift in quarantine classification.

The NCR is currently under Alert Level 4 until September 30.

Meanwhile, the official also hopes that the number of fully vaccinated individuals in the NCR would reach 8 million by October 26.

Based on the recent data, 15.7 million individuals have received the COVID-19 vaccine, where around 7.1 million received the second dose.

Around 8.6 million individuals, meanwhile, have received the first dose of the vaccine. AAC

PNP assessing need to deploy more cops in NCR public areas – Eleazar

Robie de Guzman   •   October 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar on Monday said he has directed all unit commanders in the National Capital Region (NCR) to continue to assess the need for the deployment of additional police officers in public areas.

Eleazar issued the directive following the downgrading of COVID-19 alert in the NCR to level 3.

The PNP chief noted that in the first weekend of the Alert Level 3 implementation, a number of people flocked to public areas including churches across the metro, the Dolomite Beach at the Baywalk, the Marikina River Park, the Quirino Grandstand, and the Mall of Asia grounds.

A number of people also went outside for their outdoor exercises, he added.

“I have tasked all concerned police offices to determine if there is a need to deploy more cops to enforce the minimum health standards. Kailangang matiyak pa rin natin ang kaligtasan ng ating mga kababayan dahil baka ito na naman ang pagmulan ng pagtaas ng kaso ng COVID-19 sa NCR,” Eleazar said in a statement.

“Kung gusto nating tuloy-tuloy ang pagbaba ng bilang ng natamaan ng COVID-19, kailangang mapairal pa rin ang disiplina at pagsunod sa mga panuntunan sa ilalim ng Alert Level 3. Hindi dahil may pagluluwag na nagaganap, magsisilabasan na tayo sa ating mga tahanan at babalewalain na ang health and safety protocols,” he added.

Meanwhile, Eleazar said they would wait for the decision of the government’s task force for COVID-19 response regarding the mobility of minors amid the easing of some protocols and opening of more business establishments.

“Kami sa PNP ay tagapagpatupad lamang ng mga batas at regulasyon. Hihintayin namin kung ano ang magiging resolusyon nila sa bagay na ito at amin itong ipapatupad nang maayos,” he said.

The capital region will be under Alert Level 3 until Oct. 31.

Under Alert Level 3, the public’s movement, including intrazonal and interzonal travel, will be allowed except for reasonable restrictions based on age and co-morbidities as determined by the local government units.

Individual outdoor exercises will also be allowed for all ages regardless of vaccination status or co-morbidities.

More establishments will also be allowed to re-open at a maximum of 30 percent capacity.

Commonwealth-University Avenue Zipper Lane reopened to address heavy traffic

Robie de Guzman   •   October 18, 2021

The Commonwealth-University Avenue Zipper Lane reopened on Monday to ease heavy traffic along Commonwealth Avenue going to Philcoa and Elliptical Road, the Quezon City government said.

In an advisory, the city government said that the zipper lane will be open from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. from Monday to Friday to vehicles bound for the University of the Philippines, C.P. Garcia Avenue, and Katipunan Avenue.

“Bilang tugon sa bumibigat na daloy ng trapiko tuwing umaga sa kahabaan ng Commonwealth Avenue patungong Philcoa at Elliptical Road, muling bubuksan ng Pamahalaang Lungsod Quezon, sa tulong ng MMDA at EEI, ang Commonwealth-University Avenue Zipper Lane,” it said.

The zipper lane will start at UP Techno-Hub slot and end at the corner of Commonwealth Avenue and University Avenue by the entrance to the UP Campus.

“Magsisilbi itong ‘by-pass’ para sa mga bumabaybay ng Commonwealth Avenue na nais magtungong UP, C.P. Garcia Avenue, at Katipunan Avenue, upang maiwasan ang Philcoa at Elliptical Road,” the city government said.

“Para sa mga nais gumamit ng Commonwealth-University Avenue Zipper Lane, at sa iba pang apektadong motorista, sundan po natin ang mga Traffic Enforcers ng Quezon City Task Force on Transport and Traffic Management, at ang mga ilalatag na Road Safety Signages,” it added.

DOT says Alert Level 3 good for tourism jobs and businesses

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Thursday said the easing of quarantine classification to Alert Level 3 is good for tourism jobs and businesses.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) placed the National Capital Region (NCR) under Alert Level 3 from October 16 to 31, 2021.

DOT Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat in a statement said the new quarantine classification is timely especially with the approaching holiday season.

“Family gatherings are part of the Filipino culture, which makes this an important period for leisure travels and bookings,” Puyat said

“The resumption of tourism-related activities in select areas will not only aid hotels and establishments in gradually earning revenue, but will also translate into the restoration of jobs for our displaced tourism workers, especially now that the holiday season is fast approaching,” she added.

Under the Alert Level 3 guidelines dine-in services in restaurants as well as venues for meetings, social events, and tourist attraction shall be allowed to operate at a maximum of 30% indoor capacity for fully vaccinated individuals only. Outdoor venue capacity will be at 50% regardless of vaccination status.

Meanwhile, specialized markets of the DOT such as staycations shall be allowed at 100 percent operational capacity under Alert Level 3. Under the amended guidelines, only DOT-accredited staycation hotels with the Safety Seal certification will be allowed to accommodate staycation guests. AAC

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