No plans yet for expansion of enhanced community quarantine to Visayas, Mindanao — IATF

Marje Pelayo   •   March 26, 2020   •   633

MANILA, Philippines – The national government has enhanced the implementation of community quarantine from Metro Manila to the entire island of Luzon after the region recorded majority of the country’s COVID-19 cases.

A number of cases have also been detected outside of Luzon which raises the possible extension of enhanced community quarantine to the Visayas and Mindanao.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) clarified, however, they see no reason to recommend such action though several local government units (LGUs) in these major islands are implementing community quarantine in consultation with the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) based on the number of COVID-19 cases in their localities.

“Sa ngayon, hindi pa naman kailangang buong Visayas at Mindanao para tuloy-tuloy pa rin naman ang kanilang normal na buhay lalo ang nasa trabaho at food production, (For now, the inclusion of Visayas and Mindanao is not necessary, so that they can continue with their normal lives especially those in food production),” explained DILG Secretary Eduardo Año.

“But if there is a necessity and depending on the development, the IATF will assess that,” the official said.

Meanwhile, Año believes that the enhanced community quarantine will be shortened or lifted depending on the cooperation of various sectors in the implementation of government guidelines in their areas.

One of these is the strict observation and practice of physical distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine is until April 13 but it can be lifted or extended depending on the gravity of the COVID-19 crisis. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Iloilo City also extends ECQ until April 30

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 8, 2020

The Iloilo City government has also extended its enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to April 30.

According to Iloilo Mayor Jerry Treñas, the ECQ extension is to further prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the area.

“After due consultation with the doctors, our city health office, our focal person, the Department of Health (DOH), and some other business in Iloilo City I have decided to extend the period up to April 30,” he said.

Treñas recommended all residents to stay home and wait for the relief packs from the government.

Based on the recent report of the DOH, confirmed COVID-19 cases in the area reached 36 in Western Visayas, four of them are from Iloilo City. AAC (with reports from Lalaine Moreno)

CHED: Tuition refund at the discretion of private schools and universities

Marje Pelayo   •   April 8, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Some businesses have opted give refunds for their services due to the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) amid the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

According to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), private universities may opt to refund or return the students’ tuition fees due to the changes in the school calendar while lockdown remains in effect.

For instance, Ateneo de Manila University has decided to end their current term on May 8 and all students, regardless of their class standing, will be given passing grades.

Students will receive P20,000 tuition fee refund plus 60 percent of the laboratory fee.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, meanwhile, noted the huge effect of the ECQ on the country’s trade sector as they had to defer a number of trade expos where local products are supposed to be offered.

The Department of Trade and Industry, nonetheless, is confident that these events will push through in the near future.

Hindi naman siya totally cancelled or refunded; nirere-schedule nalang pagka wala nang issue and COVID, [They’re not totally cancelled or refunded. We are rescheduling them for a later date when the issue on COVID-19 is over],” Lopez noted.

Hotels and airline bookings are also affected by the current situation as many clients opted for a refund.

Early this month, Cebu Pacific announced billions of pesos in payouts for cancelled flights this year due to COVID-19 outbreak.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) meanwhile, clarified that passengers may refund their previous bookings subject to the conditions provided by their respective flight carriers. MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

Gov’t OKs resumption of limited work in rail projects amid COVID-19 quarantine

Robie de Guzman   •   April 8, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The government has allowed the resumption of work in 13 rail projects amid the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine, its task force in managing the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis said.

Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the resumption of utility relocation and specified limited works across 13 rail projects will include rail replacement and other works needed for the Metro Rail Transit line 3 (MRT-3).

“Aprubado na po ang request ng Department of Transportation (DOTr) na ituloy ang mga utility relocation works at iba pang trabaho sa 13 proyekto tulad ng pagpalit sa riles ng MRT 3 na magagawa lamang pag walang operasyon,” Nograles said in a virtual press briefing on Tuesday.

In a statement, the DOTr said the 13 rail projects are the following:

  • LRT-1 Cavite Extension
  • LRT-2 East Extension
  • LRT-2 West Extension
  • LRT-2 Fire Restoration
  • MRT-3 Rehabilitation
  • MRT-7
  • Metro Manila Subway
  • Common Station
  • PNR Clark 1
  • PNR Clark 2 and Calamba
  • Subic-Clark Railway
  • PNR Bicol
  • Mindanao Railway

The IATF, however, reminded the DOTr to observe limited mobilization of personnel and skeletal staffing pattern. Social distancing measures should also be implemented.

On- or near-site accommodations and point-to-point shuttle services should also be provided to workers.

Nograles also said that regular disinfection of workplaces, shuttles, and accommodations should also be conducted.

He also stressed the IATF’s advice on the regular monitoring of the workers’ health, especially those who are experiencing coronavirus symptoms.

The operations of mass transport have been suspended since President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire Luzon under an enhanced community quarantine to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The community quarantine was supposed to end on April 12 but it was extended until April 30.

To date, the Philippines has recorded 3,764 confirmed infections, with 177 fatalities and 84 total recoveries. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)

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