Out of job jeepney drivers in Manila turn to begging amid ECQ

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 14, 2020   •   1280

MANILA, Philippines — Jeepney drivers in Manila were seen begging on the streets after losing their livelihood during the implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The group of drivers, who are members of the Monumento, Baclaran, Blumentritt Transport Cooperative (MBBTC), took to Rizal Avenue to ask motorists for aid.

According to Noeme Bayona, one of the drivers, they are forced to seek help on the street now that the ECQ has been further extended in the National Capital Region (NCR).

Nakakahiya sana manghingi pero tinitiis para may makain (It’s humiliating to beg but we endure it so we can have something to eat),he said.

Most of the drivers are from far from their hometowns and have no other relatives living in Manila. In order to save money, they only eat once a day.

According to Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, they have already provided aid to these jeepney drivers; however, they cannot sustain the supply due to the city’s limited sources.

“It was the local government unit of Manila that gave the first assistance,” he said.

Meanwhile, a group of mothers in Barangay 210, Sta. Cruz also took to the streets to ask motorists for assistance.

Evangeline Lousara, mother of one of the drivers, said they have already used up the assistance given by the Manila City government. They were also not listed in the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) of the national government.

Lalo na sa mga maintenance namin kasi na-extend na po ang quarantine (Especially for our maintenance because the quarantine is extended), she said.

For Noeme, he only hopes for public transportation to resume operations. —AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

Mayor Isko backs opening of Intramuros, parks for ‘family day’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso said he agrees with the Department of Tourism (DOT) to open Intramuros and other parks once a week for a designated “family day.”

DOT chief Bernadette Romulo-Puyat suggested the reopening of Intramuros for one day without any age restriction to allow families to visit the site.

Intramuros reopened the gates of Fort Santiago, Casa Manila Museum, and Baluarte de San Diego last February 17, but only for visitors aged 15 to 65 years old.

Domagoso agreed with Puyat’s suggestion and encouraged families to visit Intramuros as it would also help boost the city’s economy.

The Manila Mayor also reported that the Metropolitan Theater is set to open in April. AAC

Manila Mayor approves P10-k financial aid per family for Parola fire victims

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso has approved the P10,000 financial aid for each family who lost their home in the fire that broke out in Parola, Tondo on Sunday (February 22).

The Bureau of Fire Protection-National Capital Region (BFP-NCR) reported that 600 families were rendered homeless while five people perished in the blaze.

The fire reached fourth alarm at 1:49 a.m. and was declared under control at 5:04 a.m, Sunday.

The displaced families are currently at the P. Guevarra Elementary School, where modular tents were set up for them. AAC (with reports from Asher Cadapan Jr.)

Manila releases P38.4M as advance payment for AstraZeneca Covid vaccines

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Manila City government has released P38.4 million as advance payment to AstraZeneca for its COVID-19 vaccine.

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso authorized the release of the funds on Friday (February 19). The amount is a 20 percent advance payment for 800,000 doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine.

Domagoso is also grateful that the government has allowed “local government units (LGUs) to fast-track the procurement process.”

The Government Procurement Reform Act only allows advance payment equivalent to only a maximum of 15 percent of the cost of government-financed projects. Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado called for the easing of this limitation earlier this month.

President Rodrigo Duterte subsequently signed a memorandum order increasing the limit for advanced payments for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines.

The Manila Mayor added that the vaccines are expected to arrive soon but reminded the public to continue following health protocols.

“Let’s keep practicing the health protocols mandated by the Department of Health and let’s keep refining our mass vaccination simulation exercises,” he said.

The Manila LGU has already put in place measures in preparation for its vaccination rollout. A website has been put up for registration where over 88,000 people have pre-registered for the COVID vaccine as of February 18.

A storage facility has also been inaugurated on top of regular mass vaccination simulation exercises. AAC

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