PNP-HPG tightens checkpoint screening against illegal people transport

Marje Pelayo   •   April 8, 2021   •   611

MANILA, Philippines — A video of a van transporting people from Metro Manila went viral on social media recently.

According to Philippine National Police (PNP) Highway Patrol Group Director PBGen. Alexander Tagum, the vehicle was supposed to transport people from Metro Manila via Del Gallego in Camarines Sur where vans are waiting for transfer.

The vans will transport the passengers to a Ro-Ro terminal in Matnog, Sorsogon where they would go for a trip bound for Visayas and Mindanao.

This opted authorities to tighten border control and inspection against colorum vehicles for hire that operate in the National Capital Region, Regions 3, 4A, 4B, and 5.

“Nakahuli po ang tropa ko ng 13 colorum vehicles, 11 dito ay passenger van, 1 ay AUV, 1 kotse illegally transporting people towards Bicol region galing Metro Manila,” Tagum noted.

Police chief PGen. Debold Sinas ordered a random inspection on cargo trucks in every checkpoint manned by the PNP.

Tagum confirmed that the apprehended vehicles were already impounded and operators/owners were fined up to P200,000 each vehicle.

All passengers composed of around 100 individuals were turned over to their respective local government units (LGUs) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for swab testing and food and accommodation assistance.

All apprehended drivers will face charges in violation of the Section 9D and Republic Act 11332 or Non-Cooperation of Persons and Entities that should report or respond to notifiable diseases or health events of public concern.

They may be fined up to P20,000 to P50,000 and possible imprisonment of one to six months apart from possible revocation of license and suspension from employment due to violation of Commonwealth Act 146 or the Public Service Act on Public Convenience.

PH yet to detect case of Lambda COVID-19 variant; stricter border control eyed – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   July 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) is looking to recommend stricter border control to  keep out the potentially more contagious Lambda COVID-19 variant.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the Philippines has yet to detect any case of the Lambda variant but he stressed that stricter border control may be necessary to prevent the variant from entering the country.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Lambda variant (C.37) was first detected in Peru in December 2020. Its presence has so far been reported in more than 30 countries.

“Sa ngayon po, ito ay napag alaman kumakalat na sa bansang Peru at sa 35 iba pang Latin American countries. Sa ngayon po, batay sa submission ng ating Philippine Genome Center, wala pa, wala pa po tayong natukoy o na-diskubre na C.37 variant,” Duque said.

The Health Ministry of Malaysia earlier reported that the Lambda variant is feared to be “more infectious” than the Delta variant.

But the WHO said there is still not enough information to say that the Lambda mutation is more contagious than other identified COVID-19 variants.

The Lambda variant is still considered a variant of interest (VOI) as it shares similar attributes to the highly transmissible Delta variant that first emerged in India.

Variants under VOI are different from those classified as variants of concern (VOC).

According to the WHO, a variant is classified as a VOC if there is evidence of an increase in transmissibility or detrimental change in COVID-19 epidemiology; or increase in virulence or change in clinical disease presentation; or decrease in effectiveness of public health and social measures or available diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutics.

Variants classified as VOC include Alpha (first reported in the United Kingdom), Beta (South Africa), Gamma (Brazil), and Delta (India).

“Hindi pa siya kinikilala ng WHO bilang variant of concern. Sa kasalukuyan, siya po ay isang Variant of Interest… Kinakailngan po talaga bantayan natin ito dahil baka biglang maging Variant of Concern,” Duque said.

“So ano ang gagawin natin? Patuloy na paigtingin ang ating border control para makasiguro na hindi ito makalusot mula sa ating mga ROFs or OFWs,” he added.

The DOH also urged the public to continue observing health protocols and get vaccinated against coronavirus disease as it offers protection against severe forms of COVID-19.

Pagbabantay sa PH borders, mas hihigpitan vs COVID-19 Delta variant — DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   June 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Mas hihigpitan pa ang gagawing pagbabantay sa lahat ng border sa bansa, mula sa mga paliparan, pantalan hanggang sa mga boundary ng bawat lugar sa Pilipinas, ayon sa Department of Health (DOH).

Ayon kay Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, naabisuhan na ang lahat ng lokal na pamahalaan para sa paghihigpit sa kani-kanilang mga border upang mapigilan ang pagkalat ng Delta variant, isang uri ng COVID-19 na mas nakakakahawa kumpara sa ibang variant.

“Nasa heightened alert po lahat. Lahat ng local governments were informed, lahat po ng mga regional offices were informed na kailangan bantayan maigi ang Delta Variant across our borders,” ani Vergeire.

Ayon sa opisyal, mas paiigtingin pa ng pamahalaan ang pagpapatupad ng COVID-19 testing at quarantine protocols, at contact tracing pati na ang pagpapalawig sa entry ban sa mga magmumula sa bansang India, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, at Nepal hanggang June 30.

“We are going to uphold the directive of the IATF as well as the Office of the President. This is because we want to prevent further entry of this Delta Variant,” ani Vergeire.

“We cannot have non-uniformity in the implementation of our border control. So iyan po napag-usapan, napagkasunduan, nakausap na rin po ang mga officials, regional directors ng iba’t ibang ahensya last Saturday,” dagdag pa niya.

Ang mas mahigpit na border control sa Pilipinas ay kasunod ng pahayag ng World Health Organization na ang Delta variant na ang dominant variant ng COVID-19 matapos itong mapaulat sa mahigit 80 bansa.

Ang Delta variant ay unang natuklasan sa bansang India.

Sa Pilipinas, 17 na ang kabuuang kaso ng Delta COVID-19 variant matapos itong madagdagan nang magpositibo sa naturang variant ang apat na returning overseas Filipino mula sa South Korea at Saudi Arabia.

Iniulat din ng DOH na 14 na dagdag na kaso ng Alpha variant (United Kingdom), at 21 Beta variant (South Africa) ang naitala sa bansa batay sa ulat ng Philippine Genome Center at ng UP-National Institutes of Health ngayong Lunes.

Ayon sa DOH, lubhang nakababahala kapag lalo pang kumalat sa bansa ang mga variant na ito, lalo na ang Delta variant, dahil mataas ang tiyansang maospital ang isang individwal na kakapitan nito.

“Walang sinabi sa mga ebidensyang nakalap natin, even our experts are saying, walang sinabi na deadly pero sinabi na mas nakakahawa talaga siya,” ani Vergeire.

“Ang delta variant is 60% more transmissible than the Alpha variant. So, ibig sabihin po kung ang alpha variant ay nakapanghahawa ng 4-5 tao per every individual infected, ang Delta Variant po can have 8 individual infected sa isang taong may sakit. So ganoon kabilis ang pagkakahawa kapag Delta Variant ang pinag-uusapan,” dagdag pa niya.

Muli ring paalala ng DOH sa publiko na mag-doble ingat at sundin ang ipinatutupad na health protocols kontra COVID-19. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

CAR implements stricter border control amid COVID-19 UK variant

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 27, 2021

BAGUIO, Philippines—The Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) has been placed under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) beginning February 1 amid confirmed cases of the new coronavirus variant in Mountain Province.

In an advisory, the Baguio City local government also announced the implementation of stricter border protocols in Baguio, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay (BLISTT) from February 1 to 15, 2021.

ADVISORY Temporary Restricted Access between and among Baguio, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay (BLISTT) …

Posted by Public Information Office – City of Baguio on Tuesday, January 26, 2021

All travelers shall present medical certificates/medical clearance issued by any licensed physician stating that the resident has not exhibited flu-like symptoms as of the time of assessment.

Meanwhile, those with immediate medical emergencies shall be allowed to pass through freely. Cargo and logistics services; utilities for water, electricity, telecommunications, IT and waste management shall likewise be given unhampered passage. AAC

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