PNP urges mall security execs to require quarantine passes, limit number of customers

Robie de Guzman   •   May 19, 2020   •   324

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday urged mall security managers to require quarantine passes from its customers to improve the implementation of social distancing measures and avoid mass gathering in malls.

Police Lieutenant Col. Guillermo Eleazar, chief of Joint Task Force Coronavirus (JTF CV) Shield, said mandating quarantine passes from customers entering malls will follow government’s guidelines in allowing only one person per household to go out and get essential goods and services amid the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

The PNP met with security management in malls in the National Capital Region earlier in the day to discuss the implementation of health and safety protocols following reports of crowding and lack of physical distancing when the malls partially opened on May 16 in MECQ areas.

Eleazar said the mall security managers were also reminded to strictly limit the number of people allowed to enter the malls as stated in the government’s guidelines.

“So una yung maximum number of customers, dapat yun lang ang papasok lang sa loob… It could be computed base doon sa 1 customer per 2 square meters doon sa mga open areas,” he said.

Mall security managers have also been urged to designate drop off and pick up points to ensure that those entering malls are allowed to avail goods and services.

Metro Manila is under MECQ until May 31.

Under this setup, select businesses and offices will be allowed to resume 50% of operations and workforce, provided that minimum health standards will be implemented.

The guidelines also state that only essential and non-leisure shops will be permitted to open, including hardware stores, office supplies and clothing and accessories stores.

The number of customers allowed inside the stores will also be limited, and elevators will only be allowed to ferry 50% of its total capacity with occupants observing social distancing measures.

Free mall WiFi connection will be disabled and air condition temperature will be regulated to 26 centigrade to discourage loitering and lingering of peopleinside the mall.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has earlier warned that malls partially opened during the MECQ will be ordered closed if they fail to implement social distancing measures. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

TNVS gears up as operations resume on June 1

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 30, 2020

The Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS) industry is already preparing for the resumption of operations on June 1 when Metro Manila finally shifts to General Community Quarantine (GCQ).

TNVS driver Noel Guimbaolibot has added plastic covers and disinfectant solutions in his car as part of the minimum health standards for public transportation.

Noel is looking forward to the resumption of operations since he hasn’t been able to earn for over three months because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

He said he has to brave the risk of getting infected in order to earn for his loved ones.

“Sa ngayon, hindi pa naman nawawala iyong COVID-19. Ang pinakamaganda talaga ay lagi lang maging maingat. Magsuot ng face mask every time, mag-spray ng alcohol, (COVID-19 is not going away just yet. It would be best to always be careful. Wear a face mask and spray alcohol),” he said.

Grab PH will be implementing new protocols for their partner-drivers in accordance with the directives of the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

Before being allowed to operate, Grab PH’s partner-drivers will have to answer a checklist to determine if they are fit enough to operate. They will also undergo training to make sure they are following health protocols.

Cashless system will also be encouraged to avoid direct contact. Drivers will also be allowed to cancel their booking if the passenger is not wearing a face mask. Likewise, passengers may also cancel their booking if the driver is not wearing a face mask.

Grab PH president, Brian Cu assures that they will not implement any fare hike as operations resume. However, they will appeal to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for a five-peso fare increase by next month.

“The disinfection kits and disinfection measures are an added cost for them, to the drivers, so we made a proposal to the LTFRB to raise the per trip cost by a fixed amount to help cover these items,” he said.

Meanwhile, TNVS drivers are not required to undergo COVID-19 testing before resumption of operations unless they are experiencing COVID-19 like symptoms. Grab PH has test kits prepared for their partner drivers. AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

PNP mulls reopening of Custodial Center to visitors amid COVID-19 crisis

Robie de Guzman   •   May 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday said it will assess whether its Custodial Center can be reopened to visitors amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.

PNP chief Police General Archie Gamboa said they need to thoroughly study the possibility of reopening the facility because of its proximity to quarantine facilities housing police personnel infected with COVID-19 and the PNP RT-PCR test laboratory.

At present, the visitation of inmates at the PNP Custodial Center is prohibited in compliance with the safety and health protocols set by the government amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gamboa said they are only following the measure implemented by the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in the detention facilities in the country.

“Standard naman ‘yung sinusunod natin, together with the BuCor and BJMP. We need to reassess whether to open up sa visitors yung Custodial Center,” he said.

Gamboa’s statement comes after opposition senators questioned the PNP’s move to bar Senator Leila de Lima from accepting visitors and holding physical meetings with anyone.

The PNP chief, however, assured that De Lima is allowed to make phone calls. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

International travel still restricted under GCQ, PH Immigration bureau says

Robie de Guzman   •   May 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) said on Friday that international travel restrictions at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) will still be implemented despite the easing of community quarantine protocols in Metro Manila.

In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said that international travel restrictions imposed under the enhanced community quarantine and modified enhanced community quarantine are still in place unless these are lifted or eased by the national government.

“As a consequence, our operations at the NAIA are still downscaled and our personnel there are still on skeletal and rotational deployment,” Morente said.

“Nonetheless, we assure the public that we are always ready to resume full, normal operations in our international airports once the government decides to ease or lift these travel restrictions,” he added.

Meanwhile, Immigration acting port operations chief Grifton Medina said that BI officers at the NAIA currently serve an average of only 20 to 30 flights a day, a third of which are special flights that ferry medical supplies and other kinds of cargo into the country.

As for the passenger flights, Medina said these are mostly repatriation flights that transport returning overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and chartered sweeper flights that bring foreigners stranded here back to their home countries.

Under existing guidelines approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force Against Infectious Diseases (IATF), only OFWs, Filipino citizens and their spouses and dependents, permanent residents, and foreign diplomats are allowed to enter the country.

All foreigners can leave anytime but Filipinos are not allowed to depart unless they are permanent residents or holders of student visa in their country of destination.

Metro Manila will be placed under GCQ beginning June 1 after President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force to ease quarantine restrictions.

Under GCQ, limited operations of public transportation will be allowed to resume and more businesses are allowed to reopen.

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