QC offers more ‘Libreng Sakay’ to commuters

Marje Pelayo   •   June 2, 2020   •   420

MANILA, Philippines – The local government of Quezon City has added two new routes to its Libreng Sakay program to help commuters catch a ride to and from their workplaces and other destinations.

“As we transition to General Community Quarantine (GCQ), we have to assist the people to adjust to the new normal and that includes going back to work,” said Mayor Joy Belmonte.

The Libreng Sakay program, which has dedicated 14 buses to ply two identified routes,  is available to the general public and Quezon City residents.

The said routes are as follows:

  • Route 1: SM Fairview – Quezon Avenue MRT (via Commonwealth Ave)

Starting point: SM Fairview

Pick up points

– Atherton / FCM

– Dona Carmen / Don Fabian (Wilcon)

– Litex

– Commonweath Market / Riverside

– Batasan

– Don Antonio

– Luzon / Tandang Sora (Puregold)

Drop off point: Quezon Avenue MRT

  • Route 2: Novaliches Bayan – North Avenue MRT (via Quirino Highway – Mindanao Ave)

Starting point: Nova Bayan

Drop off point: North Ave MRT

The city government has prioritized these routes due to the number of commuters who were stranded in these areas last Monday, the first day of the general community quarantine (GCQ) when several businesses were allowed to open.

“We recognize that a lot of people, mostly workers, are already returning to their offices but transport vehicles are few. We have to help augment,” said Assistant City Administrator for Operations Alberto Kimpo.

Kimpo assured that the city government duly observes social distancing and other necessary protocols while the program is being implemented.

“Our seats have been installed with markers to keep passengers apart. Wearing of proper face mask will be strictly observed and is expected of our passengers,” said Kimpo.

Mayor Belmonte has asked the public to follow the city government’s  guidelines, adding that their cooperation is vital in curbing further spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“Mahalaga ang kooperasyon ng bawat isa sa paglipat natin patungo sa GCQ. Kailangan natin ang tulong ng lahat para hindi na kumalat pa ang virus na ito,” said Belmonte.

Meanwhile, the Libreng Sakay program for frontliners is still on-going.

QC releases guidelines to speed up contact tracing in large companies

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 31, 2020

The Quezon City Government has released the guidelines it has drafted to expedite contact tracing of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in large companies.

QC Mayor Joy Belmonte said this is to further contain the virus and minimize the employee risk of infection and economic effects of COVID-19.

Based on the guidelines, an individual is considered a close contact if he or she had face-to-face contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case within one-meter distance, for more than 15 minutes and within a 14 day period from the confirmed case’s onset of symptoms.

Those in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case should undergo a 14-day quarantine and should undertake the swab testing if he or she is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms.

“In either case, close contacts should not be allowed to report for work immediately upon identification as such, and should be required to self-isolate at home,” Belmonte said.

Companies are also mandated to require their employees to list down all usual close contacts, both inside and outside work, even prior to any confirmed or suspect COVID-19 case.

“Companies are also mandated to provide the City Epidemiological Surveillance Unit (CESU), through qcsurveillance@quezoncity.gov.ph, with updates regarding confirmed cases and close contacts among the workforce,” the guidelines also stated. AAC

Duterte extends GCQ anew in Metro Manila until August 15

Marje Pelayo   •   July 31, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Friday (July 31) that he is again extending the implementation of  general community quarantine(GCQ) in Metro Manila starting August 1 to 15.

Aside from the National Capital Region, the following areas are also placed under GCQ until August 15:

  • Bulacan
  • Batangas
  • Cavite
  • Laguna
  • Rizal
  • Cebu Province
  • Lapu-Lapu City
  • Mandaue City
  • Talisay City
  • Minglanilla
  • Consolacion
  • Zamboanga City

Meanwhile, the rest of the country are placed under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

Duterte to announce new quarantine status; not sure of MGCQ for Metro Manila

Marje Pelayo   •   July 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is set to meet with members of the Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 on Wednesday evening (July 15) to discuss the next steps with regard to the implementation of community quarantine in different parts of the country. 

He is expected to decide on the new quarantine status that will take effect on Thursday, July 16. 

According to Malacañang, there was no mention in the previous IATF meeting about easing quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila.

Specifically, there was no discussion about the shifting from general community quarantine (GCQ) to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) in the National Capital Region considering the increase in the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases and the full utilization of the region’s critical care capacity. 

“Hindi ko po alam dahil sa huling meeting ng IATF talagang hindi po na-discuss ang MGCQ for Metro Manila (I have no idea because in the previous IATF meeting there was no discussion about MGCQ for Metro Manila),” noted Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque. 

The Philippines has entered the fourth month since the government imposed community quarantine orders due to the outbreak of COVID-19. 

Roque assured, meanwhile, that the NCR’s hospitals have enough beds for COVID-19 patients despite the announcement of Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega that the region’s intensive care system has now reached the danger zone. 

“Ang pakiusap lang natin sa mga pasyente, makinig lang po tayo kung saan tayo dapat pumunta at huwag na tayong mag-insist (We only ask that patients listed [to authorities] where they are supposed to go and not insist [on what they want]),” Roque stressed.

“Huwag na tayong mag-worry kung puno ang isang ospital, ire-refer naman po kayo sa iba pang ospital, (Do not worry if the hospital is full because you will be accommodated in other hospitals),” he added. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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