Quezon City gov’t imposes stricter market rules vs COVID-19 spread

Robie de Guzman   •   April 16, 2020   •   528

MANILA, Philippines – The Quezon City government on Thursday said it will implement stricter measures in all public markets in the city in an effort to further stop the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a statement, the city government said it has instructed all city- and privately-owned markets to compute their vacant space or walkway-to-per individual ratio, and observe a space at least one square meter each person to ensure the strict enforcement of physical distancing.

“Kung ang walkway nila ay may sukat na 20 square meters, dapat ang papapasukin lang sa palengke ay dalawampung katao. Inaatasan din natin ang market owners na maging responsable sa pagpapatupad ng kaayusan ng pila papasok sa kanilang palengke,” Assistant City Administrator for Operations Alberto Kimpo said.

Market authorities are likewise directed to designate single entry and exit points in every market to prevent mass entry.

Sinks, clean water, and alcohol for handwashing must also be made available and placed near the market entrances and exits.

“Handwashing areas should be accessible to the public, even inside our markets. We ultimately want to stop this virus from spreading,” said Retired Police Colonel Procorpio Lipana, the City’s Market Development and Administration Department (MDAD) Head for Operations.

All vendors are also required to wear face masks and gloves.

Market-goers are likewise asked to wear face masks at all times and to present their quarantine passes.

“Maglalagay din tayo ng CCTV monitors lalo na sa mga malalaking palengke para mabantayan at masiguro natin ang kanilang kaayusan,” Kimpo said.

The city government said that all markets in Quezon City will be open for business from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

It also directed barangays to coordinate with nearby markets to assign a specific day or time of the week where their constituents can buy essential goods from the said markets.

To prevent overcrowding in pubic markets, the city government said it will continue to provide alternative sources of goods such as the deployment of Fresh Market on wheels to different barangays to sell fresh produce as initiated by small business and cooperatives in the city.

Similarly, the Kadiwa Mobile Markets in partnership with the Department of Agriculture will also make regular rounds bringing fruits, vegetables, and other goods straight to homes and communities.

The city government also said it will ask all supermarkets and groceries to extend operating hours from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. daily to accommodate more shoppers for the purpose of lessening crowds in local markets.

Mayor Joy Belmonte, meanwhile, stressed that private market owners and their stall owners are responsible for maintaining the volume of market-goers inside a market at any given time to ensure that proper social distancing is observed.

“We understand that our residents still need to go out and buy their essentials such as food. That’s why we make sure to keep them safe by enforcing the protocols of social distancing and the wearing of facemasks,” she said.

PUV drivers, establishment workers and vendors in Manila to get free swab testing

Robie de Guzman   •   September 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers, market vendors and employees of various establishments in the Philippine capital will be provided with free RT-PCR tests, the Manila City government said Wednesday.

In a statement, the city’s public information office said Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso issued the order which will cover employees of malls, hotels, restaurants and supermarkets, and vendors in public markets as well as drivers of e-trikes, pedicabs, tricycles, jeepneys and buses operating in the city.

Under Domagoso’s Executive Order No. 39, the Manila Health Department was tasked to provide free swab tests to said workers.

The order follows the launch of Sta. Ana Hospital’s second molecular laboratory, which has the capacity to process around 1,000 tests daily. The additional laboratory will raise the hospital’s test processing capacity to 30,000 a month.

“The real threat of COVID-19 will continue to persist in our community, thereby sending fear to every person of getting infected with it. This fear will affect not only the individual preferences and behavior or every person, but also the economic growth (of the city),” Domagoso said.

“In order to allay the fear of getting infected with COVID-19, there is a need to assure the public that employees of these frequently visited establishments are COVID-19 free and thus spur economic activities,” he added.

Mayor Isko also directed the Manila Bureau of Permits and Licensing Office, the Department of Tourism, Culture and Arts of Manila, and the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau to “require establishments under their jurisdiction to require filling up mandatory health declaration forms for contact tracing purposes.”

Quezon City mayor cancels city hall parties, to donate funds

Robie de Guzman   •   September 29, 2020

Parties for all offices under the Quezon City government during the holidays will no longer be held this year amid the continuing novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said Tuesday.

A statement released on Tuesday said Belmonte has issued a memorandum directing all offices under the city hall to cancel parties scheduled in December and instead ordered them to donate the funds to underprivileged groups.

“The money that would have been spent on office Christmas parties would do more good as donations to the underprivileged during this extraordinarily difficult time in our nation’s history,” Belmonte said in a statement.

The local chief executive stressed that “it would be inappropriate for offices of the city government to hold customary Christmas parties while many of its citizens are experiencing hardships due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.”

Instead of holding parties, she urged city hall employees to adopt an underprivileged sector— such as the urban poor, displaced workers, jeepney drivers, street vendors, indigent children, and poor senior citizens— and to modestly celebrate the season in their homes.

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Batanes records first COVID-19 case

Robie de Guzman   •   September 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The province of Batanes on Tuesday said it has recorded its first case of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) since the start of the pandemic early this year.

According to Batanes Governor Marilou Cayco, the province reported its first COVID-19 case after a 29-year old resident who returned on Sept. 22 tested positive for the virus.

He has a travel history in Santa Rosa, Laguna. He returned to the province on board a Philippine Air Force plane with 18 others.

Cayco said the patient is asymptomatic and currently under isolation and monitoring of the provincial COVID-19 task force.

She added that all 18 individuals who had close contact with the patient have been subjected to swab test and are now strictly being monitored.

Batanes is currently under a modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) but the local government will recommend to place the province under a two-week GCQ to curb the spread of coronavirus disease.

Cayco said outpost checkpoints will also be set up in all municipalities to monitor and limit the movement of people.

Airport operations and commercial flights to and from the province will also be suspended.

“Medivac lang ang pwedeng pumunta dito in some emergency cases. Pero yung commercial flights pina-stop muna namin,” she said.

The local government reminds residents to follow health protocols such as the wearing of face masks and face shields and observe physical distancing. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dan Gersalia)

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