Repatriation efforts exempted from PH travel ban – IATF

Robie de Guzman   •   June 4, 2021   •   451

MANILA, Philippines – The government’s Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) on Friday said that Filipinos being repatriated would be exempted from the country’s entry restrictions imposed on travelers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.

IATF and Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that in case of Philippine government-organized repatriation, a prior coordination should be conducted between the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) at least 48 hours prior to the departure of Filipinos from the country of origin.

The DFA and OWWA should also coordinate with the Department of Health-Bureau of Quarantine (DOH-BOQ), Department of Transportation and its One-Stop Shop, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines and the National Task Force against COVID-19 Task Group for the Management of returning Overseas Filipinos.

In the case of non-Philippine government repatriation, Roque said all Filipino repatriates from the countries with travel restrictions must present a negative RT-PCR test result taken within 48 hours prior to boarding the aircraft or vessel.

“The airline or the shipping line is responsible to check on this requirement. A copy of the negative RT-PCR test result of the repatriate shall be submitted to the BOQ upon arrival in the port of entry in the Philippines,” he said.

Roque also said that prior approval from the BOQ is needed for the entry of flight or vessel carrying Filipino repatriates prior to its movement from point of origin.

“In this connection, the concerned local manning agency (in the case of seafarers), the Philippine recruitment agency (for land-based workers), or the sponsoring Philippine government agency shall submit an exemption request to the DOH-BOQ, the approval of which is tantamount to IATF’s approval on the repatriation effort,” he said.

All repatriates from countries with travel restrictions in effect are required to undergo a strict 14-day facility-based quarantine from the date of arrival in the Philippines, with the date of arrival being the first day.

Meanwhile, the IATF allowed foreign nationals holding Special Resident Retiree’s Visa to enter the Philippines without the need of an entry exemption document, Roque said.

Ilang pasyalan sa Metro Manila bukas na sa publiko pero mga bata, bawal sa ilang parke

Robie de Guzman   •   October 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Bukas na sa publiko ang ilang pasyalan sa Metro Manila kasunod ng pagsasailalim sa rehiyon sa COVID-19 Alert Level 3.

Kabilang sa mga binuksang pasilidad ay ang Quezon Memorial Circle, kung saan pinapayagan ang pagpasok ng mga bata basta’t may kasamang magulang o adult guardian.

Maaari ring kumain sa parke at bukas ang playground para sa mga batang gustong maglaro.

May mga nag-iikot namang security personnel upang masegurong nasusunod ng mga bisita ang ipinatutupad na public health protocols.

Malawak ang Quezon Memorial Circle at maaari itong pagdarausan ng individual exercise.

Bukas ang lugar mula alas-5 ng umaga hanggang alas-8 ng gabi.

Sa Maynila naman, bukas rin ang Luneta at Paco Park mula alas-5 ng umaga para sa mga nais mamasyal at mag-ehersisyo sa liwasan.

Ngunit ayon sa National Parks Development Committee (NPDC), bawal pa rin ang pagpasok sa Rizal Park ng mga menor de edad kahit sila ay mag-e-ehersisyo.

“Sa ngayon po, dahil po sa IATF guidelines ay hindi po muna natin ina-allow ang mga bata sa parks and then, yung pagdating naman din po sa pagkain, hindi pa rin po nag-a-allow ng picnic po sa park,” ang paliwanag ni Florizza Buclatin, ang chief of staff ng NPDC.

Sa Intramuros, tumatanggap na rin ng bisita ang Baluarte de San Diego at Fort Santiago pero bawal pa rin ang mga menor de edad.

Bukas ang Fort Santiago mula alas-9 ng umaga hanggang alas-7 ng gabi habang ang Baluarte de San Diego naman ay bukas mula alas-9 ng umaga hanggang alas-6 ng gabi.

Bukas ang mga pasyalang ito, bakunado man o hindi kontra COVID-19.

Paalala ng mga otoridad sa mga bisita, kailangan pa ring nakasuot ng face mask, iwasan ang overcrowding at panatilihin ang physical distancing. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

Dominguez tells DOF, attached agencies to prepare back-to-office plans

Robie de Guzman   •   October 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines ­– Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has ordered the department and its attached agencies and state corporations to prepare their respective plans on transitioning work back to their respective offices.

In a statement, the DOF said Dominguez has emphasized that the back-to-office plans should strictly adhere to health and safety protocols being implemented against COVID-19.

The order comes after more than a year of shifting to work-from-home (WFH) arrangements because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it added.

Dominguez said that as more government employees get fully vaccinated, the DOF and its agencies such as the Bureaus of Customs (BOC), of Internal Revenue (BIR), of Local Government Finance (BLGF) and of the Treasury (BTr); Insurance Commission (IC), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and other attached organizations should gradually shift to working normally in their respective offices.

The transition plans, Dominguez said, should include testing protocols for employees and their immediate families, and seminars to educate them on how to return safely to full-time office work.

“I think that we should already have a plan for transitioning back into working normally. In other words, back-to-office work,” Dominguez said during a recent executive committee (Execom) meeting.

“I’d like everybody to start working on this plan already assuming that we’re going to have to live with this virus,” he added.

The Interagency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has yet to allow the full transition to back-to-office arrangements with the National Capital Region (NCR) now under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) with Alert Level 3 status.

The DOF said that 76.6 percent of its employees have been fully vaccinated, as of October 8.

Australia donates more oxygen concentrators to PH for COVID-19 patients

Robie de Guzman   •   October 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has received another batch of oxygen concentrators from the Australian government as part of its continuing support to the country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 said.

In a statement, the NTF said the 100 oxygen concentrators arrived in Manila on Thursday.

The first batch of oxygen concentrators were delivered last August 28.

“Australia is increasing its commitment to the Philippines in terms of COVID-19 support, and we’re increasing our commitment by further [to] P433 million to make a grand total of P1.8 billion that Australia is donating to the Philippines,” Australian Ambassador Steven Robinson said during a press conference following the turn-over.

The NTF said the first batch of the medical equipment was distributed to 27 hospitals across the country.

According to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, the donation is vital to the country’s clinical management of the country’s severe and critical COVID cases.

“This will go a long way in improving the quality of care that we provide our patients in the several hospitals that have been benefited by these pieces of equipment,” Duque added.

NTF chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. thanked Australia for its compassion and generosity to the Filipino people.

“This life-saving oxygen concentrator will go a long way and a lot of people will be saved, thousands of them because of these concentrators,” Galvez said.

Aside from its donation of medical equipment and contribution to the COVAX facility, Australia, in partnership with UNICEF, will also provide over 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines.

The said vaccine donations are expected to arrive in the country by the fourth quarter of this year.

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