Sotto backs shift of NCR to modified ECQ, says rushing back to ‘old normal’ will be reckless

Robie de Guzman   •   May 12, 2020   •   372

MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Tuesday welcomed the decision of the government to place high-risk areas under modified enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.

In a statement, Sotto expressed his belief that the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to shift some areas into modified ECQ was based on recommendations made by experts who have been on top of the public health crisis.

“I am confident that the recommendations given to him were the result of intelligent discussions that were based on solid data provided by authorities on the ground,” he said.

While he acknowledged that many people, especially in the National Capital Region (NCR), are yearning to return to their jobs and start earning income again, Sotto said it would best “if we all proceed on the side of caution and not throw away the gains of our sacrifices for almost two months.”

“I understand their concerns about losing their work and being unable to provide for the basic needs of their families,” he said.

“Rushing back to the ‘old’ normal, or even just a semblance of it, will be reckless. It will expose majority of our people to the continuing threat of the infectious novel coronavirus and open the gates for a second wave, which could be more vicious and difficult to handle,” he added.

Earlier in the day, the government announced that areas with high-risk for COVID-19 will be placed under modified ECQ starting May 16 until May 31.

These areas include Metro Manila, Laguna and Cebu City.

The entire island of Luzon had been placed under ECQ from March 17 to April 30. Some areas, including Metro Manila, were then placed under an extended community quarantine until May 15.

Under a modified ECQ, 50% of the workforce and operations of selected manufacturing and processing plants will be allowed to resume. Transportation will remain limited for essential goods and services.

Sotto said the downgrade of many areas to a general community quarantine will be a challenge for everyone to be more responsible individuals, and to care for the welfare of the public.

“Ngayon natin makikita ang disiplina at responsibilidad ng bawat isa sa atin,” he said.

“Walang sinuman sa atin ang gustong bumalik ulit sa ECQ. Nakasalalay sa ating lahat ang success o failure ng ating laban kontra COVID-19,” he added.

As of May 11, the Philippines has recorded 11,086 confirmed cases with 1,999 recovered patients and 726 deaths.

Most of these cases were reported in Metro Manila.

GrabCar services to be suspended until MECQ is lifted, Grab says

Robie de Guzman   •   August 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Ride-hailing service firm, Grab Philippines, on Monday announced the suspension of its GrabCar services following the reimposition of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

In a statement posted on its Facebook page, Grab Philippines said its GrabCar services will be temporarily unavailable until the MECQ has been lifted.

“We’re temporarily suspending our GrabCar operations in all serviced areas under MECQ,” it said.

“Shutdown will commence at 10 pm tonight, August 3, 2020, until the MECQ is lifted,” it added.

Grab Philippines made the announcement after President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday placed Metro Manila, Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite and Rizal under MECQ starting from August 4 to 18 amid the surge in novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

The move follows the appeal of medical workers to place Metro Manila under stricter quarantine classification for two weeks to give them a breathing space and to rethink the strategies in dealing with the public health crisis.

Grab Philippines, however, assured that other services including GrabExpress, GrabFood, and GrabMart will remain operational “to serve and deliver your essentials during MECQ.”

GrabPay will also continue to provide cashless payments and minimize contact, it added.

“We continue to be one with our communities when it comes to battling the spread of COVID-19,” it said.

Motorcycle backriding, bawal na uli sa NCR at kalapit na lugar simula bukas

Robie de Guzman   •   August 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Nagpaalala ang Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) sa motorcycle riders na bawal na uli simula sa Martes ang pag-aangkas ng pasahero.

Ito ay kasunod ng muling paglalagay sa Metro Manila at mga kalapit na lugar sa modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) bilang tugon sa kahilingan ng medical community.

Ipatutupad ang MECQ sa Metro Manila at mga kalapit na lugar simula hatinggabi ng August 4.

Ang paalala ay ginawa ng PNP-HPG sa unang araw ng implementasyon ng guidelines sa motorcycle pillion riding na kinabibilangan ng paggamit ng physical barrier sa pagitan ng rider at angkas nito.

Sa operasyon ngayong Lunes, ilang motorcycle riders ang nasita ng PNP-HPG dahil sa paglabag sa mga panuntunan.

Sa tala ng PNP-HPG, aabot sa 1,350 ang nahuling lumabag sa motorcycle backriding guidelines.

Katumbas ng naturang paglabag ang reckless driving na may multang P1,500 hanggang P2,000 sa unang paglabag, P3,000 sa ikalawang paglabag, at P5,000 hanggang P10,000 sa ikatlo at mga susunod pang paglabag.

Ayon sa PNP-HPG, simula sa Martes ay bawal na lumabas ng bahay ang mga taong walang passes o hindi kabilang sa authorized persons outside residence (APOR).

Ang motorcycle riders ay kailangan namang magdala ng kaukulang dokumento gaya ng identification card (ID) at certificate of employment na nagpapatunay na pinapayagan silang lumabas ng bahay sa gitna ng mas mahigpit na community quarantine classification. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

List of allowed and prohibited public transport under MECQ

Marje Pelayo   •   August 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) reminds the public that as certain areas in the country reverts back to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), limitations on public transportation will again be imposed.

For areas placed under the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ), public transportation is not allowed, and some transportation services will remain limited.

This applies to Metro Manila or the National Capital Region and Region 4A specifically Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal as approved by President Rodrigo Duterte and announced on Sunday (August 2).

READ: Duterte reverts NCR, nearby areas to MECQ beginning Tuesday, August 4

Only public shuttles for frontline workers or those who will return to work in allowed industries under the MECQ will be allowed. 

Meanwhile, all other public utility vehicles (PUV) like buses, jeepneys, taxis, transport network service vehicles (TNVS) will not be allowed.

Exemptions for tricycles, however, will be determined based on the guidelines set by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the local government units. 

Trail operations will remain suspended to include the services of the Philippine National Railways (PNR), LRT-1, LRT-2, and MRT-3.

In the private sector, only company shuttles are allowed with 50% passenger capacity and a special permit from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

Meanwhile, personal vehicles owned by persons or workers in permitted sectors are also allowed with only two person passenger capacity.

Other vehicles like bicycle, motorcycle, or e-scooter are allowed but only for authorized persons outside residence (APOR) with a maximum passenger capacity of one person.

Image may contain: text that says 'Public and Private Transport during the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) Public Rail(PNR,LRT-1,LRT-2MRT-3) Bus Jeepney Taxi X X X X TNVS Tricycle Exceptions subject Private inAllowedIndustries Company Shuttle Special Personal vehicle Capacity) Bicycle permitted sectors/activities persons 1person Motorcycle E-Scooter 1person 1person (subject lations) existing ALLOWED X NOT ALLOWED *Only Authorized Persons Outside Residence are permitted go and travel within @DOTrPH with limits. @DOTrPH'

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