TNVS gears up as operations resume on June 1

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 30, 2020   •   402

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)

MGCQ not yet possible in NCR – Malacañang

Marje Pelayo   •   July 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Community quarantine measures may not be relaxed yet in the National Capital Region (NCR), according to National Task Force against COVID-19 Chief Implementer Sec. Carlito Galvez.

Galvez said areas with high cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are likely to remain under general community quarantine (GCQ) if the situation will not improve.

He noted the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in the NCR and the region’s hospital occupancy has already reached 70% in the past five days.

On July 15, the existing community quarantine measures across the country will lapse and President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to announce the government’s decision as to which quarantine restriction should the NCR be placed beginning July 16.

However, Malacañang said the numbers cannot yet justify Metro Manila’s shift from GCQ to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ). 

“Datos po ang tinitingnan natin. Kung tayo po ay magluluwag, siguro po at this point, the data does not indicate na pwedeng magluwag at least sa Metro Manila, para lang po to manage expectations [We are looking into data. If we are to ease (restrictions) at this point, the data does not indicate that we can ease at least in Metro Manila, just to manage expectations],” explained Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

Galvez also stressed that even Metro Manila mayors recommended retaining the GCQ in their respective areas or implementing hybrid status which means opening all businesses while observing safety precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Galvez noted, however, that there are other areas where stricter quarantine restrictions will be imposed starting July 16. 

Mayroon pong nag-escalate, at mga area na ito ay nakita nating nagkaroon ng new cases at spikes [There are areas that escalated. And these areas are where new cases and spikes were reported],” Galvez concluded. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Metro Manila may revert to ECQ if COVID-19 situation worsens — Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   July 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Metro Manila may return to stricter enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) if the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation worsens in the capital region.

In a televised press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the government may possibly reimpose ECQ on Metro Manila if hospitals in the region hit maximum capacity due to surge in COVID-19 cases.

“Pag lumala talaga, at mawalan tayo ng critical care capacity o di kaya ay case doubling rate ay bumalik sa dati na napakabilis, wala po tayong alternatibo,” he said.

“Yun nga po ang pinapakiusap sa ating kababayan, pag tayo bumalik sa mas estriktong quarantine, baka wala na po tayong hanapbuhay na pwedeng gawin,” he added.

Roque issued the statement after the country recorded a record-high 2,434 additional cases on Sunday, bringing the total cases to 44,254. Most of these infections were reported in Metro Manila.

Metro Manila is currently under general community quarantine where public transport and some business sectors have been allowed to resume operations at a limited capacity.

It was previously placed under ECQ for more than two months.

The Department of Health earlier said that the spike in infections was due to increased physical contact of the public following the easing of quarantine restrictions.

But Roque said the government had no choice but to loosen the quarantine measures in order to revitalize the economy.

“Wala naman tayong alternatibo kundi magbukas ng ekonomiya… Kung di pa po natin mabubuksan, mamya buhay nga tayo, mamatay naman tayo dahil wala tayong hanapbuhay,” he said.

The Palace official, meanwhile, belied reports that hospitals in Metro Manila have reached full capacity amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Roque said that as of July 5, Metro Manila’s critical care utilization is still at 63 percent or moderate risk level.

He also clarified that many hospitals have yet to breach the 30 percent hospital bed capacity for coronavirus patients.

“Nililinaw po namin na yung mga kumakalat na fake news na ubos na raw po ang hospital beds sa ating mga ospital, di po yan totoo,” he said.

Roque also revealed that Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega has been designated to head the Hospital One Incident Command which will determine the critical care utilization and hospital care capacity rate. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Religious gatherings up to 10% of venue capacity to be allowed in GCQ areas after July 10 – IATF

Robie de Guzman   •   July 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Friday announced that religious gatherings involving attendees of up to 10% of the venue capacity will soon be allowed in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ).

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said this is based on the latest resolution approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases following calls for the partial reopening of places of worship.

Roque said the new policy will take effect next Friday, July 10.

“Magkakaroon muna po tayo ng dry run na 10% itong darating na linggo, pero yung 10% po na allowed na ang lahat ay magsisimula po ng July 10,” he said in a televised press briefing.

The Palace official stressed that public health standards such as physical distancing, wearing of face mask, disinfection and hand hygiene, should be strictly followed.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier announced that the following areas will be under GCQ from July 1 to July 15:

  • National Capital Region
  • Cavite
  • Benguet
  • Rizal
  • Lapu-Lapu City
  • Mandaue City
  • Talisay City
  • Towns of Minglanilla and Consolacion in Cebu Province
  • Leyte
  • Ormoc
  • Southern Leyte

Roque also announced that operation of travel agencies in GCQ areas will also be allowed but only limited to a skeleton workforce.

The Department of Trade and Industry will also release a set of guidelines on additional services that will be allowed in salons and barbershops.

The latest IATF resolution also states that practice and conditioning sessions for professional basketball and football teams will also be permitted.

Roque said the move comes after a joint administrative order was signed between the Philippine Sports Commission, Games and Amusements Board, and the Department of Health to allow limited physical activities amid the community quarantine. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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