Voter registration in NCR Plus, other MECQ areas remain suspended — Comelec

Robie de Guzman   •   May 3, 2021   •   213

MANILA, Philippines — The voter registration and voter’s certification remain suspended in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus and other areas under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), the Commission on Elections (Comelec) announced.

In an advisory on Sunday, Comelec said the voter registration and the issuance of voter’s certification in the NCR Plus remain suspended from May 1 to 14.

The National Capital Region and nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna – collectively called NCR Plus – are under extended MECQ until May 14.

The areas of Santiago City in Isabela, Abra, and Quirino were placed under MECQ until May 31.

Comelec said voter registration and the issuance of voter’s certification will also be suspended in the same period.

“For the duration of the MECQ in NCR Plus and other areas, the Comelec Office for Overseas Voting (OFOV) in Intramuros, Manila will be attending exclusively to voter registration applicants with urgent travel needs,” the poll body said.

The poll body further said that voter registration and issuance of voter’s certification in the rest of the country under general community quarantine or modified GCQ will be open from Mondays to Thursdays.

COMELEC said OFOV may be reached via its official social media account, email address, and contact numbers +639050341558 or +639518759882.

Comelec to resume voter registration in NCR Plus on May 17

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will resume voter registration in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus on May 17.

In a Tweet on Friday (May 14), Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez announced that the schedule for the registration will be from Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Quarantine classification in NCR Plus which includes Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, and Bulacan, has eased to general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions from modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

For those with appointments, applicants can contact the Comelec office they will register in or check the agency’s official Facebook page.

The voter registration was temporarily suspended after the NCR Plus was put under MECQ. This is to prevent the further spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) after the surge of cases. -AAC

IATF allows TESDA to hold in-person assessments for household service workers in MECQ areas

Robie de Guzman   •   May 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The government’s task force for COVID-19 response has allowed the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to conduct face-to-face assessments for household service workers in areas under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), Malacañang said Friday.

However, the conduct of the activity is subject to conditions, according to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

Roque said in-person assessments shall be held only in TESDA Training Institutions and will remain prohibited in private assessment centers.

The activity will also be limited to household service workers who are ready for deployment and have already secured contracts and visas.

“Applicants must further abide by TESDA guidelines relative to the conduct of in-person assessments,” Roque said.

The Palace official likewise announced that the IATF has also allowed the resumption of Career Executive Service Written Examinations and Assessment Centers by the Career Executive Service Board, subject to health and safety protocols and the strict observance of the minimum public health standards.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) approved this policy in a meeting on Thursday, May 13.

Duterte places NCR Plus under GCQ with heightened restrictions starting May 15

Maris Federez   •   May 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Thursday night the new quarantine restrictions to cover Metro Manila and neighboring provinces beginning May 15.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the President has approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to place the National Capital Region (NCR), Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal – collectively known as the NCR Plus area – under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions from May 15 to 31, 2021.

Other areas placed under the GCQ with heightened restriction status are the provinces under the Cordillera Administrative Region, such as Apayao, Baguio City, Benguet, Kalinga, Mountain Province and Abra; Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya in Region 2; Batangas and Quezon in Region 4-A; Puerto Princesa in Region 4-B; Iligan City in Region 10; Davao City in Region 11; and Lanao del Sur in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

On the other hand, the City of Santiago and Quirino Province in Region 2; Ifugao in the Cordillera Administrative Region; and Zamboanga City in Region 9 are placed under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ).

Meanwhile, all other areas are placed under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) until the month’s end.

Under the GCQ with heightened restrictions, only essential travel into and out of the NCR Plus shall be allowed.

“Public transportation shall remain operational at such capacities and protocols in accordance with the Department of Transportation guidelines while the use of active transportation shall be promoted,” the statement said.

Moreover, indoor dine-in services in the NCR Plus shall be at 20% venue or seating capacity, while outdoor or al fresco dining shall be at 50% venue or seating capacity.

Outdoor tourist attractions in the NCR Plus, on the other hand, maybe opened at 30% with strict adherence to minimum public health standards.

“Further allowed in the NCR Plus are specialized markets of the Department of Tourism (DOT) following the minimum public health standards and implementation of protocols and restrictions as set by the DOT,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, religious gatherings and gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment, and funerals for those who died of causes other than COVID-19 in the NCR Plus shall be allowed up to 10% of the venue capacity.

In his pre-taped Talk to the Nation aired on Thursday, President Duterte particularly mentioned about foregoing congregations especially this month of town fiestas.

“Ang hinihingi ko is that you only not tone down but forego kasi may batas. Forego to congregate, to crowd, and to hold [fiestas]. Walang problema, alam ng Dios na love natin Siya. But ang problema is the necessary consequence of it all,” the President said.

“I will not allow violations of the guidelines given by the task force. And I will hold the local government down to the barangay level, and therefore, it could only be the barangay captains. I will hold you responsible for any violations, sa mga batas na hindi natutupad. Batas ito. You have to enforce it because if you want this country to recover from the onslaught of COVID-19, you have to be mindful of what is going on and how to prevent it,” the President further said.

Also continued to be allowed in areas under the GCQ with heightened restrictions are non-contact sports in outdoor contact sports, games, scrimmages held outdoors; and personal care services that allow for services not requiring mask removal, such as salons, parlors, beauty clinics, etc at 30% capacity.

Individuals, 18-65 years of age, are allowed to go out of their homes in GCQ areas with heightened restrictions.

“Meanwhile, entertainment venues, such as bars, concert halls, theaters, etc; recreational venues, such as internet cafes, billiards halls, arcades, etc; amusement parks, fairs, playgrounds, kiddie rides; indoor sports courts and venues and indoor tourist attractions; venues for meetings, conferences, exhibitions shall not be allowed in GCQ areas with heightened restrictions,” Roque’s statement read.

Interzonal travel from NCR Plus areas, except those conducted by Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APOR), shall remain prohibited in the GCQ areas with heightened restrictions, the statement further read.

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