DILG calls on local government units to take part in SIM card registration information campaign

Anyone based here in the Philippines using mobile devices that each carry SIM cards are required to have the said cards registered starting December 27, 2022 in accordance to Republic Act 11934 or the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Registration Act. To ensure that as many people get informed about this, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) called on local government units (LGUs) nationwide to participate in the information drive, according to a Philippine News Agency (PNA) report.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the PNA report. Some parts in boldface…

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) called on local government units (LGUs) to help the national government in its information campaign on the implementation of Republic Act 11934 or the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Registration Act, which takes effect on Dec. 27.

RA 11934, the first law signed by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., aims to regulate the registration and use of SIMs by mandating all end-users to register their SIMs with their respective telecommunications networks before their activation.

In a statement on Monday, DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. said an intensive information drive must be carried out at the grassroots level and LGUs should step up in educating the public on the requirements and importance of the law.

“As we seek to ensure public safety even in the online space, I encourage LGUs to exert all efforts to promote responsible use of SIM cards, educate their stakeholders on the benefits of mandatory SIM card registration and guide them through the whole registration process,” Abalos said.

He said the SIM Registration Act will aid the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement authorities in curbing rising electronic communication-aided criminal activities in the Philippines such as mobile phishing, spam text messages, online scams, bank frauds and identity theft,” Abalos said.

Abalos said the implementation of the law will not only prompt accountability from all sides — the mobile users, the telcos, the government and authorities — but will also help the PNP to quickly locate offenders of crimes committed in anonymity through the use of electronic devices.

Section 4 of the law’s implementing rules and regulations (IRR) released by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) provides that DILG, along with other government agencies such as DICT, NTC, DepEd, and telecom companies, shall “facilitate all SIM registrations in remote areas with limited telecommunication or internet access.”

“Together with the LGUs, DILG will cooperate with DICT and the NCT to fast-track the establishment of registration facilities in geographically-isolated areas, which should be done within 60 days after December 27,” Abalos said.

The DILG chief sought the assistance of local chief executives (LCEs) and barangay captains in remote areas in processing needed documents and other requirements to set up the registration centers.

“We know not everyone has access to the internet and other means of communication so let us reach out to them and inform them of this new law,” he said.

To register, all existing SIM subscribers must submit an accomplished form through a database platform or website provided by the telco company within 180 days. The DICT can extend the registration period for another 120 days. If a subscriber fails to register, SIM cards will be deactivated.

Subscribers must provide the following: full name, birthday, sex, address, mobile SIM number and serial number and valid identification cards (for individuals); business name, business address and full name of authorized signatory (for businesses and other juridical entities); full name, nationality, birthday, passport, proof of Philippine address, return ticket to own country (for foreigners and tourists).

Abalos also urged parents and guardians to be responsible and register the SIM used by their minor children or relatives under their name to protect them from ill-intentioned individuals. They will be asked to present an ID and consent form.

“To our parents and guardians, let us help each other in this endeavor to safeguard minors. Magtulungan po tayo upang masiguro na hindi sila mabibiktima ng mga panloloko (Let’s work together to protect them from fraud) online,” he said.

Likewise, Abalos asked the public to support the mandatory SIM card registration as this will be beneficial in the long run.

“I encourage every Filipino to register their SIM cards and be one with the government in fighting text and online scams which are becoming more prevalent in recent years,” he added.

Abalos warned people who will attempt to provide false or fictitious information and documents to register a SIM and those who will try to spoof a registered SIM to defraud or cause harm.

The above report ended stating that registering with false or fictitious information or the use of fake identities constitute a penalty of six months to two years imprisonment, and a fan of P100,000 to P300,000.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction to this latest development from the national government? Are you worried that SIM card registration will be tough and inconvenient to do given the nationwide scope of the processing?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

Muntinlupa City a Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) awardee this year

The progressive City of Muntinlupa has been named by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) as a Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) awardee this year and Mayor Ruffy Biazon received the award on behalf of the city during the awarding ceremony, according to a Manila Bulletin news report.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Manila Bulletin news report. Some parts in boldface…

Muntinlupa Mayor Ruffy Biazon received the Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) award given by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Biazon and Vice Mayor Artemio Simundac attended the SGLG awarding ceremony held on Dec. 14 that was led by DILG Sec. Benjamin Abalos Jr. and Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin.

The Seal of Good Local Governance is an “award, incentive, honor, and recognition-based program [that] aims to boost LGUs’ drive to constantly progress and/or sustain their notable performance across various governance areas.”

Congratulations, Muntinlupa City! We are an SGLG (Seal of Good Local Governance) Awardee this 2022! Thank you to all employees of the city government including Cong. Jimmy Fresnedi for his excellent leadership when he was the mayor. #MuntinlupaNakakaproud,” said Biazon.

According to the DILG, out of the 1,715 local government units that were assessed, 18 provinces, 60 cities, and 274 municipalities in the country passed the 2022 SGLG criteria.

Muntinlupa is one of the five LGUs in the National Capital Region (NCR) which passed the SGLG assessment. The other awardees are the cities of Caloocan, Mandaluyong, Navotas, and Quezon.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a Muntinlupa City resident, what is your reaction to this development? Are you delighted to see the city formally declared an awardee of the prestigious SGLG award under the DILG?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: President Marcos declares it is time to return to pre-pandemic life

Life in the Philippines continues to move back to normal even though new COVID-19 cases are being recorded in the thousands daily in recent times. Still, it is notable that many millions of Filipinos have gotten fully vaccinated or boosted for COVID-19 (note: around 3.5 million received their 1st booster shots recently) and even though the past summer saw lots of election campaign events that had many, many political supporters gathered in high numbers, no new outbreak of COVID-19 happened. There is also the growing confidence about organizing events that attract customers, sports participants and spectators and more.

In relation to what I stated above, it is significant that President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., declared to the people it is time to return to pre-pandemic life which the Philippine News Agency (PNA) reported. Take note that under Marcos, the use of face masks outdoors is now optional.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the PNA news article. Some parts in boldface…

President Ferdinand R. Marcos on Sunday enjoined Filipinos to get back to their normal lives before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, stressing that it is crucial to show the world that the Philippines is slowly getting back on its feet.

It is a good thing to remind people that the pandemic may have been difficult, the pandemic really put us through the wringer. But we are back,” Marcos said in a speech in Bacolod City during a luncheon just before he graced the culminating activity of the 43rd MassKara Festival.

The pandemic is fading away. We are learning to manage it and now it is time for us to all go back to work, to all go back to our normal lives, to remind ourselves of all the opportunities that were before us before the pandemic…It is time for us to go back to all of those endeavors that we were undertaking before Covid hit,” he added.

Marcos said the MassKara Festival signaled not just the opening of Bacolod City to tourists, but also the entire country.

“It is time for us to go back and exercise once again, show once again the Filipino resilience, the Filipino resourcefulness, the Filipino industry, the Filipino talent, ipakita naman natin sa buong mundo dahil nagbubukas ang mundo, dahil nagbubukas ang Pilipinas, ito ngayon ang MassKara Festival ay isang pagdiriwang hindi lamang sa pagbubukas ng Bacolod kung hindi sa buong Pilipinas (let us show the world because the Philippines is now open, this is the MassKara festival which is a celebration of the opening of Bacolod but of the entire Philippines),” he said.

Despite the festival being borne out of “a very sad period in the history of Bacolod”, the President said it also symbolizes Filipinos’ “reemergence from a crisis.”

“..That is what we celebrate today and that is what we see that people are feeling and that is the feeling that we want to continue to encourage within our people because that is what’s going to lead us to success,” he said.

Marcos also congratulated Bacolod City Mayor Albee Benitez and event organizers for a successful holding of the festival.

Founded in October 1980 by the late Bacolod City Mayor Jose “Digoy” Montalvo Jr., the MassKara Festival was first held following two major tragedies that befell Negrenses– the collapse of sugar prices in the international market and the sinking of the Negros Navigation ship M/V Don Juan.

During the sugar crisis, artists thought of promoting mask-making as an alternative source of income for the locals.

Montalvo likewise suggested holding a mask festival to lift the spirits of the locals after the maritime accident that killed his wife, two daughters, and hundreds of Bacolod residents.

MassKara is derived from the words “mass” meaning “many” and “kara” meaning “faces,” thus calling it the Festival of Many Faces.

This year’s festival will be the first face-to-face event after two years of being suspended due to the pandemic.

The MassKara festival’s revival is significant not only with the people of Bacolod City and the province of Negros Occidental but for the nation as well. Here in the Alabang area of Muntinlupa City, the Megarahe Sale and the COPIX both attracted lots of people who searched and bought items. Still in Alabang, it was recently announced by Zonta Club of Alabang that they will be reviving their popular Christmas Carnivale Bazaar on November 25, 2022 at the Filinvest Tent. I myself attended that bazaar back in 2017 and 2018 at the said venue and it is really encouraging that it will be revived next month. These are just a few of the many signs that the Philippines is recovering from the pandemic and can move forward and progress more. Pre-pandemic economic strength will be regained eventually.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction to this recent development? Do you feel encouraged by the statement of President Marcos that the pandemic is fading away and that the country can more forward more?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

Alleged gunman behind October 3 Las Piñas City killing of radio broadcaster Lapid surrenders to local authorities

Finally! The alleged gunman behind the October 3 killing of radio broadcaster Percy Lapid (note: for references click here and here) turned himself in to the local authorities and was presented to the media with the presence of Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) secretary Benhur Abalos and others, according to a news article by the Philippine News Agency (PNA). Apart from that, there were some very disturbing details revealed and the one who surrendered was part of a team that worked in the October 3 killing.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the PNA’s article. Some parts in boldface…

The alleged gunman in the killing of veteran radio host Percival Mabasa, more popularly known as Percy Lapid, has surrendered to authorities, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. said on Tuesday.

“Ngayong umagang ‘to, gusto ko lang i-kumpirma na nasa kustodiya na ng PNP (Philippine National Police) itong suspek na ang pangalan ay Joel Estorial. Siya ay of course taga-Quezon City (This morning, I would like to confirm that the PNP has custody of the suspect identified as Joel Estorial, He is of course a resident of Quezon City),” Abalos told reporters in a press conference at the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters in Camp Crame.

Abalos said Estorial, 38, a resident of Quezon City, turned himself in to the police on Monday “out of fear for his personal safety” after his photo was released last week and a PHP6.5-million bounty was placed on his head.

Estorial revealed that there are six of them involved in the murder of Lapid and they were promised a sum of PHP550,000.

He also surrendered the firearm he used to gun down Lapid at about 8:30 p.m. on October 3 at the gate of BF Resort along Aria Street, Barangay Talon 2, Las Piñas City.

“Ang tanong ng publiko, totoo kayang sumuko yan or he’s just a fall guy? Hindi po, siya talaga. Hindi niya lang inamin because the gun itself matched the slug, nag-match ang ballistics. ‘Yung mga damit (na suot niya nung nakuhanan siya ng CCTV) na pinunit punit niya nandoon pa rin (he presented to the police) (The public may be asking, did he really surrender or he’s just a fall guy? No, it’s really him, he didn’t just admit it because the gun itself matched the slug, the ballistics matched. The clothes (that he was wearing when he was caught on CCTV) that he tore apart are still there (he presented to the police),” said Abalos.

Abalos said Estorial issued an extrajudicial confession where he also named his cohorts identified as brothers Edmon and Israel Dimaculangan and a certain Orly, who are all still at large.

Meanwhile, the two other suspects who were not identified are “from the New Bilibid Prison”.

Abalos said police are still identifying the mastermind of the crime as well as the motive.

Wearing a bulletproof helmet and vest, Estorial faced the members of the media and apologized to the family of the victim.

“Sana po mapatawad ako nila. Hindi ko naman kagustuhan yun. Nadala lang ako (I hope they can forgive me. I had no intention. I was just carried away),” he said.

Estorial said the order to kill Lapid came from someone inside the New Bilibid Prison.

Estorial narrated that he was with “Orly” a resident of Batangas, during the incident while the Dimaculangan brothers, on the other hand, were on another motorcycle.

“Kasi ‘yung ano usapan, kung sino ang matapat doon kay Percy po, siya ang babaril eh nagkataon natapat sa akin, sabi naman po kapag hindi ko binaril, ako ang papatayin kaya binaril ko na po si Percy (What was discussed was whoever is nearest to Percy, they will shoot him. It just so happened that he was near our team, I said if I will not shoot him, they will kill me, so I shot Percy),” Estorial said.

When asked by Abalos as to who threatened him, Estorial said: “Si Orly (It’s Orly).”

Estorial said the PHP550,000 was split six ways, with him getting PHP140,000 deposited to his account.

For added insight, watch the GMA News videos below.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction to this development? Who do you think could be the mastermind behind the killing of the radio broadcaster? Do you believe the police will be able to figure out all the details and find the answers behind everything?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

P1.5 million cash reward for those who could provide information behind the October 3 killing of a radio broadcaster in Las Piñas City

Recently, there has been a wave of news and social media buzz over the sudden killing of a notable radio broadcaster that happened in the City of Las Piñas on October 3. In a more recent development, a person-of-interest was made known visually and the cash reward of P1.5 million was announced, according to a GMA Network news report.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the GMA Network news report. Some parts in boldface…

Police investigators already have a person of interest in the October 3 killing of radio broadcaster Percival Mabasa, or more popularly known as Percy Lapid, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said Friday.

At a press briefing, NCRPO chief Police Brigadier General Jonnel Estomo said the person of interest was captured by CCTV cameras from along Lapid’s routes moments before he was shot dead.

“The Special Investigation Task Force Percy Lapid, with their ongoing follow-up investigation, confirmed to have developed a person of interest in the case as a result of their collection of all available backtrack CCTV footage along the victim’s routes before the incident happened,” Estomo said.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos, who was also in the briefing, presented an enlarged printout of the person of interest, whose identity is still unknown.

Importanteng ma-identify natin ang taong ito [it is important to identify this person],” Abalos said.

Estomo also announced that the reward money being offered to fast-track the resolution of the case has been increased from P500,000 to P1.5 million.

Estomo also said the additional cash reward came from “friends of the victim and concerned citizens.”

“Our very own SILG said that we are offering this reward to anyone who can provide information that will lead to the speedy resolution of this case,” Estomo said, referring to Abalos, who offered the initial P500,000 reward from his own pocket.

Estomo said the police are guaranteeing the safety and security of the informant.

Abalos, meanwhile, expressed confidence that with the reward money and the person’s picture released to the public, the person of interest would be identified soon and that it would be better for him to just surrender.

“Marami nang nakakaalam sa iyo, marami nang magsusumbong. Siguro sumuko ka na. Napakaimportante na sumuko ka na sapagkat pag-isipan mo, ‘yung mga nag-utos sa ‘yo baka may masamang gawin sa ‘yo,” Abalos said, addressing the person on the picture.

(A lot of people already know you and they may reach out to us. So perhaps you should surrender. It’s important that you surrender before whoever ordered you to commit the crime do something bad to you.)

Lapid, host of online broadcast program “Percy Lapid Fire” at DWBL 1242 and columnist for Hataw, was shot dead by two men while on his way home in Barangay Talon Dos, Las Piñas City on the night of October 3.

Malacañang earlier said President Marcos is “concerned” over the killing of Lapid.

Meanwhile, the family of the slain broadcast journalist appealed to Marcos Jr. to lead the investigation into the killing.

Interviewed on Unang Balita, Roy Mabasa, Lapid’s brother, said the President leading the investigation may put a stop to the killing of journalists “once and for all.”

“Nais kong manawagan sa Pangulo na sana ay pangunahan itong imbestigasyon. Dahil bakit ba natin gusto na ang Pangulo ang nasa unahan nito? Para matigil na once and for all ang killings sa mga journalist,” he said.

(I want to appeal to the President to hopefully lead the investigation. Why? So that for once and for all the killing of journalists will stop.)

For added insight, watch the news videos below…

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a Las Piñas City resident, what is your reaction to this recent development? Did the recent killing make you feel uneasy? Are you willing to help the authorities identify and find the person-of-interest so that the case will be resolved?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. If you want to support my website, please consider making a donation. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/.

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

Over 100 foreign and local workers rescued from POGOs in Rizal and Pampanga

Thanks to the collective efforts of local law enforcers, more than one hundred foreign and local workers from two Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) establishments in the provinces of Pampanga and Rizal, according to GMA Network’s news reports. Human trafficking and physical abuses are notable elements in the reports.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the GMA news report about the Rizal rescue. Some parts in boldface…

Authorities rescued over 100 allegedly abused foreign and Filipino Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) workers in Cainta, Rizal, John Consulta reported on 24 Oras Weekend.

The Bureau of Immigration and National Bureau of Investigation conducted an operation on Saturday to rescue workers who were allegedly tortured and held against their will by fellow foreigners.

The victims claimed they were not being paid, while one of the workers alleged that he was kidnapped and forced to work for the POGO. Others were promised free board, lodging, and a high salary for working 22 hours a day.

But even if they were forced to work long hours without being paid, the workers were still allegedly physically punished if they were caught sleeping on the job. Wounds were seen on a worker’s back.

Suspect Lee Mengqiang, a Chinese national, denied harming the POGO workers.

Meanwhile, the NBI also discovered that the POGO’s permit had expired but continued to operate.

Now here is the related news video about the above news story. Watch the video and pay close attention…

About the POGO and rescue of workers in Pampanga, posted below is an excerpt from the GMA Network report. Some parts in boldface…

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Saturday said it shut down a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) establishment in Pampanga and rescued at least 43 foreign nationals from allegedly human trafficking.

Following a series of raids, DILG secretary Benhur Abalos and officials of the Philippine National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group permanently closed the Lucky 99 Outsourcing Inc. offices, located at Fil-Am Friendship Hi-Way in Angeles City, Pampanga.

Abalos said the raids resulted in the rescue of the foreign nationals who were brought to the establishment.

The DILG secretary said the police would continue to apprehend individuals involved in similar illegal activities as part of the intensified crackdown on POGOs involved in human trafficking.

“With the help of PAGCOR and the SEC, we will be able to identify who are the individuals behind this illegality,” he said in a statement.

Abalos said the DILG also sought assistance from the Bureau of Immigration to check the visas of the rescued foreign nationals.

“We will make sure that all victims will be accorded due process as the Immigration [Bureau] checks their documents and visas properly to avoid being victimized again,” he said.

The DILG Secretary also encouraged the public to report such illegal activities in their respective areas.

“We are nearing the end of the pandemic and the only way to put a stop to this is by working together,” he added.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about these new developments? Are you now concerned that POGOs operating in your city could be secretly committing crimes such as kidnapping, physical abuse and human trafficking? Do you think that the POGOs in your city are somehow adding to new incidents of kidnapping, prostitution, gun smuggling, torture and other criminal activities? Do you believe that the government should permanently shut down POGOs that are involved in criminal activities?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others as well as making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

COVID-19 Crisis: Cebu City Government sets voluntary face mask policy on trial period until December 2022

In recent times here in the Philippines, Cebu City has been getting a lot of attention with regards to the COVID-19 crisis we are all living with. This was because the City Government decided to loosen the face mask mandate within the city’s jurisdiction and the Department of Health (DOH) claimed that they were “never consulted” about it. Just yesterday, GMA Network reported that the City Government of Cebu announced that the voluntary face mask policy will be set on a trial period until the end of 2022. In case a COVID-19 surge, the said policy will be lifted automatically. Already, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has its attention on Cebu City.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the GMA Network news report. Some parts in boldface…

The Cebu City government on Monday announced that its voluntary face mask policy will be on trial period until December 2022, and will be automatically lifted should there be a surge in COVID-19 infections in the city.

In reading the Executive Order (EO) No. 6, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama’s spokesperson Karla Henry-Ammann said that the trial period of the EO 5 which lifted the mandatory face mask use in the city, was set from September 1 to December 31, 2022.

The same period is hereby referred to as the trial and observation period,” she added.

Further, Ammann said the EO will be automatically lifted and the wearing of face masks in the city will be mandatory anew if there will be a surge of COVID-19 cases in Cebu City, as verified by the government.

Rama signed the EO on Monday during the city government’s flag ceremony.

Department of Health (DOH) officer-in-charge (OIC) Maria Rosario Vergeire on Wednesday said they were not consulted regarding the lifting of the mandatory face mask policy in Cebu City.

Vergeire stressed there will be a higher risk of infections in an area if the safeguards against COVID-19 are not in place.

The above article ended by stating that Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said they respect the mandate of the local government units (LGUs) over their respective jurisdictions.

Meanwhile, the Manila Times published an article regarding Cebu City’s move on loosening the face mask policy and the need for health experts to update the face mask policy. Posted below is an excerpt. Some parts in boldface…

CEBU City’s attempt to relax the rules on the wearing of face masks draws attention to an attribute needed in policymaking. That is, the crafting and tweaking of policies should keep pace with how quickly situations change. We remain firm in the belief that science, or more specifically medical expertise, should take the lead in devising the policies concerning Covid-19. But people struggle to understand why they take so long to adjust to developments.

Perhaps officials in Cebu have grown impatient with the national government, more specifically the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases. Last week, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama issued an executive order making the wearing of face masks in open spaces optional. But he later delayed the implementation of the order after talking to Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos Jr. of the Department of the Interior and Local Government. Abalos promised the mayor that he would bring up the need to review the health protocols with the task force.

Mr. Abalos sounded inclined to allow Mayor Rama’s executive order. The secretary said in a statement: “In fact, I am going to even further suggest to make Cebu City the pilot implementer of this measure since the city has always been first in espousing non-masking policies outdoors for the ease and benefit of its people amid the pandemic.”

The point in delaying the new order in Cebu seems to be about “harmonizing existing laws and policies” regarding the lingering pandemic. The problem is that the situation is not uniform across the country. Also, the Philippines has opened up its borders to tourists and foreign travelers, including those who come from countries where wearing face masks are no longer required. And doing so has not caused a spike in new or imported Covid-19 cases.

Indeed, a review of health protocols seems overdue. Earlier in June, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn “Gwen” Garcia clashed with national health authorities when she issued an executive order that allowed people not to wear face masks in open areas, like beaches and mountain trails. Her decision seemed sensible then, and so does the similar order issued by Cebu City.

Perhaps, the national government should listen more to local officials. They should consider giving them more discretion in setting health guidelines for their respective areas of concern.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction this latest series of developments? Do you think Cebu City’s approach on loosening the face mask policy within their jurisdiction makes sense? Do you believe that the national authorities – including the DOH itself – should listen more to the local government and provincial government leaders on how to deal with COVID-19 and implement health protocols? Do you think that the remaining restrictions are outdated and don’t make sense anymore? Do you think Cebu City’s move on loosening the face mask policy will succeed and inspire other LGUs – especially in Metro Manila – to follow suit? Do you think that the anti-vaccine fanatics and other anti-authoritarian activists will make moves to ruin the authorities’ moves on dealing with COVID-19?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: All LGUs ordered to ramp up vaccination and booster drive as Omicron cases increase

Does your local government unit (LGU) seem to be working sluggishly with regards to the local vaccination and booster drive for COVID-19? The local authorities should improve their performance on immunizing the locals as the Department of the Local and Interior Government (DILG) headed by Secretary Benhur Abalos has officially ordered all LGUs nationwide to ramp up the vaccination and booster rollouts, according to a Manila Bulletin news report.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Manila Bulletin report. Some parts in boldface…

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin ‘Benhur’ Abalos Jr. directed on Saturday, July 30, all local government units (LGUs) to step-up their Covid-19 vaccination and booster inoculation efforts amid the rising number of 890 Omicron BA.5 subvariant infection in the country.

The DILG is one with PBBM (President Bongbong Marcos) as we altogether aim for improved booster inoculation, hence, we direct all LGUs to ramp up their vaccination drives and encourage the eligible segment of the population to take advantage of the protection the booster shots offer,” Abalos said.

He said LGUs are integral in communicating the importance of boosters to overcome vaccination hesitancy and increase the number of eligible citizens that are boosted.

“Inaasahan ko ang pakikiisa ng bawat LGU upang mas paigtingin ang pagpapa-booster sa kanilang mga lokalidad. Alam nila ang pulso ng kanilang nasasakupan, kaya mas maipararating nila ang ating mensahe na ito (Covid-19 vaccines and boosters) ay ligtas at isa sa pinakamabisa nating sandata laban sa Covid-19 (I expect the cooperation of the LGUs to enhance the booster campaign in their localities. They know the sentiments of their turfs that is why they can send the message that it is safe and one of the most effective weapons against Covid-19),’’ he added.

As of July 25, only 15.9 million have received their booster doses out of the 71.5 million who are already fully vaccinated.

Intensified vaccination efforts

Abalos, in the DILG Memorandum dated July 15, 2022, directed LGUs to ramp up their vaccination efforts and instructs them to urge and reach out to all their unvaccinated and booster-eligible constituents; address vaccine hesitancy, particularly in rural and far-flung areas; bridge the gap between vaccination services and communities to make it easier for the people to get inoculated; and, avoid vaccine wastage by ensuring that all available vaccines are administered in their respective areas.

Now is the best time to get vaccinated and boosted as we continue to move forward and prepare for the full conduct of face-to-face classes which is already near. Let us all do our part in achieving the protection population that can ultimately benefit the whole Filipino citizenry,” Abalos insisted.

The DILG secretary also urged LGUs to support the Department of Health’s (DOH) PinasLakas (Enhancement) campaign which was launched on July 26, 2022.

PinasLakas is the revitalized government Covid-19 vaccination and booster campaign that aims to achieve the government’s targets of vaccinating 90 percent of senior citizens and boosting 50 percent of the eligible population in the first 100 days of the administration.

It also highlights the unity between government agencies, LGUs, the health sector, the private sector and other key organizations towards Covid-19 population protection.

“Hinihikayat ko po ang lahat ng LGUs na makiisa sa PinasLakas upang mas lalong maprotektahan ang ating ating senior citizens at lumakas ang immunity ng eligible population (I am encouraging all the LGUs to support the PinasLakas to further protect our senior citizens and strengthen the immunity of the eligible population),’’ Abalos said.

Take note that in recent times, more patients have been declared by the Department of Health (DOH) eligible to get the 2nd booster shot. President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. already declared that no lockdown will be declared as his administration has a COVID-19 exit strategy is already being developed.

Let me end this by asking you readers: Has your LGU been doing a bad job organizing COVID-19 vaccination operations? Do you believe that the anti-vaccine fanatics fooled your local government officials with their misinformation and lies? Has your local government been issuing 2nd booster shots to the comorbid patients (18-49 years old) and adults aged 50-above? Do you believe that the anti-vaccine fanatics will organize another misinformation campaign drive now that they know the DILG ordered LGUs nationwide to ramp up vaccination and booster rollouts? Do you think that the anti-vaccine fanatics sold their souls to anarchists, terrorists and fascist figures?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. If you want to support my website, please consider making a donation. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/.

COVID-19 Crisis: Philippines pandemic exit strategy coming

It has been over two years since the entire Philippines first got setback economically and socially by the COVID-19 crisis. Until now, people, private organizations and businesses are still struggling to fully recover from the varied effects that come with government-imposed restrictions, limitations on business-related activities, and the public’s complacency towards COVID-19. It is bad enough that the Philippines now has a core of anti-vaccine fanatics who are misinforming and scaring people while offering no real solutions to the problems.

Speaking of solutions, a pandemic exit strategy is brewing high up in the government and it should be sent to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., soon, according to a recent report by the Manila Bulletin.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Manila Bulletin news report. Some parts in boldface…

A Cabinet member has committed that the proposed pandemic exit strategy crafted by a panel of medical experts will be endorsed to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Former presidential adviser and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion said that Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benhur Abalos will endorse the proposal which the government can adopt to help the country transition from pandemic to normalcy.

In a statement, Concepcion said “Abalos said he will endorse the presentation of the proposals to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.”

Abalos also said that he “will organize a meeting with the Department of Health (DOH) to initiate more vaccinations at the community level.”

Abalos also agreed on the importance of raising booster vaccination rates to 70 percent of the eligible population which is included in the pandemic exit proposal.

“Kailangan ng isa pa. Isa pa para sa mga pamilya, isa pa para sa komunidad (We need one more One more for our families, one more for our community),” Abalos said.

With this, Concepcion also renewed his call to push for one more massive effort for vaccination.

Complacency is really the problem. There is no sense of urgency because people don’t see what might happen if our wall of immunity starts to weaken,” he said.

Concepcion explained that re-infections are quite possible, and that cases of long Covid have grave consequences on productivity, and ultimately, the economy.

He echoed Abalos’ statement that “we need to convince people that they need boosters.”

The DILG Chief recently met with Concepcion and members of the Advisory Council of Experts (ACE), a group of medical doctors, scientists and academics comprising the country’s foremost authorities on public health, molecular biology, disaster resilience, data insight and analysis, and economics.

The group’s proposal outlined parameters to ease the country into normalcy and encourage economic activity without risking the public’s health. It has been met with approval from the private sector, including several industry groups and businessmen.

Abalos further expressed optimism as the proposal was an initiative of the private sector, and that it puts emphasis on the importance of achieving high booster vaccination rates.

As you can see in the above news excerpt, national government officials, private sector members and other stakeholders have been brainstorming and discussing ways with the exit strategy in mind to truly lift the nation further from the COVID-19 crisis. Former presidential adviser Joey Concepcion is absolutely right when he pointed to complacency which is an enduring problem on the part of the public when it comes to how they perceived COVID-19, vaccination and health. I am certain that a lot of people got fooled by the anti-vaccine fanatics who keep on spreading misinformation and fear.

On the aspect of vaccination, I do agree that a major renewal of COVID-19 vaccination and booster shot rollouts should happen soon. I’m talking about reopening the closed vaccination sites, deploying a lot of health workers with lots of supplies of vaccines prepared, and making sure that each vaccination hub is well organized (note: we don’t want a repeat of the very embarrassing Parañaque Pfizer vaccine launch of May 2021). In addition, the national authorities should come up with ways to make economic recovery more achievable for businesses and employees. On the topic of new infections caused by Omicron and its subvariants, our nation should serious consider acquiring more Sputnik vaccines as those have proven to be very effective against Omicron. Whatever the details they are discussing, the pandemic exit strategy for the Philippines something that everyone should watch out for.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about this new development? Do you think that the national authorities and other stakeholders will be able come up with a pandemic exit strategy that will work? Do you think that the anti-vaccine fanatics will ramp up their misinformation campaign and fearmongering now that they know a national pandemic exit strategy is being developed? Do you think President Marcos will spend sufficient time to review the pandemic exit strategy before issuing his response?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others as well as making a donation to support my publishing.. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: DTI calls for gradual shift to Alert Level 1

Are you tired of living with restrictions and government overreach these past two years as a result of the COVID-19 crisis? A lot of people are not just tired of it but also frustrated as many of them saw their loss of income, losing their jobs, the closure of their businesses as well as an enormous negative impact on their lives. To manage the people living under the pandemic all around the Philippines, an Alert Level system was established months ago as part of quarantine in relation to the number of new and active COVID-19 cases. Currently Metro Manila is under Alert Level 2, however in the City of Parañaque the restrictions on the unvaccinated are still in effect. Parañaque is one of four Metro Manila local government units (LGUs) that still have not lifted the restrictions on unvaccinated people while Metro Manila is placed under Alert Level 2.

For economic recovery and the uplifting of the country, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) called for the gradual shift to the looser and more business-friendly Alert Level 1, according to a GMA Network news report. It should be noted that new cases of COVID-19 infections have declined recently.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the GMA News report. Some parts in boldface…

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on Wednesday backed the calls to downgrade the quarantine status of the country to Alert Level 1 to open more businesses and jobs amid the decreasing number of new COVID-19 infections.

In a Super Radyo dzBB interview, DTI Undersecretary Ruth Castelo said should the country (shift) to Alert Level 1, which is the lowest in the alert level system, it has to be done slowly as there is still the lingering threat of COVID-19.

“Kung mag Alert Level 1 tayo, na gusto din ni (DTI) Sec. Mon (Lopez) na mangyari pero dahan-dahan lang, nandiyan pa rin ‘yung virus. So, kailangan pa rin nating sundin lahat ng health protocols,” she said.

(If we shift to Alert Level 1, which Sec. Mon wants to happen, it should be done slowly because the virus is still there. So, we still need to follow all the health protocols.)

Currently, the National Capital Region (NCR) and several provinces are under Alert Level 2 from February 1 to 15.

Under Alert Level 2, certain establishments and activities are allowed at 50% capacity indoors for fully vaccinated adults and minors, and 70% capacity outdoors, even if unvaccinated.

Meanwhile, under Alert Level 1, all establishments, persons, or activities, are allowed to operate, work, or be undertaken at full on-site or venue/seating capacity provided it follows minimum health standards. This, however, excludes areas under granular lockdown.

Castelo said about 1.5 million businesses in the country can operate at full capacity if the quarantine restrictions are further eased, thus allowing more people to return to work.

“Pagka nag-100% na, full capacity na lahat ng negosyo, lahat nung nagtatrabaho before COVID, ‘yun na din ang makakabalik ngayon,” she said.

(If the businesses are at 100% or at full capacity, all employees working before the pandemic could go back to work now.)

When several areas in the country, including the NCR, moved from Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 2, the DTI estimated that around 100,000 to 200,000 employees got back to work. That is an addition of almost 16,000 workers weekly, Castelo said.

It would be nice to see the shift to Alert Level 1 actually happen as it means better economic recovery, more employment and a healthier society. I personally want the government-imposed restrictions on businesses and on people removed. Remember the sudden ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) in Metro Manila that happened last August followed by the ban on outdoor exercise? A lot of people got frustrated with those two Metro Manila unfortunate developments months ago. Observe closely how the Metro Manila mayors and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) behave and make decisions. Oh yes, Benhur Abalos is no longer MMDA chairman.

Meanwhile, vaccination programs and COVID-19 testing are being organized most of the time and the more people get vaccinated, the better for the nation and its economic recovery. It would be great for the Philippines to acquire more Sputnik Light and Sputnik V vaccines as they have proven to be effective in protecting people from the infectious Omicron variant. Very recently, Sputnik Light has been approved for use in India and that is something the national government’s officials should seriously consider for acquiring more vaccines for the entire Philippines.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about the DTI’s call for the gradual adjustment into the looser Alert Level 1? Do you think the national government as well as local government units (LGUs) have gotten too far with governing and managing us people? Do you think that the more people get vaccinated, the more our country will overcome this pandemic?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673