COVID-19 Crisis: DTI says restaurants in MECQ areas are allowed to have outdoor dining

In what is clearly a move with economic recovery in mind, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez declared that restaurants (located in places under MECQ or modified enhanced community quarantine status) with outdoor dining services and set-ups are allowed to resume but with certain limitations.

To make things clear, below is an excerpt from the Philippine News Agency (PNA) article which was published just yesterday. For greater emphasis, some parts are in bold.

In a text message to reporters Sunday night, Lopez said food establishments with alfresco dining services are only allowed up to 50 percent capacity, with diagonal seating arrangement and acrylic dividers on tables.

He added that indoor dine-in services are still not allowed in areas under MECQ, but food establishments can continue to operate with their take-out and delivery services.

From April 12 to 30, the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal or the NCR Plus as well as Santiago City in Isabela, and the provinces of Quirino and Abra were also placed under MECQ.

Earlier, the DTI chief said that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) might be sensitive in allowing indoor dine-in due to the highly contagious new variants of Covid-19.

“The IATF recommended to the President to shift to MECQ after two weeks of ECQ to restore more jobs and livelihood for the people,” Lopez said.

Clearly the local authorities are trying hard to balance themselves between economics and public health as new cases of COVID-19 (China Virus) continue to be counted in very high numbers on a daily basis in recent times. On April 2, the count of infections reached over 15,000.

Going back to the issue of allowing restaurants with outdoor dining (AKA alfresco) within the MECQ areas, it is good news that they are allowed to resume operations. It will still be a challenge for food establishments to attract enough paying customers and make their business’ financial ends meet.

On a personal experience, I love eating ramen and Tsukemen at Sigekiya Ramen in Alabang. I prefer that such meals would be cooked by the restaurant and be served to me at a table at their place. The alternative of taking the cooked ramen out and consume it at home is just not a convincing option for me because ramen is meant to be consumed quickly while it is hot. The alternative of taking home ingredients and noodles, and have them cooked at home does not appeal to me as I prefer Sigekiya’s cooks make the meal I paid for.

A delicious meal like this one is best to be eaten at the restaurant, even outdoors.

Also located in Alabang is the local branch of Akrotiri, a really fine restaurant that serves authentic Greek meals that my family and friends enjoyed. They also have meals that, in my opinion, are best consumed at their place and their Alabang branch (Commercenter to be precise) has space for outdoor dining. It was at Akrotiri Alabang where I treated 2019 SEA Games gold medalist Kim Mangrobang to a meal and organized an exclusive interview with her. They really have a fine-looking place. Visit their website at https://akrotiri.ph/

It is important to keep in mind that restaurants around the nation have struggled a lot since the pandemic started last year. These business establishments are also struggling with retaining their respective employees, notably their cooks, the baristas, waiters and waitresses. Remember that the meals and drinks you enjoy would not be the same when the people who prepared them get laid off.

With the DTI’s declaration of allowing food establishments with outdoor dining setups and services to resume, I encourage you my readers to consider supporting these businesses for your food and beverage needs. If you can’t have a meal with the family outdoors, perhaps you can push through with a business meeting with a corporate associate or reunite with your friend or relative with the outdoor setting of a restaurant while adhering to health protocols (wearing face masks, face shields, sanitizing yourselves, etc.). 

Now, let’s observe how the mayors, the barangay captains and other local authorities in MECQ areas will react to DTI’s declaration. You also might want to check with the local restaurants and coffee shops if they allow outdoor dining. Consider taking time out to call them or verify on their respective social media channels/accounts to see if outdoor dining is allowed.

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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 as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

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Ordering from Pepsi-Cola Philippines online makes sense

Before I talk about Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines Inc. (PCPPI), have you heard the disappointing news lately? For those who missed out, the National Capital Region (NCR) and the bordering provinces of Laguna, Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan (note: these form the so-called NCR Plus region) is now under extended ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) until April 11, 2021. The extension was recommended by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) in relation to the ongoing spikes in counted new cases of COVID-19 (China Virus) which reached as high as 15,310.

Going back to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) report, it was written that OCTA Research released its own report that the average of new daily cases of COVID-19 in NCR Plus dropped as a result of the return to ECQ. While there is no lockdown, the ECQ is bad for the economy due to reduced business activities (which affects employees and their income negatively).

Under ECQ, shopping malls here in South Metro Manila can only allow the so-called essentials to remain open. Essentials refer to groceries, banks, pharmacies, hardware stores and restaurants (which in turn are limited to processing take-out and delivery orders of customers).

When it comes to the local communities, fear about the rate of COVID-19 infection sparked authorities to discourage people from traveling around and that it is best for people to stay at home until the current bad situation improves. Some have encouraged people to order products they want or need online and have it delivered to their homes.

This brings me to the topic of this piece…why it makes more sense to order products from Pepsi Philippines via their online store and have such products delivered to the home.

To put things in perspective, Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines launched their online store at www.pepsiproducts.ph for home deliveries last October. What the company stated back then is still relevant with the current ECQ situation. Below is an excerpt from the PNA report for your reference…

PCPPI said its e-commerce website pepsiproducts.ph started to receive online orders from customers on October 5 and also providing in-home deliveries.

“With mobility restrictions brought about by varying phases of lockdown, we have decided to adopt e-commerce to our overall operations to heed the call of our customers who wish to have more access to our product while they are at home,” PCPPI president and chief executive officer Frederick Ong said.

Ong added that going online allows the company to counter business disruptions due to the limited foot traffic to physical stores.

“Pepsiproducts.ph is another way to make our products more accessible to entrepreneurs who want to venture into the distribution business. We are positive that this new revenue stream can boost PCPPI’s sales outlook in the months ahead,” he said.

Ong said the company has hired separate administrative and delivery personnel that will focus on the online venture.

The beverage firm is piloting its e-commerce business in the south part of Metro Manila — Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, and Parañaque as well as in San Pedro and Biñan in Laguna, and Carmona, Cavite.

PCPPI also targets to expand its e-commerce service in different parts of the country.

As you can see above, the company went the extra mile to make their products more accessible to customers backed with delivery services of their own. A month ago, I opened up an account with their online store, ordered a bunch of drinks that met their minimum requirement of P300, and in a little over 24 hours after posting my order, they delivered to our home. I received the drinks I ordered and paid them in cash (note: cash on delivery is the current method of payment). That being said, I really like Pepsi Philippines’ online store and delivery service not only for the user friendliness but also the fact that it spares me from having to go out to a nearby store to buy their drinks.

As such, this lessens the risk of getting infected with COVID-19 while being away from home. Again, it makes sense to order Pepsi beverages online during this time of pandemic and the company’s e-commerce effort deserves admiration.

To be clear, Pepsi Philippines is offering more than just soft drinks (Pepsi Cola, Pepsi Max, 7-Up, Mountain Dew, Mug root beer and Mirinda) on their online store. They are also offering such drinks like Gatorade, G-Active, Tropicana (orange juice and coconut juice), Sting energy drink, Premier water, Milkis, Lipton iced tea and more! I should also state that there also these temporary but really attractive online promos that will offer you a good return for your money.

Whether you like soft drinks or iced tea or milk or fruit juices, Pepsi Philippines has it all for you to choose from at their online store and they can deliver it to you if you meet the P300 minimum requirement and if your residence is located within their delivery coverage (South Metro Manila cities of Las Piñas, Muntinlupa and Parañaque plus Laguna cities San Pedro and Biñan, plus Carmona in Cavite province).

In ending this, I encourage readers who want or need drinks from Pepsi to visit their online store at https://pepsiproducts.ph/

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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 as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.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

S-PaSS now essential for those who need to travel far and pass through police checkpoints

Moving around the Philippines, specifically in the National Capital Region (NCR) and the nearby provinces, has gotten tougher as President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the shift into ECQ (Enhanced Community Quarantine) for the said places. ECQ is a more restricted status that will last from March 29 to April 4, 2021. Again, this is the national government’s response to the recent spike in new COVID-19 cases which are very disturbing.

To put things in context, here is an excerpt about ECQ from Philippine News Agency’s (PNA) report…

An ECQ status mandates all households to observe strict home quarantine. Movements will be limited to Authorized Persons Outside Residence, those accessing essential goods and services, and workers in establishments allowed to operate.

Mass gatherings (more than 10 persons outside and non-household members indoors) and face-to-face classes are also prohibited in ECQ zones. Mass transportation is allowed at limited capacity.

With regards to local travel during this time of ECQ, the S-PaSS  (Safe, Swift & Smart Passage) online travel management system is more essential and it has an app that can be downloaded for free. This is the same S-PaSS that the City Government of Las Piñas promoted recently.

For those who have not been familiar nor started using it, the S-PaSS was designed to facilitate a safe, swift and smart coordination of travels to destination LGUs (local government units). The traveler may check if the destination LGU has a restricted or unrestricted travel policy. If the LGU is restricted, the traveler must use the S-PaSS to apply for a TCP or Travel Coordination Permit. Travelers are free to visit any unrestricted destination LGU, however it is recommended to generate a TPP or Travel Pass-Through Permit if they will be passing through LGUs with restricted statuses.

The S-PaSS is now the subject of a new article published yesterday at Philippine News Agency (PNA) and below is an excerpt…

The new paperless app S-PaSS (Safe, Swift and Smart Passage) recently launched by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) offers a convenient and safe way to process travel authority online for local travelers, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Debold Sinas on Saturday said.

Sinas said S-PaSS will boost the PNP’s imposition of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in the quarantine control points (QCPs) that have been set up in different local government units (LGUs).

“It will continue to help and benefit LGUs in recording and monitoring in real time, traveler’s information, such as those who are going in and out of their respective localities,” Sinas said in a statement.

He said the implementation of S-PaSS by Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) promises to be a one-stop-shop app for the local stranded individuals (LSIs), returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs), emergency travelers (ETs) and other essential travelers during the pandemic.

“The PNP welcomes the development of this local mobility feature as a tool which integrates the processing system for the issuance of Travel Pass-Through Permit or TPP and Travel Coordination Permit or PCP, Travel Authorities and QR codes which quickly generates real-time reports needed,” he added.

Despite the use of the mobile S-PaSS app, Sinas said police deployment will continue to ensure strict public adherence to the implementation of minimum public health and safety protocols.

Last Friday, the DOST and partner government agencies officially launched the S-PaSS, a one-stop online communication and coordination platform for LGUs.

As you can see in the above information, the S-PaSS is crucial for those who need to travel far distances and reach their respective destinations (notably local government units). Apart from helping motorists, other travelers such as returning overseas Filipinos, the stranded people and the essential movers can avail of the system to move around. The Philippine National Police (PNP) recognizes S-PaSS officially.

To learn more about S-PaSS, https://www.facebook.com/spassph or visit their official website at https://s-pass.ph/

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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 as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.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

COVID-19 Crisis: National Capital Region (NCR) and 4 nearby provinces now under GCQ until April 4, 2021

It is all over the news and already a lot of people got affected specifically in the National Capital Region (NCR) and the nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal. This past Sunday, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) issued a new resolution (Resolution #104) in response to the spike of COVID-19 cases in the country. There was a single-day high of 7,999 new COVID-19 cases reported recently followed by blaming the government and economic managers.

Firstly, there is no lockdown which is good news. This is about retaining the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) status for NCR while the four nearby provinces have fallen under the same status.

To put things in perspective, posted below are excerpts from the Philippine News Agency (PNA) report…

Excerpt 1

Under IATF Resolution No. 104, he said only essential travel into and out of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal will be allowed.

Excerpt 2

Traveling into and out of Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal will be prohibited. We will have a sort of bubble in NCR, and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal,” he said.

Travel of authorized persons outside their residences (APORs) such as essential workers, health and emergency frontline services personnel; government officials and government frontline personnel; duly-authorized humanitarian assistance actors; persons traveling for medical or humanitarian reasons; persons going to the airport for travel abroad, returning overseas Filipinos and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will be unimpeded for as long as they show their respective work identification cards.

Individuals crossing zones for work or business and going back home will also be allowed to travel to and from the said areas.

“Kung kayo ay uuwi, essential travel po ‘yun. Kailangan lang magpakita ng ID kung saan ka talaga nakatira (If you’re going back home that’s essential travel. All you need to do is show your ID to prove that you live there),” he said.

Excerpt 3

Public gatherings limited

All public gatherings, including religious gatherings, will be prohibited but weddings, baptism, and funerals will be allowed but must observe a 10-person venue capacity.

Current operational capacities of essential and non-essential services and industries will remain.

However, face-to-face meetings, group meals in workplaces will be prohibited. Instead, work-from-home and virtual meetings are encouraged.

Roque said the IATF resolution also enjoins the private sector to adopt similar alternative working arrangements as those in place in the executive branch of government such as operating on a 30 to 50 capacity.

Only outdoor dining allowed

As for dining, Roque said only outdoor dining will be allowed in areas under GCQ while indoor dining will be strictly prohibited.

“Pagdating po sa mga restaurants, ang papayagan lang po yung mga outdoor dining (When it comes to restaurants, we will only allow those with outdoor dining),” he said.

Outdoor dining must observe a maximum of 50 percent venue capacity.

Take out and delivery is encouraged, he added.

Wear masks at home

Although the economy will stay open, Roque said the IATF resolution will require persons below 18-years-old and above 65-years-old, those with comorbidities, and pregnant women to remain inside their residences at all times.

The IATF resolution also advises the wearing of face mask at home especially when living with elderly and vulnerable.

Accepting of visitors outside immediate family or household is strongly discouraged.

Operations of driving schools, traditional cinemas and video and interactive game arcades, libraries, archives, museums, and cultural centers, limited social events at accredited tourism establishments and limited tourism attractions will be temporarily suspended except open-air tourism attractions.

Before the IATF’s new resolution was issued, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) went ahead in shortening the hours of voter registration as well as suspending the organizing of satellite registration (registration processes held outside of their office) which started yesterday. People around the Philippines have until the end September 2021 to register themselves or adjust their respective voter statuses in preparation of the May 2022 presidential, national and local elections.

For their part, the Department of Tourism (DOT) announced yesterday that it would yield to public health concerns in relation to the GCQ status for NCR and the 4 nearby provinces.

With regards to the IATF’s prohibition on indoor dining, already the shopping malls and restaurants here in South Metro Manila have made adjustments and updated their customers. Sigekiya Ramen announced that their restaurant at Commercenter, Filinvest City in Alabang, is still allowed to accommodate paying customers for outdoor dining. Like many others, they also offer takeout and delivery services. Alabang Town Center and Festival Mall in Alabang posted updates about safety protocols in accordance to IATF Resolution #104.

With all these developments in place, people in the NCR and the affected provinces under GCQ will have to adjust. It is okay to keep reporting to work but there is a need to be cautious with regards to personal safety and avoiding COVID-19 infection as much as possible. There is also the need to prioritize where to go and what to do. All of these are in effect until April 4, 2021 and here is hoping that the current situation will improve (that the daily COVID-19 count of new cases will go down) so that the new round of restrictions under GCQ will not be extended.

Better yet, I encourage you all to look up to our Lord Jesus and keep having unwavering faith in Him. I also encourage you all to read chapter 91 of the Book of Psalm in the Holy Bible and pray in tongues to our Lord in the privacy in your respective rooms (with the door shut closed). Open your heart to the Lord, always.

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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 as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.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

Skyway Stage 3 opened to motorists

After long years of waiting and a lot of hard work done mainly by San Miguel Corporation (SMC) and its strategic partners, Stage 3 of the Metro Manila Skyway here in the Philippines has officially been opened to motorists as confirmed by SMC’s president and CEO Ramon S. Ang.

“All access points and seven lanes in select areas will be available to motorists starting January 15 still for free—extended until February 1—so that our motorists can experience and enjoy seamless driving along this engineering marvel over Metro Manila’s congested streets,” Ang posted on his official Facebook page on January 13, 2021.

An official photo of a specific stretch of Skyway Stage 3 released by San Miguel Corporation.

Yesterday, the inauguration ceremony of Skyway Stage 3 was held and was graced by many government officials and special guests, including President Rodrigo Duterte. Ang expressed hope for the future as Skyway Stage 3 will benefit a lot of people traveling between north and south of Metro Manila.

Ang issued the following statement: I celebrate this special day with a full heart, knowing that we have delivered another game-changing project that will make a difference in the lives of so many Filipinos for many generations to come. With the official opening of our 18-km Skyway Stage 3, traffic in Metro Manila will be significantly reduced. It will no longer rob our kababayan of precious quality time with their families. After bridging the north and south of the Metro, we will begin work next month to realize another dream: to link Manila and Rizal in the east and eventually provide seamless land travel on all four corners of Metro Manila.  Thank you to all our partner-stakeholders past and present, and to the Duterte Administration for the unwavering support in helping us deliver this vital infrastructure project! Maraming, maraming salamat po!

As mentioned before, Stage 3 of Skyway is a stretch of about 18 kilometers that connects the northern and southern parts of Luzon with an elevated highway that results much faster travel for motorists. Not only does it connect the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) with the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), it also allows motorists coming from both highways to reach their destinations in Quezon City, Manila and Makati City via designated exits. Skyway Stage 3 also has seven lanes.

In addition, anyone traveling from the north, let’s say the province of Bulacan, who has to travel all the way to Cavite province can do so by traveling along Skyway Stage 3 (to bypass EDSA and all the congested Metro Manila streets below), reach the older Skyway that connects to the NAIAX (Ninoy Aquino International Airport Expressway) and connect to the CAVITEX (Cavite Expressway). Motorists from Cavite on the other hand can go north much faster than before through the same route of expressways.

People from Laguna province who need to visit far destinations in the north like Subic Bay or Clark can do so by entering the Skyway from SLEX, go through Skyway Stage 3 and enter the NLEX. From NLEX travelers can go to Subic Bay via the SCTEX (Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway). To reach Clark, travel further north via NLEX.

The potential benefits of Skyway Stage 3 makes travel between north and south much easier and more efficient. This also means avoiding losing precious time in traffic jams in Metro Manila’s old roads below the Skyway, and this should translate into much less stress traveling. As such, San Miguel Corporation and Ramon S. Ang deserve a lot of thanks and admiration. Also, never forget to thank God that this incredible achievement of Philippine infrastructure happened in our lifetimes. For sure, Skyway Stage 3 will contribute a lot to the socio-economic development of not only Luzon but the Philippines as a whole.

In ending this, posted below is the January 5, 2021 official video of Skyway Stage 3 (which was partially opened weeks ago) for your viewing pleasure and learning.

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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 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 FB group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673