COVID-19 Crisis: Safety and sanitation at local cinemas emphasized

It has been days since Alert Level 3 was officially implemented all over Metro Manila which allowed for the reopening of several businesses and allowing them to accommodate more customers as the limitations on capacity were modified. Among the businesses authorized by the to reopen were the cinemas or movie theaters although the actual reopening has yet to happen. In fact, I passed by the cinemas at a local mall I visited this past Sunday and I saw they were still closed. Take note that there were attempts to push for reopening Metro Manila cinemas (click here, here and here).

As the reopening is still pending, there is this Manila Bulletin article about local cinemas will strictly implement health protocols. To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt plus a few relevant videos about safety and reopening. Some parts in boldface…

Cinemas and movie houses in the Philippines will strictly implement health protocols when these establishments reopen soon.

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) put Metro Manila under Alert Level 3 and allowed the reopening of cinemas with restrictions. Only fully vaccinated people will be admitted and seating capacity will be limited to 30 percent.

The actual date of reopening of cinemas is still subject to confirmation and the public is advised to wait for further announcement, according to the Cinema Exhibitors Association of the Philippines (CEAP).

Cinemas in Metro Manila have been closed for 19 months due to the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“That is the main goal right now,” said CEAP Charmaine Bauzon. “We have devoted the past 19 months of cinema closure identifying solutions and precautions based on science. We will implement these measures to confidently welcome back movie fans to cinemas and send them home safe.

Cinemas are safe spaces

Bauzon assured “the public that cinema is a safe place. In fact, LGUs [local government units] have converted some theaters into vaccination centers, and no super-spreading were ever reported, even though people waited inside for hours.

CEAP cited a recent study in Germany which concluded that cinemas are safer than almost any other indoor environment as long as safety guidelines are followed like wearing face masks, physical distancing and proper air ventilation.

The German study considered the following factors in its conclusion: People spend an average of only two hours at a cinema; people inside the cinema simply sit down and face the same direction which is known to reduce transmission risks; and people are not talking to each other during a movie, which minimizes possibility of infection.

Cinemas to strictly impose all safety protocols

According to CEAP, besides adhering to the IATF-mandated health standards, it also developed the “Sa Sine Safe Ka” protocols patterned after the “CinemaSafe” measures set by America’s National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) and endorsed by epidemiologists.

I personally support the reopening of cinemas not just because I love watching movies in them but also because cinemas and their employees can contribute a lot to the economic recovery from this COVID-19 crisis we are all living with. When it comes to viewing movies in the comfort of home, I prefer Blu-ray over streaming anytime. Still the very best way to enjoy movies in their full glory is still inside the cinema! I can never forget the day I first saw Wonder Woman (2017) in the IMAX cinema at SM Southmall which was really an immersive experience. I even replayed that same movie in another cinema which had lazy boy seats. I also saw Logan, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Avengers: Endgame, Aquaman and X-Men: Dark Phoenix on IMAX screens in different cinemas. When it comes to regular cinemas, I viewed Write About Love, Shazam!, and Joker to name some. Eventually I got to watch these movies in the comfort of home mainly on Blu-ray (which is always better than streaming) but I can confirm to you all that in my experience, the best place to view movies is still the cinema!

This iconic scene was at its grandest only in the cinema and I was fortunate to watch it on IMAX format!
The immersion of Aquaman on the big screen inside the IMAX cinema was indeed top-notch.

The good news here, as revealed in the excerpt above, is that local cinemas will exert efforts to make their venues clean and safe as their inevitable customers will be those who have been fully vaccinated. Cinema viewing will be far from normal but the latest developments related to Alert Level 3 are very welcome as it is the first step to returning to normalcy as the nation deals with community management and vaccinations for COVID-19. Above all, I urge all of you fully vaccinated people of Metro Manila and around the nation reading this – support the local cinemas! Put a stop to streaming and take the opportunities to watch movies in the movie theater because that streaming will NEVER match the grandeur and immersion of the cinema! The cinema is always better than streaming!

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you eager to watch a movie inside the cinema here in Metro Manila as soon as it reopens? Have you been fully vaccinated already? What upcoming movies do you hope to watch in the local movie theater? Have you been following the CEAP on social media lately? Do you think that the top officials of the Metro Manila Council (MMC) and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) really care about the plight of the cinema operators and their employees?

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 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

Business tycoon Ramon S. Ang calls Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz the trailblazer of the Philippines

As Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz received the promised P10 million reward from business tycoon Ramon S. Ang, she was referred to as the nation’s trailblazer in relation to the pioneering achievement she made for the Philippines during the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Business tycoon Ramon S. Ang with Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz. (photo from Ramon S. Ang Facebook page)

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Philippine News Agency (PNA) article. Some parts in boldface…

San Miguel Corp. president Ramon Ang sees Hidilyn Diaz as a game-changer after she ended the Philippines’ 97-year hunt for its first Olympic gold in Tokyo.

Hidilyn is the country’s trailblazer in our successful Olympic gold medal quest. After years of heartbreaks, she came through for us and we are very thankful as a nation,” Ang said on Tuesday.

Diaz, together with fiancé and coach Julius Naranja, personally received the PHP10 million reward Ang pledged for anyone who would capture the then elusive gold.

Diaz won the women’s 55-kg. weightlifting event at the Tokyo Olympics on July 26, making the Philippines a part of the Olympic gold medal countries’ list.

It also served as the biggest good news the Filipinos have ever received amid the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

Her victory comes at a very crucial point in our country’s history when we are grappling with a pandemic and a lot of Filipinos are looking for hope as we fight this virus and cope with the difficulties it has brought,” Ang said.

Upon meeting at the SMC office in Pasig City, however, he gave Diaz a surprise gift.

Ang rewarded Diaz with two Magnolia Chick ‘N Juicy franchises that she could put up at her new condominium in Quezon City and at her hometown in Zamboanga City.

“With the franchise outlets, we will assist Hidilyn every step of the way in her journey as an entrepreneur so that she can also help other people in need of jobs. In addition to the physical stores, equipment, and training, we will also provide the initial stocks for free to get her started,” he added.

The generosity of Ramon S. Ang is truly amazing and genuine. Not only was the promised cash reward released to Hidilyn Diaz, he gifted her with commercial franchises which can add to our nation’s economy by creating opportunities for the unemployed to bounce back from poverty while providing choices to consumers looking for good products. I really like this because I truly believe that capitalism the way to prosperity and the most effective way to lift people up from poverty. Capitalism does socio-economic wonders while socialism only drags people down and ruins societies. As it is a fact that cash rewards/incentives from both the government and private sector cannot last forever as the cost of living only keeps going up, having a business that succeeds will keep prevent people from falling into poverty. To see Hidilyn Diaz gifted with business franchises is great!

For those who are not aware, Chick ‘N Juicy is a chicken rotisseries retail business that has many branches and it is being expanded. Chick ‘N Juicy sells chicken supplied by sister company Magnolia. Customers can order from them online with products like sweet roast chicken, garlic roast chicken, fried chicken drumsticks, chicken rice meals and more at https://www.chicknjuicyofficial.com/

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you happy about our nation’s Olympic gold medalist getting rewarded and gifted by tycoon Ramon S. Ang?

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

COVID-19 Crisis: 118 businesses in Las Piñas City awarded with Safety Seals

To ensure that business establishments are safe for customers to visit and do business transactions in during this COVID-19 pandemic, the inspection team of the City Government of Las Piñas found one hundred and eighteen businesses qualified for the Safety Seal as revealed in a recent Manila Bulletin news report. That is a majority of the recent inspection of almost one hundred fifty businesses they visited.

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

The Las Piñas City government inspection and certification team has already inspected 149 business establishments around the city.

Out of the evaluated establishments, 118 have already been awarded with safety seal certification for passing the checklist in the implementation of health and safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Safety Seal Inspection Team formed by Mayor Imelda Aguilar is composed of City Administrator Reynaldo Balagulan, City Public Information Officer-Paul Ahljay San Miguel, and other offices in the city government.

According to the report, 31 business establishments that were inspected and evaluated still need to comply with other requirements before they will be awarded with safety seal certification.

Aguilar called on all business establishments in the city to comply with the checklist requirements.

She said the safety seal certification will allow businesses the opportunity to gradually increase their operating capacity.

For the newcomers reading this, business establishments having Safety Seals posted should restore business confidence at least in the short term. Within Las Piñas, SM Southmall itself got certified safe. Offices at Las Piñas City Hall qualified for Safety Seals. Whether an office or a business establishment has a Safety Seal or not, visitors can still do their parts in meeting health protocols by wearing face masks and face shields.

With regards to local COVID-19 matters, any Las Piñas resident reading this who has yet to get registered for free COVID-19 vaccines can learn the ways (4 methods) by clicking here. Anyone who is ready and willing to register online can click bit.ly/LasPiñasVaccination

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Have you visited any local business there in Las Piñas that does not have a Safety Seal yet? Did you witness the City Government’s inspection team do their work?

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 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: Foreign direct investments spiked in April 2021 in connection to CREATE Law, economic reopening and other factors

It’s been months since the last time I wrote about the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises act otherwise referred to as the CREATE Law. For the newcomers reading this, the CREATE Law was designed to cut down corporate income tax which should lead to the creation of new jobs and the attraction of investment in mind. The said law is really crucial in this COVID-19 crisis we are all still living with.

Recently, the Philippine News Agency (PNA) published an article stating that a huge rise of foreign direct investments (FDIs) in the country was realized this past April and the CREATE Law was one of the factors behind it.

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

An economist has attributed the rise of foreign direct investments (FDIs) in the country in April 2021 to the implementation of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) law and the opening of the economy.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Monday reported the 114.4-percent year-on-year jump of net FDI inflows to USD679 million last April from USD317 million in the same period last year.

In a report, Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) chief economist Michael Ricafort said lower interest rates and lower cost of some inputs like real estate property and leases are plus factors that enticed higher FDIs.

Some foreign investors may have started to come in view of the progress made on the CREATE law, which was finally signed on March 26, 2021 and reduces corporate income tax rates to 25 percent for large corporations (from 30 percent) retroactive July 1, 2020, thereby narrowing the gap with the tax rates in other Asean/Asian countries, and also provides greater certainty on investment incentives, thereby helping attract more FDIs and making some foreign investors on the sidelines in recent months/years to become more decisive and finally bring in more FDIs into the country,” he said.

Ricafort said positive credit rating actions on the Philippines, which even got its first-ever A-level credit rating, A-, from the Japan Credit Rating Agency (JCR) in June 2020, also boosted investors’ sentiment on the domestic economy.

The positive credit rating actions, he said, “reflect improved international investor confidence in the country, manifesting the country’s improved economic fundamentals, as well as the country’s attractive demographics.”

These factors are, however, expected to be countered by the still high number of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases, aggravated by new variants that are reported to be more contagious.

Ricafort believes that higher government spending, especially on infrastructure, and the accommodative monetary policy by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) are seen to further support the rise in net FDIs.

The above article is indeed filled with good news that our nation badly needs, especially since there are still many millions more people around the country who have yet to get vaccinated and the fact that lots of businesses are still struggling. In recent times, patients under the A4 category have been gradually vaccinated for COVID-19 and that is a very good thing because it under that very category where the nation’s laborers are listed. There are still lots of unemployed workers out there who badly need vaccines and jobs, and it does not help that certain local government units (LGUs) had to temporarily suspend their local vaccination operations due to a lack of supply of vaccines. There are supposed to be around 13 million doses of vaccines to come into the Philippines this month, and so far some of that have arrived (click here, here and here).

More on economics, apart from the rise of FDIs last April, it was reported that the local demand for office space nationwide grew by 38% rising from 122,000 square meters (sqm) in the first quarter of 2021 to 169,00 sqm. in the second quarter. It was described to be the strongest office demand since the start of the pandemic.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Does the recent news about the sharp rise of FDIs in our country make you confident about your economic prospects? How much do you know about the CREATE Law and what further positive effects it can generate for the country? If you have been unemployed, how long have you been out of work?

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

Skyway Stage 3 toll collection to start July 12, 2021

For those of you who constantly drive going north or south through Skyway Stage 3, better brace yourselves as the collection of tolls from motorists will formally begin on July 12, 2021. That is this coming Monday already. Take note that it has been seven months since the use of Skyway Stage 3 was kept free for motorists.

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

After nearly seven months of providing the public free use of the 18-kilometer Skyway Stage 3, San Miguel Corp. (SMC) on Tuesday announced it will start collecting toll on the elevated expressway starting July.

In a statement, SMC said it will be using a revised toll matrix which is lower than the original proposed toll fees.

To recall, the Toll Regulatory Board approved last March the provisional toll rates for the Skyway 3.

The approved provisional toll rates are the following:

For Class 1 vehicles

Buendia to Sta. Mesa – P105.00

Sta. Mesa to Ramon Magsaysay – P30.00

Ramon Magsaysay to NLEX Balintawak – P129.00

Buendia to NLEX Balintawak – P264.00

For Class 2 vehicles, the toll rates are twice as much as the rates for Class 1 vehicles.

For Class 3, the rates are thrice the price of Class 1.

The approved provisional toll rates are lower than San Miguel’s petition ranging from P110 to P274.

SMC said the TRB issued a Toll Operating Permit and a Notice to Start Collecting Toll on Skyway 3.

The company, through its SMC Infrastructure, said it will post the final approved toll rates at the toll plazas prior to the start of toll collection.

SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang said that the revised toll matrix, as approved by the TRB, takes into consideration the pandemic, its impact on the economy, and on Filipinos.

“We thank the TRB for helping us determine the most equitable toll rates for our motorists.  We know from experience that times are hard for many, and even a little relief for motorists can go a long way. These toll rates reflect our deferral of the collection of a substantial amount of the cost to build Skyway 3. We also further lowered the rates for those traveling shorter distances,” Ang said.

He said the tolls it will collect will provide the company revenues to ensure continued efficient operations, maintenance, and safe driving conditions on the elevated expressway—particularly as daily traffic puts a heavy strain on the road infrastructure, necessitating significant maintenance costs.

Skyway 3 reduced travel time from Alabang to Balintawak and vice versa, to only 30 minutes from the previous three hours, and from Buendia to Balintawak, to only 20 minutes.

With a capacity of 200,000 vehicles per day, the elevated toll road has also significantly decongested traffic on major Metro Manila thoroughfares, including Edsa and C-5.

With the start of toll collection, the government can now also start generating significant income from the expressway, as it imposes a 12 % VAT on all toll fees, according to SMC.

SMC said it fully-funded the construction of the project with no government funds or guarantees and had spent over P80 billion– more than double its original cost – to complete the project over a period that spans two administrations.

And here is a related video news report also by GMA Network…

As seen in the above report, clearly it is high time for motorists to pay San Miguel Corporation (SMC) for using Skyway Stage 3 which itself is a magnificent piece of infrastructure (made possible by capitalists, not socialists) that will benefit generations of Filipinos who need to travel north, south and within key parts of Metro Manila. Skyway Stage 3 is a major factor in the decongestion of traffic along EDSA, C-5 and other major metropolitan roads. By the way, what motorists will pay starting Monday, a portion of that will go to the national government in the form of value-added tax (VAT).  

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you prepared to pay the toll rates for Skyway Stage 3 starting July 12? How many times a week do you travel along Skyway Stage 3? Are the toll rates approved fair to you?

If you are a daily traveler on Skyway Stage 3, how was your travel time between destinations?

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 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: Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines lauds Muntinlupa City for fast vaccine rollout of its workers

Hey everyone! Have you ordered drinks directly from Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines, Inc. (PCPPI) online lately? In case you missed the news reported by Business Mirror, the exclusive PepsiCo beverage maker in our country admired the City of Muntinlupa for the fast vaccination rollout of its employees. Take note that there is a huge Pepsi plant in Muntinlupa and patients under category A4 (which includes workers) are being vaccinated in the same city for weeks now.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the article published by Business Mirror. Some parts in boldface…

Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines Inc. (PCPPI)—the exclusive manufacturer of PepsiCo beverages in the country—hopes to speed up its employee vaccination through the City Government of Muntinlupa.

The local government unit, host to PCPPI’s headquarters and biggest manufacturing plant, has inoculated the economic frontliners under the A4 category of the Inter-Agency Task Force priority list during the LGU’s launch last June 7. PCPPI employees, being part of the essential workforce, are classified under this category.

We laud Muntinlupa City’s fast vaccine rollout for our economic workers. We are encouraging more of our employees to get vaccinated. The sooner we get fully immunized, the safer we get, and the earlier our economy could recover,” PCPPI President and Chief Executive Officer Frederick D. Ong said.

While vaccination is underway through the local government of Muntinlupa City, PCPPI is also awaiting the delivery of 20,000 doses of AztraZeneca vaccines. This vaccination program is part of “A Dose of Hope”, an initiative led by Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion.

“We participated in the ‘A Dose of Hope’ initiative to help in the faster rollout of vaccines, and in support of the private sector’s goal of reviving the economy,” Ong added.

It is indeed very encouraging to see a huge business like PCPPI express its admiration to the LGU over its local vaccination program and this adds a good amount of credibility for the City Government itself. Like other corporations here in the Philippines, the maker of Pepsi-branded drinks also took part in a national-level initiative with economic revival in mind. Remember that it is the capitalists, not the socialists, who lead the momentum of the economy and creates jobs and offers consumers lots of choices for products or services.

For Muntinlupa City residents who have not yet registered for the free COVID-19 vaccines, learn the ways to get registered right here. If you are ready to register yourself online, click https://vaccine.muntinlupacity.gov.ph/muncovac/

If you are interested to order drinks from PCPPI’s online store, visit https://pepsiproducts.ph/

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you a Muntinlupa City resident who has yet to get vaccinated? What exactly is keeping you from getting vaccinated?

Does the above news encourage you (unvaccinated readers in Muntinlupa) to get registered and join the line from the free COVID-19 vaccines?

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 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: So-called stricter GCQ in NCR Plus begins today

Starting today until the 31st of May, the level of quarantine and restrictions in the National Capital Region (NCR) and the bordering provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal – these form NCR Plus – has been lowered to the softer general community quarantine (GCQ). The period of modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) for NCR Plus (note: specific places outside of NCR Plus are still under MECQ) is over at last and the shift to GCQ was approved by President Rodrigo Duterte.

However, the GCQ this time around will have some more restrictions of its own. To put things in perspective, read the details from this excerpt from the Philippine News Agency’s (PNA) article. Some parts in bold…

Duterte decided to ease quarantine protocols in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, also known as “NCR Plus,” upon the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

Presidential Spokesperson Roque, who was present during a meeting with Duterte at Malacañan Palace, said NCR Plus will be placed under GCQ “with heightened restrictions” from May 15 to 31.

“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Thursday, May 13, 2021, approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to place the National Capital Region (NCR), Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions from May 15 to 31, 2021,” Roque said in a statement.

Apart from NCR Plus, the quarantine classification in Abra was also downgraded from MECQ to GCQ.

Areas of concern

The MECQ status was, however, retained in the City of Santiago in Isabela, Zamboanga City, Quirino, and Ifugao.

Duterte said the four areas would remain under MECQ until end of May following local governments’ concerns over the spike in the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) within their localities.

GCQ is imposed in Apayao, Baguio City, Benguet, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Batangas, Quezon, Iligan City, Davao City, Lanao del Sur, and Puerto Princesa City until May 31.

The rest of the country remains under the least restrictive modified GCQ (MGCQ) for the whole month of May.

Implementation of stricter GCQ

Once GCQ with heightened restrictions is implemented in NCR, only “essential travel into and out of the NCR Plus” will be allowed, Roque said.

Roque said interzonal travel from NCR Plus areas, except those conducted by Authorized Persons Outside Residence, will remain prohibited in GCQ areas with heightened restrictions.

“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,” he said.

Roque said only individuals aged 18 to 65 can leave their homes while NCR Plus is under stricter GCQ.

Entertainment venues like bars, concert halls, and theaters; recreational venues, such as internet cafes, billiards halls, and arcades; amusement parks, fairs, playgrounds, kiddie rides; indoor sports courts and venues and indoor tourist attractions; and venues for meetings, conferences, exhibitions will not be allowed in NCR Plus, Roque said.

Roque said religious gatherings and gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment and funerals for those who died of causes other than Covid-19 in NCR Plus will be allowed up to 10 percent of the venue capacity.

He added that indoor and outdoor dine-in services would be allowed in Metro Manila and its four neighboring provinces.

Also, indoor dine-in services in NCR Plus shall be at 20 percent venue or seating capacity while outdoor or al fresco dining shall be at 50 percent venue or seating capacity,” he said.

Roque said outdoor tourist attractions in NCR Plus may be opened at 30 percent, with “strict” adherence to minimum public health standards.

“Also continued to be allowed in GCQ areas with heightened restrictions are non-contact sports, games, scrimmages held outdoors; and personal care services that allow for services not requiring mask removal, such as salons, parlors, [and] beauty clinics, at 30 percent capacity,” he said.

While the GCQ is stricter than its previous form, it does allow more breathing room for businesses because they are essential on providing customers the products and services needed (or wanted), and it is the businesses who provide jobs for the unemployed. Businesses, not socialists, can lift people up from poverty and prevent their employees from falling into poverty. As I mentioned previously, the more Filipinos fall into poverty due to restricted economic activities (that result job losses), the more expensive it becomes for any government unit to provide relief to the constituents.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your impression about the so-called stricter GCQ for NCR Plus? Are the restrictions of the new GCQ disturbing to you? Does the new GCQ affect your plan to travel to the provinces?

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 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: MECQ for NCR Plus extended until May 14, 2021

After weeks of anticipation by the public, President Rodrigo Duterte announced the other night the extension of modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until May 14, 2021 for the National Capital Region (NCR) plus the bordering provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal. In connection to this, Duterte apologized.

To put things about the extended MECQ in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Philippine News Agency (PNA) article. Some parts in bold…

“Modified enhanced community quarantine. Modified ito so medyo strict. NCR, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal (Modified enhanced community quarantine – modified, meaning somehow strict – will be imposed in NCR, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal),” Duterte said in his talk to the people.

MECQ will be implemented in NCR Plus, composed of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, MECQ until May 14, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a separate press statement.

Quirino and Abra provinces, as well as the City of Santiago in Isabela, will also stay under MECQ for the whole month of May, Duterte said.

On the other hand, the more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ) will be imposed in Apayao, Baguio City, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Batangas, Quezon, Tacloban City, Iligan City, Davao City, and Lanao del Sur from May 1 to 31.

The rest of the country will remain under the least restrictive modified GCQ (MGCQ).

Roque said the latest quarantine status is still “subject to the appeals of local government units.”

The government is targeting to lower health care and intensive care unit (ICU) utilization rates to ease the quarantine protocols in the country amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

In recent times, the daily count of new COVID-19 cases in the Philippines fell below 10,000. It was reported the other day that the new COVID-19 cases was at 6,895 nationwide. Still the nation has over 1,000,000 COVID-19 cases grand total (including recoveries) and the secured vaccines cannot arrive fast enough from overseas. Also, it will take a lot of time before the local production of vaccines will become a reality in the nation.

Apart from public health, more attention should be paid on the economy which has been set back a lot since the latest ECQ (enhanced community quarantine). The current MECQ meanwhile resulted 13% of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to stay closed specifically in the NCR Plus zone.

More on the economy, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez is pushing to help the economy by recommending a flexible MECQ in NCR Plus with gradual reopening of labor-intensive sectors in mind.

For perspective, posted below is an excerpt for the Philippine News Agency article. Some parts in bold…

In a radio interview Thursday, Lopez said the agency is eyeing to reopen personal care services with a limited capacity of 20 to 30 percent as well as dine-in services in food establishments by 10 to 20 percent.

“Ni-recommend ho kasi naming ‘yong MECQ with flexibility. We are just after sa pagbabalik ng trabaho, pero yung higpit naman ng mobility ay nandoon pa rin. Ang importante lang ay itong trabaho. We’re talking about opening the sectors na sarado pa rin (We recommended the MECQ with flexibility. We are just after bringing back jobs, but the strict mobility will still be there. What’s important is the jobs. We’re talking about opening the sectors that are still closed),” he said.

He added that the gradual reopening of the personal care and dine-in services was “partially discussed” with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

“Iko-confirm na lang mamaya sa IATF kung ilang porsyento [The IATF will confirm later the percentage (of capacity)],” Lopez said.

An estimated 200,000 workers in personal care services and 1 million fast-food and restaurant crews were affected during the stricter community quarantine measures in National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal and about PHP60 billion worth of wages were lost during the two-week MECQ, Lopez said.

The current MECQ also shed PHP120 billion in gross domestic product, on top of the PHP180-billion economic losses during the two-week ECQ.

While it is essential for people and organizations to follow health protocols and avoid COVID-19 infections, the same goes with the economy. So many have been suffering from the lack of jobs, the loss of income and, in the case of businesses, the loss of customers and clients. Being in the private sector myself, I definitely want more businesses of any size to reopen, make money, hire the unemployed and contribute to the development of local society. I want to see the personal care services to resume operations, as well as the return of indoor dining for restaurants and cafes. I also want to see more of my fellow Filipinos to stay above poverty and rise higher. That being said, I say that capitalism is the way to go and the real way to restore prosperity for the Philippines even as we face varied challenges daily during this COVID-19 (China Virus) crisis.

From this point on, I encourage you to keep observing the moves of not only the national authorities but also those in your local government, your barangay and other organizations serving you. Pray that the public servants and community leaders will look up to the Lord and acknowledge His authority over them. Pray for the leaders to look up to God. Finally, no matter how good or bad your situation is, keep having strong faith in our Lord. If you are hurting and you need healing, come to Lord Jesus (read Mark 5:25-34 in the Holy Bible).

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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

San Miguel Corporation to speed up work on completing Skyway Extension

You must have heard about the opening of the northbound section (entry point at Susana Heights part of the South Luzon Expressway) of the Skyway Extension Project that happened just days ago with the presence of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) president Ramon S. Ang and Department of Highways and Public Works (DPWH) secretary Mark Villar who made final inspections that day. That’s really great news!

Here are more good news! SMC announced that it will do more with the construction of the Skyway Extension Project’s southbound section (exit also in the Susana Heights area of SLEX) and things will move at a faster pace with a 3rd quarter completion in mind.

To put things in perspective, below is the excerpt from the press release published through Philippine News Agency (PNA)…

“It’s only been a number of days since we opened the northbound section, free to the public until further notice, and already we have seen a huge improvement in traffic flow, particularly on SLEX (South Luzon Expressway) and the Alabang viaduct. That makes us even more determined to complete construction of the southbound section so this project can fully serve motorists and improve traffic and connectivity to and from the south,” SMC president Ramon S. Ang said in a statement Wednesday.

Ang said the soft-opening of the first two of the three lanes of the northbound Skyway Extension from Susana Heights to Sucat, Paranaque proved to be timely, as it coincided with the easing of quarantine restrictions.

Despite the higher volume of vehicles on the expressway, traffic has been smooth because many Class 1 vehicles now use the Skyway Extension. 

“We’re already seeing how convenient and much faster travel is now, and it will become even more evident when traffic volume picks up and starts to normalize. That is why we’d again like to ask for our motorists’ cooperation and understanding as we move towards completion of the southbound Skyway Extension,” Ang said.

As part of the next phase of construction, Ang said the Hillsborough off-ramp of the elevated southbound Skyway will be closed to traffic permanently starting April 19 at 6 a.m.

As such, vehicles coming from the elevated Skyway will now exit at the steel ramp in Alabang. Heavy traffic is expected in this area.

“Unfortunately, there is no way around it, we need to close this portion to secure the staging ground for equipment and workers and to accelerate construction and ensure the safety of our motorists. I appeal to our motorists again for their patience and understanding. We expect heavy traffic to persist for the duration of the construction, but rest assured we will do everything we can to help mitigate this, and complete the project within the timetable,” Ang said.

With this, SMC Infrastructure is advising motorists to take the following alternative routes:

Class 1 vehicles from Pasay, Makati, Manila, and Quezon City bound for SLEX and farther South

• From Skyway Elevated, keep left to Steel Ramp towards destination.

Class 1 vehicles from Pasay, Makati, Manila, and Quezon City bound for Alabang

• From Skyway – Elevated, keep right to Alabang-Zapote off-ramp.

The Skyway Extension southbound section has two lanes and runs from the Skyway Main Toll Plaza to Soldier’s Hills in Muntinlupa, with a total distance of four kilometers. 

Meanwhile, Ang reiterated that use of the northbound Skyway Extension will remain free for motorists until further notice. 

The Skyway Extension project is part of the 38-kilometer elevated Skyway System, which includes the newly-opened Skyway Stage 3, also fully-funded by SMC.

Did you enjoy the above news and details? I sure did. What San Miguel Corporation (in coordination with the national government) has been doing is already benefitting people of Metro Manila and those from both the north and south of the National Capital Region (NCR) who need to travel great distances efficiently and faster. The results will be even greater once the entire project has been completed and the benefits will be available not only to travelers and motorists today, but also for future generations of people. Check out the related Skyway video below.

That being said, SMC and the Skyway projects are great examples of capitalism making great improvements to the national infrastructure. It is clear that the private sector is essential as it has the technologies, the expertise and resources to improve the quality of life (apart from providing good paying jobs) here in the Philippines. Capitalism is essential and good, and socialism (and all its related Leftist garbage) sucks. For more insight about capitalism and socialism, watch these videos from John Stossel plus another video that debunks the Left’s propaganda that the poor got poorer.

In closing this piece, let me ask you what you do think about the latest developments about the Skyway project? If you actually traveled via the Skyway lately, how was your travel experience?

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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

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