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

COVID-19 Crisis: The high cost of ECQ on the Philippine economy

You must be wondering how much of a price did the nation pay as a result of the 2-week ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) ordered on NCR Plus (National Capital Region plus the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal).

The answer? P180 billion in terms of economic losses according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) accounting for 1% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Philippine News Agency (PNA) article of April 15, 2021. Some parts in bold…

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has estimated that the country lost 1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) during the two-week enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in National Capital Region (NCR) and four nearby provinces.

During the Laging Handa public briefing Thursday, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said the economic loss due to the half-a-month ECQ in NCR, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal (NCR Plus) is equivalent to PHP180 billion.

Earlier, Lopez said around 1.5 million Filipinos had no jobs during the ECQ in NCR Plus, and only 500,000 jobs were brought back when the quarantine classification for areas was downgraded to a less strict modified ECQ (MECQ).

“We want to see lower Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) cases and lower utilization rate of (Covid-19 beds) before we ease the status to GCQ (general community quarantine),” he said in Filipino.

The DTI chief also downplayed speculation that the reopening of economic activities and business establishments became the ‘super spreader’ of Covid-19.

To manage the rate of infection of the coronavirus, Lopez said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) will not allow high-risk and non-essential activities and gatherings.

He added the government must slow down the daily Covid-19 cases while increasing the health care capacity to relax community quarantine status in the NCR Plus.

Clearly, the 2-week ECQ period on NCR Plus was damaging not only to the businesses and people of the affected region but on the Philippine economy as well. What we cannot see yet is exactly how many more people – specifically those who lost jobs in NCR Plus because of ECQ – fell into poverty. Take note that the more people fall into poverty, the more costly it becomes for the local government units (LGUs) and the nation government to provide support to them using taxpayers’ money.

As it has been a week since NCR Plus shifted to MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine), we will find out soon how much the region and the national economy recovered from the high cost of ECQ.

If you do the math, a single week of ECQ on NCR Plus costs P90 billion. Can you just imagine the dramatic cost to the nation had ECQ went on for a full year of 52 weeks? Do not forget that all the unemployed bad need jobs and income.

Right now, the national government and varied forms of governing units are still struggling to balance themselves between economics and public health during this COVID-19 (China virus) pandemic that has lasted over a year now. No matter how you do your business, how you make your important transactions, follow the health protocols to avoid getting infected with the China virus.

By the way, whenever possible, support the business joints in your local community whenever you need to buy or consume something. By the way, never let the Political Left fool you with their propaganda related to economy and the pandemic.

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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

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

COVID-19 Crisis: Important update for SSS members in MECQ areas

Do you have important transactions to do with regards to social security? Are you struggling to do that because of the restrictions that come with the current MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine) status? Very clearly the China virus (AKA COVID-19) remains a major problem to us all.

Well, pay attention closely here because the Social Security System (SSS) announced via social media yesterday that members like you located in areas under MECQ – National Capital Region, Laguna, Cavite, Rizal, Bulacan, the City of Santiago in Isabela, Quirino, and Abra – can continue to use online services or drop boxes as all SSS offices and branches located in the mention areas will operate with minimum personnel (skeletal workforce) until April 30, 2021 (the supposed end of MECQ).

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from their Facebook post. Some parts in bold…

In line with the declaration of the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) in the National Capital Region, Laguna, Cavite, Rizal, Bulacan, the City of Santiago in Isabela, Quirino, and Abra from April 12 to 30, 2021, all offices and branches of the Social Security System (SSS) located in the covered areas will operate with only skeleton workforce to ensure the continuous delivery of services.

For this reason, SSS is advising its members, pensioners, covered employers, and the public to continue using its online services and drop box system when transacting with its offices and branches as the national government extends quarantine limits to curb the spread of COVID-19. Only 50 percent of branch employees during this period are assigned to physically report for work, while the rest will use alternative work arrangements.

With the 8:00 PM to 5:00 AM curfew enforced during the MECQ period, the said SSS branches will be open on weekdays only from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Branch transactions are limited to the following:

Appointments set with the branch, Submission of documents through the drop box (for transactions that are not available online), Pick-up of Unified Multi-purpose Identification (UMID) Cards and subsequent educational loan checks, Compliance with the Annual Confirmation of Pensioners’ Program (only for those with suspended pensions), and Use of tellering services.

The said measures will also apply to other areas placed under MECQ by virtue of an Executive Order issued by their respective Local Government Units.

Selected SSS branches will continuously implement the number coding system. The prescribed transaction days of members, claimants, and employers are based on the 10th digit of their social security (SS) or employer (ER) ID—1 and 2 every Monday, 3 and 4 every Tuesday, 5 and 6 every Wednesday, 7 and 8 every Thursday, and 9 and 0 every Friday.

For Funeral or Death Benefit Claims, the basis for the prescribed transaction day will be the 10th digit of the deceased SSS member’s SS ID.

However, if the prescribed transaction day falls on a holiday, the member, claimant, or employer may transact with the SSS on the next working day. In case of system downtime, the SSS will set an appointment with those in line or opt to wait until the system is operational.

The SSS also encourages the transacting public to use the pension fund’s online service channels such as the My.SSS Portal of the SSS website at www.sss.gov.ph, SSS Mobile App, and Text-SSS at 2600.

Information about the mandatory online transactions and other online services are posted on the SSS’ Facebook page at https://bit.ly/31wTXch and https://bit.ly/3tnW12c. Likewise, members can access the list of various payment channels at https://bit.ly/3lpPYaR.

With those details laid down, you have more options to choose on how to do your transactions with SSS. Please share this article to others so they can be helped. Thanks.

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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: Stricter quarantine outside of NCR Plus ruled out

Are you feeling tired of the restrictions that come with the quarantine for the past month? Moving from GCQ (general community quarantine) to ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) and recently MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine) made life in the so-called NCR Plus region (the National Capital Region plus the nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal) a bit more complicated. Not only were people told to stay at home, there were several businesses that negatively got affected too.

As for those living outside the NCR Plus region, there has been fear brewing that they will find themselves living under a stricter quarantine soon. Those fears can be put to rest as Malacañang officially ruled out the possibility of a restrictive quarantine in communities and places outside of NCR Plus.

The brewing fear was the result of recent reports of the Department of Health (DOH) showing an increase of COVID-19 cases in five regions other than the National Capital Region and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal. To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the article published through Philippine News Agency (PNA).

In an online press briefing, Health Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said there was an upward trend of Covid-19 infections in Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, and Cordillera Administrative Region.

While the government is monitoring the situation in areas outside NCR Plus, it does not see the need to impose stricter quarantine rules in the entire Luzon, Roque said.

“Sa ngayon po, binabantayan naman po natin ang datos at wala pa naman pong ganoong conclusion ang nakikita natin. Ang talagang paglobo po ng mga kaso ay nandito sa NCR Plus. At kaya nga po ang response natin dito muna sa NCR Plus (As of now, we are monitoring the data and we have not arrived at a conclusion [to implement stricter quarantine measures in Luzon]. Rise in Covid-19 cases is seen in NCR Plus. So our response is focused on NCR Plus),” Roque said.

Roque added that the Covid-19 surge in other areas is not that “bad” unlike in NCR Plus.

“As I said, binabantayan din natin ang kaso sa iba’t ibang lugar ng Pilipinas pero so far po (we are monitoring the cases in different parts of the Philippines but so far), nothing as bad as what we are seeing in the NCR Plus,” he said.

Two weeks after being under the most restrictive enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal are now under the less stringent modified ECQ (MECQ) until April 30.

Apart from NCR Plus, the City of Santiago in Isabela, Quirino province, and Abra are also under MECQ.

A more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ) is imposed in Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Batangas, Tacloban City, Iligan City, Davao City, Lanao del Sur, and Quezon.

The rest of the country remains under modified GCQ.

So there you have it. The above news and details should remind you that it is essential to follow health protocols by means of sanitizing yourself frequently, wearing face masks and face shields, and practicing social distancing.

Please share this article to others so that they will know that no stricter quarantine is planned outside of NCR Plus.

Now if only more vaccines could be made available locally so that this China virus pandemic will stop…

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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: 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

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

COVID-19 Crisis: Additional checkpoints in Metro Manila for ECQ (until April 4, 2021)

Are you having trouble moving around Metro Manila during this period of ECQ (Enhanced Community Quarantine) that’s supposed to end on April 4, 2021? Were you able to study and use the S-PaSS system?

Be aware that today, additional checkpoints (AKA quarantine control points) have been added in Metro Manila.

Below is an excerpt from yesterday’s article published through Philippine News Agency’s (PNA) website. For clarity, locations of the checkpoints are in bold.

National Capital Region Police (NCRPO) Chief, Maj. Gen. Vicente Danao, Jr., said the checkpoints are implemented at Susana Heights Tollgate; Alabang Tollgate; Filinvest Tollgate; Sucat Tollgate; Bicutan Tollgate; Skyway Entry; Nichols Tollgate; and Balon Bato, Balintawak, Quezon City.

Danao said apart from these control points, about 929 other checkpoints are manned by some 7,876 personnel in highly visible areas but these are “less restrictive”, which means it is mainly for anti-criminality, anti-terrorism, and dragnet operations.

He said under ECQ, police manning checkpoints restrict the movement of persons not allowed outside their homes and facilitate the movement of authorized persons outside of residence (APORs) and essential goods and services.

For those living in the South Metro Manila cities of Muntinlupa, Las Piñas and Parañaque, the tollgates of Susana Heights, Alabang, Filinvest, Sucat and Bicutan should be familiar because all of them are accessed through the Skyway and the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX). I find it weird that the PNA report did not even mention the said highways.

Knowing this, I encourage you all to check the ECQ requirements for travel (note: if you still have your quarantine pass or QP, bring it with you) and study using S-PaSS (note: City Government of Las Piñas encouraged motorists to use it).

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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