COVID-19 Crisis: Alert Level 4 all over Metro Manila from September 16 to September 30, 2021

Change is indeed coming to Metro Manila starting September 16 as the national authorities announced yesterday (as reported by the Philippine Daily Inquirer) as the entire metropolis will fall under what is referred to as Alert Level 4 in relation to the new guidelines that got ratified by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

What can National Capital Region (NCR) residents and stakeholders expect over the 15-day period? To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Inquirer report. Some parts in boldface…

Metro Manila will be placed under Alert Level 4 starting Sept. 16 until Sept. 30, which is the start of the pilot run of granular lockdowns, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said Tuesday.

Año said Metro Manila mayors have agreed to implement just one alert level as a whole “for uniformity and easier enforcement.”

“Yes, under Alert Level 4 because the NCR (National Capital Region) mayors reached a consensus that they will follow one Alert Level only,” he said in a text message to INQUIRER.net.

“For uniformity and easier enforcement within NCR, they agreed to be under Level 4. Hanggang Sept. 30 ang pilot testing,” he added.

Año said the majority of areas in the metro belong to Alert Level 4, anyway, but some qualify for Alert Level 5 while at least two areas under Alert Level 3.

Based on the new guidelines on granular lockdowns, areas under Alert Level 4, which is the second highest alert level in the new system, are those with high and/or increasing COVID-19 transmission and high total bed and intensive care unit utilization rates.

Persons aged below 18 and above 65 and those with health risks, including pregnant women, must stay at home unless they need to access essential goods and services or have to go to work.

Intrazonal and interzonal travel for persons who are not required to stay at their homes may be allowed subject to guidelines of their destination local government unit.

Individual outdoor exercises are likewise allowed in areas under Alert Level 4 for all ages regardless of comorbidities or vaccination status, but they must remain within the area of their residence.

Government agencies in areas placed under Alert Level 4 must remain fully operational while employing at least 20 percent on-site capacity with the rest under a work-from-home or flexible schedule scheme.

Under Alert Level 4, outdoor dine-in services in restaurants and eateries are only allowed at 30 percent venue capacity.

Meanwhile, indoor dine-in services are allowed to open at 10 percent capacity, but they may only cater to persons fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

All workers of these establishments must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Furthermore, LGUs may decrease the allowable capacity for these restaurants and eateries.

Personal care services limited to barbershops, hair spas, nail spas, and beauty salons are allowed at 30 percent capacity “if such services are conducted outdoors regardless of vaccination status.” But if these are indoors, the IATF said they may only operate at 10 percent capacity.

Clients must also wear face masks at all times and all employees should be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Religious gatherings, meanwhile, can be held on 30 percent venue capacity if conducted outdoors regardless of vaccination status but only 10 percent will be allowed if conducted indoors and they may only accommodate persons fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Pastors, priests, rabbis, imams, or other religious ministers and the assistants of these religious congregations must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and must observe minimum public health standards.

That was a heavy load of details above. Were you able to read and understand it immediately? If you are having trouble understanding, you are not alone. What I’d like to point out that it is a relief for businesses offering personal care services and businesses in the food-and-beverage industry to be allowed to operate with the declared limits above. For the restaurants, coffee shops and other related food-and-beverage joints, take-out and delivery are still too limiting for their survival.

As for churches allowed to hold faith gatherings, what was stated above is a relief albeit with limitations. The 10% limit on venue capacity for indoor worship services is indeed small even for the fully vaccinated people who want to worship the Lord on-site (which is much more engaging than online worship). The 10% limit for on-site worship will have to do for now in Metro Manila until the end of this month. Whatever the declared limits are, never lose faith in God and keep praying to Him that the national and local authorities will do better and govern knowing that He is watching all of us.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about the Alert Level 4 status for Metro Manila lasting for the rest of September? If you are a business owner, are the declared Alert Level 4 limitations good enough? If you are a pastor or church organizer, what do you think about the 10% limit on capacity venue for indoor worship? Is the requirement for pastors, priests, rabbis, imams, or other ministers and personnel on churches to be fully vaccinated too imposing on the part of the government and possibly unconstitutional? Do having multiple alert levels look confusing to you right now? Do you heavily trust the Metro Manila mayors and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) over the way they have been managing the metropolis?

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

+++++

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: DILG urges LGUs to sign up non-tech savvy senior citizens for vaccination

Here in the Philippines, senior citizens are a priority group of people for COVID-19 vaccines and in order to avail of such vaccines, registration is the first step (which goes the same for others). Once the registration has been done, the local organizers will have to maintain the records, look closely and sort out the senior citizens whom they will contact and inform them of the slots scheduled for them.

While Internet access is widely available in the Philippines, there are still senior citizens who cannot get themselves registered digitally (online registration) not only because of the lack of access (or lack of hardware) but because they are not familiar with the digital ways and processes. In the City of Las Piñas, vaccine registration can be done digitally or manually. Check out the details right here. If other cities don’t offer manual registration at all, then their senior citizens who have no Internet access or are not oriented with computers/gadgets are in a major disadvantage and may have been left behind.

In relation to this, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) urged local government units (LGUs) to come up with ideas to help the disadvantaged senior citizens get registered. Posted below is the excerpt from the Philippine News Agency (PNA) article. Some parts in bold…

Local government units (LGUs) should find a way to register seniors, who are non-tech savvy and without access to the internet, for a Covid-19 vaccination schedule, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said.

“The LGUs must help our seniors who do not know how to use high-tech gadgets. Find the ways on how to register them immediately even manually so that they can avail themselves of the vaccines,” Año said in a text message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) Wednesday.

While many older adults have access to the internet and are tech-savvy, others are not and have a hard time navigating vaccination registration websites set up by LGUs.

“Kung kinakailangan i-house-to-house sila (If needed, LGUs should conduct house-to-house visitations to register them) then so be it,” Año said.

Since the start of the vaccination rollout last March, among the groups prioritized for inoculation are senior citizens or under the A2 category.

So there you have it! DILG Eduardo Año made a pitch to the LGUs to literally go the extra mile to help the senior citizens who could not get registered digitally. It should be noted that there are some senior citizens who are bedridden or are physically disadvantaged and could not get themselves registered online. Also remember that some websites designed for online registration might not be user-friendly enough for senior citizens and others who are just starting using the Internet.

In ending this article, let me ask you these questions: Is your local government unit doing enough to get disadvantaged people registered for COVID-19 vaccines? Do you know any senior citizen in your local community who badly needs help on getting registered? Have you thought about assisting senior citizens (who are not oriented with computers and online processes) to get registered? Is your local government unit offering manual registration? Is your barangay offering assistance to senior citizens who are unable to get registered? Did anyone from the LGU or your barangay send representatives to your local community to help the unregistered senior citizens get registered?

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

+++++

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: Over 90% of ECQ aid distributed to beneficiaries in NCR Plus

For NCR Plus (National Capital Region plus Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal provinces), the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) are both over. What is also over during this COVID-19 pandemic is the period of the distribution of the so-called Ayuda or financial assistance by the national government for NCR Plus-based low-income earners who got affected by the ECQ. Specifically, the distribution of the funds ended on May 15, 2021 (Saturday) and according to a news report by the Philippine News Agency (PNA) – citing the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) – over 90% of the funds were distributed.

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

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday said the distribution of aid has reached 91 percent or PHP21.06 billion given to low-income earners in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus area as of May 15, the deadline set by the national government.

In a news release, the agency said 37 local government units (LGUs) reached 100 percent completion of aid distribution.

DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said that amid all the challenges, the LGUs delivered their end of the bargain on the distribution of ‘ayuda’ to millions of beneficiaries, with most registering a 90 percent completion rate as of May 15.

He said the 91 percent distribution rate is a testament to the LGUs’ commitment to extend the most help they can give to their constituents.

“Alam ninyo po isang malaking hamon po talaga itong pamamahagi ng ayuda sa panahon ng pandemya at nakakatuwa na we saw the commitment of the LGUs (As you know, the distribution of the assistance at this time of a pandemic was a big challenge. We are elated with the commitment we saw from the LGUs). And now billions of pesos of financial assistance have reached our kababayans. The 91 percent or PHP21.06 billion ‘ayuda’ distributed to qualified beneficiaries is a victory for the LGUs and the national government,” Año said.

He explained that the remaining 9 percent represents the unclaimed ‘ayuda’ and they have granted the LGUs with unclaimed funds the authority to prepare a new payroll and distribute these to other affected individuals in their respective communities within 10 days.

“Despite diligent efforts by the LGUs, some of the beneficiaries did not claim their ‘ayuda’ because they have moved to the provinces or are no longer residing in their LGUs. Many of them were also delisted because they were found to be duplicates in the Social Amelioration Program list. The LGUs have started to prepare a new payroll in order to distribute these unclaimed funds,” he said.

On May 15, Año said Bulacan tallied the highest completion rate of 96.85 percent corresponding to PHP2.87 billion worth of financial assistance with 12 LGUs namely Balagtas, Baliwag, Bocaue, Calumpit, Doña Remedios Trinidad, Guiguinto, Norzagaray, Pandi, Paombong, Plaridel, San Miguel and, San Rafael finishing their ‘ayuda’ distribution.

Laguna tallied 19 LGUs which have completed aid distribution, the most among the whole NCR Plus bubble while garnering a high completion rate of 96.50 percent corresponding to PHP2.62 billion worth of financial aid distributed.

Among the LGUs which have completed distribution of ‘ayuda’ in Laguna are the cities of Biñan, Cabuyao, San Pedro, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, and the towns of Alaminos, Calauan, Famy, Kalayaan, Lumban, Mabitac, Magdalena, Nagcarlan, Paete, Pagsanjan, Pakil, Pila, Rizal and Siniloan.

Meanwhile, Rizal followed with 93.34 percent, NCR with 90.99 percent; and Cavite with 86.04 percent, with five LGUs including Tagaytay City, Amadeo, Mendez, Naic, and Noveleta completing the aid distribution.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about the Philippine News Agency’s crime news report? Did your local government unit distribute the money with transparency and honesty? Do you believe your LGU achieved 100% completion of the ayuda distribution?

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

+++++

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

2020 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections postponed!

2020 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections postponed!

Next Barangay and SK polls to happen on December 5, 2022

Did your local community print media news publication neglect to inform you of the hot news about the next Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections?

Here are the news: the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections originally scheduled for 2020 has officially been postponed and rescheduled the new date of December 5, 2022!

According to the release of Philippine News Agency (PNA), Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law Republic Act Number 11462 (titled “Postponement of the 2020 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections Act”) which effectively postponed the polls originally set for May 2020. The act was signed in ceremony at Malacanang Palace on the afternoon of December 3.

Those who witnessed the signing were  Senate President Vicente Sotto III, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, Senator Maria Imelda Josefa Marcos, Negros Occidental 4th District Rep. Juliet Ferrer, Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.

During his keynote speech, Duterte said that the republic act signed is vital in relation to “realizing meaningful and lasting reform for the good of our nation.”

Effects of RA 11462

Apart from postponing the May 2020 polls and setting December 5, 2022 as the new date to hold the elections, incumbent village executives and officials of the youth council will remain in office until their successors have been duly elected or unless they have been removed or suspended.

Given the new date of the Barangay and SK elections, the new set of barangay and SK officials who get elected in December 2022 will take office on January 1, 2023.

Subsequent village and youth council polls will be held on the first Monday of December 2025 and every three years after.

Background

During his fourth State of the Nation Address on July 22, Duterte asked Congress to pass a measure suspending the elections set in May 2020, to give village officials more time to finish their programs and projects.

The Senate and the House of Representatives on November 12 ratified the bicameral conference report of their consolidated measure on the postponement of the twin elections.

This is the third deferment of the village and youth council’s elections since 2016.

Reactions

As soon as the PNA release of this development came out, I reached out to the officials of Barangay BF Homes and their Sangguniang Kabataan for reactions. So far, they have not responded to my inquiries. If ever they respond, I’ll post the reactions right here.

Meanwhile, Senator Imee Marcos posted via her Facebook page on December 4 the following words: Thank you, Mr. President! And we hope this will be the final postponement of Barangay and SK elections, so that in the future, barangay elections will be regular and predictable – one year after the national elections. Barangays are the government’s frontline, and their officials need security and support to deliver government services to the people.

For his part, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar stated that postponing the twin polls would make it easier for the incumbent village executives to implement their projects.

The Commission on Elections (COMELEC), which is the main body for elections all over the Philippines, saw its spokesperson James Jimenez saying that the postponement will allow them to focus on preparing for the 2022 Presidential Election.

 

 

Muntinlupa City is among 2019 Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) awardees

Muntinlupa City is among 2019 Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) awardees

Today the City Government of Muntinlupa announced that they have been feted by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) as one of the 2019 Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) awardees for its excellent delivery of public service. This latest development continues to show why Muntinlupa is a standout city among South Metro Manila’s cities.

MuntiSGLG2K19
DILG Sec. Eduardo Año turns-over the 2019 Seal of Good Local Governance award to Mayor Jaime Fresnedi during an awarding ceremony at Manila Hotel last November 4. SGLG is the DILG’s progressive assessment and reward system that gives LGUs distinction for their remarkable performance across various assessment areas in governance. Also attending the program were Muntinlupa City Administrator Engr. Allan Cachuela and DILG Muntinlupa Field Office chief Bernadette Ferino. (source – Muntinlupa PIO)

The prestigious SGLG award was received by Mayor Jaime Fresnedi from DILG Sec. Eduardo Año during the awarding ceremony held at the Manila Hotel yesterday. With the mayor were City Administrator Engr. Allan Cachuela and DILG Muntinlupa Field Office chief Bernadette Ferino.

Despite having a more stringent assessment criteria for the award, the City of Muntinlupa has passed “all-in” seven assessment areas in governance namely: Financial Administration; Disaster Preparedness; Social Protection; Peace and Order; Business Friendliness and Competitiveness; Environmental Protection; and Tourism Culture and the Arts.

To put things in perspective, Muntinlupa City was among the three hundred and eighty local government units (LGU) in the country conferred with the coveted award in governance. In the National Capital Region or NCR, only eight LGUs received this year’s Seal including the cities of Caloocan, Malabon, Mandaluyong, Navotas, Pasay, Quezon City, and San Juan.

Fresnedi thanked the DILG for its recognition of Muntinlupa’s commitment in improving local administration and service delivery for Muntinlupeños.

“We are honored to receive this award as it validates our efforts towards local governance reforms and development. This recognition is an outcome of the collective efforts of dedicated city officials and employees who tirelessly worked in facilitating a transparent, caring, and accountable government for the people,” the mayor said.

As an incentive, 2019 SGLG recipients are set to receive Performance Challenge Fund (PCF) to finance local development projects and capacity development assistance from the DILG.

To be clear, SGLG is the DILG’s progressive assessment and reward system that gives LGUs distinction for their remarkable performance across various pillars. This year’s award is the second SGLG award conferred to Muntinlupa City after receiving the same recognition in 2015.

Furthermore, Muntinlupa City was also awarded with three major awards from the Department of Health (DOH) last November 4 at the Metro Manila Center for Health Development’s “Gabi ng Parangal” held in Crowne Plaza Manila.

The DOH conferred the City Government with Best in Rabies Prevention and Control Program, Best in National Voluntary Blood Services Program, and Plaque of Appreciation for the implementation of the Universal Health Care.

Previously, Muntinlupa became the only South Metro Manila city to make the Top 10 of the Most Competitive Highly Urbanized Cities when the results of the 2019 Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI) were revealed.

Parañaque City Government officials silent

More about the NCR city governments and the DILG’s organizing of the 2019 Seal of Good Local Governance awards, I reached out to my contacts at the City Government of Parañaque and asked what was their reaction about their city NOT receiving the prestigious SGLG award. They did not reply at all today.

Those same Parañaque City officials did not reply to my previous inquiry regarding their city’s failure to make the Top 10 of the Most Competitive Highly Urbanized Cities of the entire Philippines as per the results of the 2019 CMCI.

I guess it’s more comfortable for them to remain silent than answering tough questions about competition with other city governments. Now I’ve got to check with one other South Metro Manila city regarding the SGLG awards.