I Love Israel: Joint Economic Commission (JEC) established by Israel and the Philippines

Trade between Israel and the Philippines could improve and help develop each other economically in the years to come as the two nations strengthened their ties further by establishing the Joint Economic Commission (JEC), according to a recent report by BusinessWorld.

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

THE Philippines and Israel said they formed a Joint Economic Commission (JEC) that will explore pathways to improving trade.

In a statement on Thursday, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Israel Economy and Industry Minister Orna Barbivai in Jerusalem on June 7 that created the JEC.

The MoU seeks the establishment of a bilateral consultative mechanism that will develop and strengthen trade, enhance investments, and advance economic ties between the Philippines and Israel,” the DTI said.

“In establishing a JEC, the two countries agree to exchange information on economic issues, identify and implement cooperative projects, organize consultations, missions, and official visits and enhance cooperation and linkages with their respective private sector,” it added.

The DTI said the MoU will seek to explore industries where the two countries can collaborate with a view towards diversifying trade and investments.

He added that priority sectors for promotion include agribusiness/agriculture production, energy efficiency technologies and renewable energy, infrastructure and public-private partnership (PPP) projects in infrastructure, real estate development, logistics, artificial intelligence, information technology and business process management (IT-BPM) including shared services, electronics manufacturing, and digital infrastructure.

Mr. Lopez told reporters via Viber that the initial investments from the investment promotion and protection agreement (IPPA) between the Philippines and Israel could bring around $150 million in investment in 2022.

“Early harvest could be around $150 million this year,” Mr. Lopez said.

Also signed on June 7, the IPPA provides the framework for a closer investment relationship between Israel and Philippines. It also specifies investment protection elements such as national treatment, most favored nation treatment, free transfers, rules-based expropriation and compensation, and investor-state dispute settlement.

The DTI also recently signed an MoU seeking to strengthen cooperation with the Israel Innovation Authority.

This newest development is undoubtedly critical as both the Philippines and Israel share the same goal of recovering from the damage of the COVID-19 crisis and emerging stronger economically and socially. The JEC between the two nations is something we must be thankful to God for.

If you truly believe in Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God the Heavenly Father wholeheartedly and you continue to be faithful (not religious), you should be aware that Christians are meant to stand united with Israel, love the Jewish people and pray for the peace of Jerusalem. You can do your part supporting Israel by donating to Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Do not forget to read the Holy Bible, then pray in tongues to the Lord in the privacy of your room with the door shut.

Always be the fearless and aggressive church of Lord Jesus! Always stand in support of Israel!

In ending this I Love Israel piece, posted below are Israel-related videos for your viewing pleasure and enlightenment.

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

I Love Israel: Philippines sends off initial batch of hotel workers to Israel

Over sixty Filipino hotel workers have departed for Israel in relation to the opening of its hospitality sector to foreign workers, according to a report by the Philippine News Agency (PNA) dated May 31, 2022. That’s not all. There will be hundreds more who will be deployed there in accordance to the agreements between Israel and the Philippines.

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

The Philippine government is set to send off 61 Filipino hotel workers to Israel, the first deployment of its kind since the latter opened its hospitality sector to foreign workers.

Israel Ambassador to the Philippines Ilan Fluss said a total of 500 are set to depart Manila, with the first 61 leaving on June 1, 2022.

Until now the hotel industry was closed, this is the first time that the hotel industry was able to invite foreign labor so for Israel this is very important For the Philippines, I believe it’s also important because until now the only Filipinos who were allowed to work in Israel are caregivers,” Fluss said during a send-off ceremony at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) in Mandaluyong City on Tuesday.

“We’re just exiting the pandemic, I believe there is room for growth for the tourism industry so we’re starting with the 61 tomorrow up to 500,” he added.

Fluss assured that overseas Filipino workers would enjoy the same treatment as domestic employees in Israel.

The rights of the employees are very clear and there is no difference in this aspect between foreign workers and Israeli workers,” he said.

Asked if there are other industries interested in hiring Filipinos, Fluss said none yet at this point.

Department of Migrant Workers Secretary Abdullah D. Mama-o, meanwhile, described the latest deployment as proof that Filipinos are “quality workers”.

I’m glad that Israel recognized the competence of our Filipino workers. The first batch that we are sending will serve also as an example of the workers that we have in the hotel industry,” he said.

To make things clear, both Israel and the Philippines are gradually emerging from the economic and social damages of the COVID-19 crisis. Businesses that are connected to tourism or travel such as hotels, restaurants and retailers require quality workers who have proven to be dedicated and hard working. As such, the news about sending off hundreds of Filipino hotel workers to Israel to help them revive their industry is very pleasing and encouraging. So far, 2022 is looking like the year of big revival of international tourism and the ties between the Philippines and Israel continue to prosper! Truly this is something we should be thankful to the Lord for.

If you truly believe in Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God the Heavenly Father wholeheartedly and you continue to be faithful (not religious), you should be aware that Christians are meant to stand united with Israel, love the Jewish people and pray for the peace of Jerusalem. You can do your part supporting Israel by donating to Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Do not forget to read the Holy Bible, then pray in tongues to the Lord in the privacy of your room with the door shut.

Always be the fearless and aggressive church of Lord Jesus! Always stand in support of Israel!

In ending this I Love Israel piece, posted below are Israel-related videos plus Philippine news videos for your viewing pleasure and enlightenment.

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

COVID-19 Crisis: Metro Manila mayors to recommend adjustment to Alert Level 1 status starting March 1, 2022

Thanks to the Lord who listens to the prayers of the faithful, the daily count of new COVID-19 cases kept falling down nationwide for the past few weeks and there are signs of stronger economic activities along the way. It should be noted that more people from overseas arrived in the country.

With regards to Metro Manila or the National Capital Region (NCR), the mayors of the many cities of the metropolis came to an agreement to recommend to the higher authorities the shift of control from the current Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 1 which should take effect on March 1, 2022, according to a GMA News report. Before the news broke out, Muntinlupa City mayor Jaime Fresnedi confirmed he voted for the shift to Alert Level 1.

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

Mayors in the National Capital Region (NCR) have agreed to recommend the de-escalation of the region to Alert Level 1 from Alert Level 2 starting March 1, 2022, the head of the Metro Manila Council said on Wednesday.

“Downgrade to Alert Level 1 starting March 1,” Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez told GMA News Online in a text message when asked about the recommendation of the council following their meeting Tuesday night.

Under Alert Level 1, intrazonal and interzonal travel shall be allowed without regard to age and comorbidities. All establishments, persons, or activities, are allowed to operate, work, or be undertaken at full on-site or venue/seating capacity provided it is consistent with minimum public health standards.

Interviewed on Super Radyo dzBB on Tuesday, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) officer-in-charge and general manager Romando Artes said the local government units (LGUs) in the NCR are ready to shift to Alert Level 1.

Artes said the NCR has been successful in implementing COVID-19 response programs.

Also on Tuesday, independent monitoring group OCTA Research said the positivity rate in the NCR has decreased to 4.9%, lower than the recommended 5% of the World Health Organization.

According to OCTA, this is the first time the positivity rate in the NCR decreased to less than 5% since December 26, 2021 prior to the COVID-19 surge caused by the more transmissible Omicron variant.

Once it takes effect, Alert Level 1 will pave the way for businesses to operate better which will translate into new job openings that the unemployed badly need. Businesses that cater to customers with their physical presence involved should be allowed to serve them in higher numbers than before. It could also mean local cinemas should be allowed to allocated even more seats for moviegoers. Families should be allowed to bring their children to more places outside their homes as well. Churches should be allowed to accommodate even more people to worship the Lord on Sundays. Along the way, COVID-19 vaccination operations continue to happen and as of this writing, almost ten million people here in the Philippines have received their respective booster shots.

When it comes to the unvaccinated who remain restricted until now, Alert Level 1 means liberty for them.  In the city of Parañaque, unvaccinated people are still restricted because there is no lifting of restrictions within the city even under Alert Level 2. Parañaque is one of four local government units (LGUs) where the unvaccinated remained restricted under Alert Level 2 and they are the only city in South Metro Manila to be so.

While Alert Level 1 is liberating, I urge all the people in the Philippines reading this to keep following health protocols. If you are still unvaccinated, I encourage you to get vaccinated for your health, your safety and for the good of the country. From this point on, we will see how the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) will respond to the Metro Manila Council’s (MMC) recommendation. Literally, the ball is now in the IATF’s side of the court.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about this recent news report? Do you believe that March 1, 2022 is the right time to start the implementation of Alert Level 1 all over Metro Manila? Do you believe that there are enough people who got vaccinated or boosted nationwide? Do you believe that the highly infectious Omicron variant is no longer a major problem?

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

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

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

Muntinlupa City extends Business Permit Renewal anew to March 31, 2022 without penalties

The City Government of Muntinlupa has announced another extension on the business permit renewal period up to March 31, 2022.

Muntinlupa Business Permits and Licensing Office has posted on its Facebook page regarding the extension of the assessment and payment of Business Permit Renewal.

“Per City Ordinance No. 2022-318, the deadline for both the assessment and payment of Business Permit Renewal is extended up to March 31, 2022. Renew your business permits now to avoid penalties,” BPLO noted.

Meanwhile, all transactions are now back at City Hall. Previously, taxpayers proceed to Muntinlupa Business Permit Renewal Hub located at Muntinlupa Sports Center, Brgy. Tunasan.

The extension has been approved by the City Council and Mayor Jaime Fresnedi following the request of BPLO. The licensing office noted the economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic to the taxpayers.

BPLO added that the initiative aims to help taxpayers who “may not be able to immediately comply with the mandatory documents which are the basis for the prudent and correct imposable taxes” due to the pandemic.

The extension covers payment of all local taxes, fees and other charges without penalty.

Further, business owners may renew their business permit online via the Business E-payment System (BESt) which can be accessed thru Muntinlupa City official website (www.muntinlupacity.gov.ph).

Muntinlupa BEST is an online platform which allows locators to accomplish business permit applications and transactions through any internet-enabled device. Taxpayers can accomplish transactions including application for New Business Permit, Renewal of Business Permit, Application Status Inquiry, Billing and Payment, and Payment History.

Another option for business locators is the Business Permit Application Self-Service (BPASS) kiosks which are located across the city’s major malls.

Business permits may also be delivered by the city government’s official courier service partner, Keridelivery Inc, to the doorstep of business owners.

Mayor Fresnedi thanked the taxpayers for their continued support in doing their part for the recovery of the city and the local economy.

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The above information was sourced from an official press release. Some parts were changed for this website.

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

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

COVID-19 Crisis: Philippine economy expected to grow 6% to 7% this year

Even though there are lots of news reports and social media updates about the current COVID-19 surge here in the Philippines, there is still the expectation that the national economy will grow 6% to 7% this year, according to an article published by the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

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

The Philippine economy is expected to return to its 6 to 7-percent growth trajectory in 2022 after nearly two years of grappling with the pandemic despite the threat of the Omicron variant, according to the investment banking arm of the Metrobank Group.

First Metro Investment Corporation (FMIC) said this year’s economic growth will be driven by sustained domestic demand, easing inflation, election expenditures, and accelerated government spending on infrastructure projects.

“Notwithstanding the ongoing pandemic, and Omicron sparking the third wave of infections, we are still optimistic that Philippine growth will further accelerate and get back on its trajectory of 6-7 percent in 2022,” FMIC president Jose Patricio Dumlao said in a virtual briefing Tuesday.

Dumlao said the economy registered a 4.9-percent growth in the first three quarters of 2021 and the growth momentum likely spilled over in the fourth quarter given further economic reopening and easing mobility restrictions.

He added business and consumer confidence are also cautiously positive given wider availability of vaccines and relaxation of lockdowns, quarantine measures, and mobility restrictions.

University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) economist Dr. Victor Abola said the 6 to 7 percent gross domestic product (GDP) projection this year will be led by the industry sector –both construction and manufacturing.

Abola said services will still be the lagging sector as the pandemic measures hit hotels and restaurants.

“The Philippine situation is that there is recovery but still on the way to reach the pre-pandemic levels,” he said.

The country’s GDP posted a -9.5 percent full-year growth rate in 2020 compared to its 5.9 percent pre-pandemic performance in 2019.

Abola said the business process outsourcing (BPO) is a major contributor to the resiliency of the economy amid the pandemic.

“And it’s not the same as usual call centers, etc. You can see there are new, emerging segments and that is what companies are focusing on,” he said, citing insurance, life sciences, healthcare, and data analytics, among others.

Aside from BPO revenues, FMIC chairman Francisco Sebastian said the overseas Filipino workers (OFW) remittances are boosting the economy.

It would be nice to see such economic expectations come true because the Philippines still has yet to recover the massive economic loss of 2020 (the first year of the pandemic). Apart from COVID-19 infections, there is also the factor of governance linked with declaring restrictions that can get in the way of economic recovery and make things harder for everyone. Do not forget the August 2021 sudden ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) declaration (additional reference here) and the ban on outdoor exercise within the national capital region that the Metro Manila Council (MMC) and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) are responsible for. There was also the national government’s flip-flop on declaring quarantine statuses of September 2021. Think about all the economic damage caused by those three developments!

With the May 2022 national and local elections coming, we can only hope that those in government – especially the Metro Manila local government units – will set aside their egos and make decisions wisely. The nation’s economy cannot afford another massive lockdown as well!

With regards to the Omicron variant that was believed to be a factor behind the current COVID-19 surge around the country, the authorities should seriously consider acquiring a lot more Sputnik vaccines (for more on Sputnik vaccines effectiveness against Omicron variant, click here and here).

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Do you think that the Philippine economy will grow 6% to 7% this year even though there is a COVID-19 surge of new infections happening? Do you believe that government officials will do better in making hard decisions related to the current surge?

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

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

Better than Streaming: Let’s help the local cinema industry recover from its massive loss

It’s been two days since cinemas around Metro Manila officially reopened which is a welcome move not because I personally want to watch movies on the big screen inside the theater but because the local cinema industry will contribute to the economic recovery of our nation from this ongoing COVID-19 crisis. That being said, I urge you readers – who got fully vaccinated locally – who love watching movies to take time out to support the local cinema operators and their employees by visiting their venues, buying tickets over the counter and watch movies on the big screen while following the local health protocols (note: local cinemas have invested a lot in making their venues safe and sanitized).

Be reminded that streaming will NEVER match the grandeur and immersion of the cinema! The cinema is always better than streaming. Movie venue choices aside, local moviegoers now have the opportunities to watch A Quiet Place Part II  and the big blockbuster Dune (2021).

Going back to the topic of economic recovery, there is no doubt that the COVID-19 crisis combined with all the restrictions imposed by the local, regional and nation authorities brought down the national economy in 2020 along with all the economic sectors and the employees. All of these also translate into a major loss of tax revenue for the local governments, provincial governments and the national government.

In the case of the local cinema industry, the shutdown of cinemas since the pandemic started in March 2020 resulted a huge, collective industry loss of revenue according to a BusinessWorld report. I’m talking about many BILLIONS of Pesos lost!

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt of the BusinessWorld report. Some parts in boldface…

The cinema industry had P19 billion in foregone revenue from March 2020 to September this year, Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) Chairperson Mary Liza Diño-Seguerra said in a Teams video interview.

The loss had ballooned to P21 billion as of Oct. 11, Charmaine N. Bauzon, president of Cinema Exhibitors Association of the Philippines, told PTV News.

Local government units, which charge 10% amusement tax per movie ticket, lost P1.09 million daily from the country’s more than a thousand movie screens, according to estimates by the National Tax Research Center.

“We earned P11.5 billion yearly from the box office [before the pandemic],” Ms. Seguerra said. “We sold about 52 million tickets each year.”

Cinema operators get 50% of ticket sales, while the other half goes to producers, who then give as much as a quarter to the distributor, who’s in charge of marketing and distributing the film to the public.

Last year, cinemas in areas under a more relaxed quarantine made a measly P327,000, Ms. Seguerra said.

Take note that before the pandemic started, the local cinema industry as a whole had a work force of 300,000 employees and those who lost their jobs and income really suffered. In the City of San Juan, the Manila Bulletin reported about the reopening of local cinemas there with Mayor Francis Zamora issuing statements and leading the inspection on the venues. Posted below is an excerpt from the Manila Bulletin article.

San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora led the inspection of cinemas in the city starting with the Greenhills Promenade Cinema.

Zamora inspected the health and safety protocols of the cinema such as the disinfection process of the establishment and the procedure of buying the tickets, which can be done before entry to the cinema or online, new seating arrangements with strict physical distancing, and the guidelines of actual movie viewing under the new normal.

I know how Filipinos miss watching movies in silver screens which have been shut down for almost two years due to the pandemic, but now the long wait is over. With the approval of the IATF, we are allowing the opening of our cinemas in the city, provided that we take extra care and observe stringent protocols as we are still facing threats of COVID-19 despite the easing of restrictions to Alert Level 2,” Zamora said.

I want to personally make sure that our cinemas in San Juan will be safe for all of us, not only for the moviegoers but for the employees of these establishments as well,” he added.

During Alert Level 2, the operational capacity of several businesses has been increased to accommodate more customers. It has also eased down quarantine restrictions in various indoor establishments and recreational venues including movie houses and cinemas.

Under the Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) guidelines, cinemas can accommodate up to 50 percent of its maximum venue capacity, but only those who are fully vaccinated will be allowed entry into the cinemas.

For added insight, posted below are two news videos for your viewing…

Going back to choices of movies, be aware that opening soon locally in cinemas are Black Widow (November 17) and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (November 24). For those who prefer Philippine movies, the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) will return to cinemas next month!

Once I again, I urge you readers based in Metro Manila and in nearby provinces who got fully vaccinated to come out to support our local cinema operators and make a contribution to economic recovery as you enjoy watching on the big screen again.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Now that cinemas within Metro Manila have reopened, are you planning to revisit them and watch movies on the big screens anytime soon? Does Dune (2021) interest you a lot? When was the last time you saw a movie inside the movie theater? Do you realize that as a paying customer, what you pay helps not only movie producers and cinema operators but also their employees and the varied government units (that collect amusement taxes)?

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

If you wish to join a group of movie enthusiasts and talk about cinema, visit the Movie Fans Worldwide Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/322857711779576

COVID-19 Crisis: OCTA Research favors the suggestion about not requiring moviegoers to wear face shields inside the cinemas

Here in metropolitan Manila in the Philippines, local cinemas are set to reopen on November 10, 2021 which will be a very important day for the cinema operators and their respective employees as the restrictions related to lockdown and the current COVID-19 crisis kept them closed since March 2020. For updates about Metro Manila cinemas, I encourage you to follow the Cinema Exhibitors Association of the Philippines (CEAP) Facebook page.

As the reopening of Metro Manila cinemas gets closer, it was reported by the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) that the OCTA Research group favors the suggestion that the wearing of face shields inside cinema should NOT be required as such things are not only uncomfortable but will surely make movie viewing an unpleasant experience. Take note that only fully vaccinated people (those who got vaccinated with two doses of most brands of COVID-19 vaccines) will be allowed to pay and enter cinemas (limited to 30% seating capacity) under the rules of Alert Level 3. Alert Level 3 in Metro Manila was recently extended.

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

The OCTA Research said Tuesday it supports the suggestion on not requiring the wearing of face shields in cinemas.

For OCTA Research fellow Guido David, watching movies will not be enjoyable if the audience will be required to wear face shields. He noted that removing the requirement of wearing face shields in cinemas was also brought up in a forum.

We should still wear face masks, but face shields, that’s a different topic. That can be discussed, because in fact we were in a Go Negosyo forum and they were discussing about removing the requirement for face shields in theaters because it actually makes sense. If you go to a theater, it would not be an enjoyable experience if you are wearing a face shield,” Guido told ABS-CBN News Channel’s Headstart.

Asked if he supports removing the requirement of wearing face shields in cinemas, David said: “We would support it because I think the move is to allow only vaccinated people to enter theaters.

The reopening of cinemas was earlier allowed in Metro Manila as the region shifted to Alert Level 3. However, only fully vaccinated people will be allowed in theaters with an indoor seating capacity of 30 percent.

From this point on, we will find out soon enough how the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Metro Manila Council (MMC) will react to what OCTA Research declared about face shields inside the cinemas.

Whatever their reactions will be, I urge Metro Manila readers among you my readers to support the local cinemas not simply for the sake of just supporting the cinema operators and their employees, but also to practice your freedom of choice for entertainment on the big screen!

If you want the best value for your money when returning to the cinemas starting November 10, I would suggest watching Dune (2021) in an IMAX cinema as that movie has scenes shot with IMAX cameras. The visual spectacle captured can be fully enjoyed on an IMAX screen and there is absolutely no way such greatness will be seen via streaming. In short, if you want the best Dune viewing experience, screw HBO Go, screw HBO Max, screw the pirates and go watch the film in the local IMAX cinema. For the residents of South Metro Manila reading this, the nearest IMAX cinema is inside SM Southmall in Las Piñas City. Better start making inquiries via social media now if you really want the IMAX experience.

Whatever your choice of movie or local cinema, I suggest you check out the most updated listing of movies and schedules. The cinematic viewing experience is always better than streaming. Don’t forget to check updates from CEAP.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about this latest development? Are you excited to return to the local cinema to watch movies with the big screen experience once again? Do you think the MMDA and Metro Manila mayors will make new moves to hamper the cinematic experience of moviegoers or even hamper the scheduled reopening of local cinemas? When was the last time you saw a movie inside the cinema? When was the last time you saw any movie inside the IMAX cinema?

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: A new attempt to reopen cinemas in Metro Manila under Alert Level system

It has been so long since the cinemas in Metro Manila have been closed and have not screened any new films since the start of the pandemic which negatively affected the local cinema industry’s operators and their employees. 300,000 employees to be precise.

Early this year, Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) announced that it has allowed a variety of businesses around the Philippines to resume operations to recover from the COVID-19 crisis and cinemas were among those businesses. However the mayors of Metro Manila opposed the decision and according to the Manila Times’ news report, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Benhur Abalos noted that “movie theaters are enclosed and air-conditioned spaces where people stay for more than 30 minutes, conditions that increase the risk of coronavirus transmission.” Abalos lamented that there was this fear of a possible spike in COVID-19 infection if cinemas were allowed to reopen. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) issued a memorandum calling for the reopening of cinemas in GCQ (general community quarantine) areas starting March 5, 2021 but the said businesses remain closed.

That was back then and by now, many millions of residents of Metro Manila have been vaccinated for COVID-19, many businesses went through the Safety Seal program and a new system of community control has been implemented. Since the pandemic started, cinemas in Metro Manila were shut down with the exception of some cinemas that were turned into temporary venues for COVID-19 vaccination.

Now there is renewed hope for Metro Manila cinema operators and their employees as the Manila Bulletin reported that the IATF will discuss reopening cinemas under the Alert Level system.

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

Malacañang said the government’s pandemic task force is set to discuss the possible reopening of cinemas in areas under the Alert Level 3, part of the new system being implemented in Metro Manila response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after the Cinema Exhibitors Association of the Philippines (CEAP) appealed to the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to allow the limited operations of cinemas under the Alert Level 4.

In his press briefing on Thursday, October 7, Roque said that the IATF will discuss the reopening of cinemas but not in areas under Alert Level 4.

“Ang alam ko po nasa agenda ‘yan mamaya ng IATF pero ang pagbubuaks po na pag-uusapan po ay Level 3, hindi Level 4 (I know it’s part of the agenda of the IATF later but the reopening that will be discussed will be in Alert Level 3, not Level 4),” he said.

Under the current guidelines for the pilot implementation of the Alert Levels System for COVID-19 response in Metro Manila, cinemas will be allowed to operate at a maximum of 50 percent venue capacity under Alert Level 2.

In February this year, the IATF allowed the reopening of traditional cinemas in areas under the general community quarantine (GCQ) but Metro Manila mayors opposed this decision in fear that it may trigger superspreader events.

In a Facebook post, the CEAP appealed to the IATF to allow the reopening of cinemas, ensuring that the industry values the health and well-being of its employees and moviegoers.

According to CEAP, the cinema industry has ensured that all employees are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The group likewise said that a number of cinemas have been awarded the Safety Seal Certification by their local government units (LGUs) which affirms that they are compliant with the minimum health standards set by the government.

The Manila Bulletin report ended mentioning that theater managers have gone through occupational safety and health training.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Do you believe it is high time for cinemas in Metro Manila to reopen now that many millions of people in the metropolis have been vaccinated for COVID-19 and a lot of businesses have made efforts to meet the requirements of health protocols (and the Safety Seal program)? Do you believe that the MMDA and the Metro Manila Council (MMC) actually care about the state of the 300,000 employees of the nation’s cinema industry? Do you think Abalos and the Metro Manila mayors will still make decisions out of fear as far as movie theaters are concerned?

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: DTI Secretary Lopez pushes for easing of protocols for fully vaccinated people

Previously, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez proposed to allow vaccinated people to dine in food-and-beverage joints as well as enter the personal care service establishments during the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ). This past weekend, the Philippine News Agency (PNA) reported that the DTI Secretary is back and called for the easing of protocols for people who have been fully vaccinated and Metro Manila could be the region to have such moves pilot tested within.

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

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez has endorsed tweaking of community quarantine protocols by allowing more mobility for fully vaccinated individuals.

During President Rodrigo Duterte’s Talk to the People aired over the weekend, Lopez told Duterte that “it is about time to change our protocol” in terms of easing some restrictions for the vaccinated population.

“We were discussing the need to have (a) different approach in terms of solving Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019); not just lockdowns,” he said in mixed English and Filipino.

The DTI chief said under the new protocol, fully vaccinated individuals could be allowed in restricted economic activities, such as dine-in services in restaurants and personal care services.

He said this would allow safe reopening of the economy as fully vaccinated people have protection against the Covid-19.

People with complete vaccines are unlikely to develop severe to critical Covid-19, he added.

These are labor intensive. These sectors, there are 2 million individuals employed in dine-in restaurants. In salons, there are around 400,000. This is nationwide,” Lopez said.

The trade official said this could be pilot tested in Metro Manila, as the National Capital Region has more than 50 percent of its eligible population for Covid-19 vaccines already got their jabs.

The above article ended stating that the guidelines of the protocol are being finalized. It is very clear that lockdown and restrictions on businesses result a massive loss of income and a rise on unemployment. The DTI Secretary’s proposal is part of an effort to ensure that the Philippine economy will recover and rebound, and if you have been paying close attention to the number of Metro Manila cities that have been vaccinating their patients, there are now millions of fully vaccinated people in the National Capital Region (NCR) combined. In the City of Las Piñas alone, their fully vaccinated patients had reached almost 315,000 as of September 11, 2021. In Muntinlupa City, the number of fully vaccinated patients is almost 200,000.

You travel along Aguirre Avenue inside BF Homes subdivision and you will see lots of restaurants, coffee shops and personal care service providers located along the long road. A lot of them have been struggling because of the prohibition on customers from entering and spending time inside those business joints. You go to Filinvest City in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, and search for a place to have a nice meal at only to be disappointed that you cannot dine inside and will have to order for take-out. Take-out and delivery are the current options that food-and-beverage joints have when it comes to serving their customers but those options are not good enough to help them survive. For me, DTI Secretary Lopez’s proposal makes sense and it will help not only the struggling businesses and the unemployed, but also improve economic activity.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about Secretary Lopez’s latest move? Do you believe it is time to ease the protocols with the many millions of fully vaccinated people in Metro Manila?

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: Guidelines on localized lockdowns in NCR ‘provisionally’ approved by IATF

Are you still disappointed over the extended MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine) in Metro Manila which was the result of the recent flip-flop by the national authorities? You definitely are not alone as Marikina City’s mayor spoke out against the national government for their flip-flop and the Metro Manila mayors plus the MMDA (Metropolitan Manila Development Authority) issued a resolution urging Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to consider easing the COVID-19 guidelines for fully vaccinated people in the National Capital Region (NCR).

The current MECQ will last until September 15 and we should not be surprised to see changes happening on the 16th as the IATF “provisionally” approved guidelines on the pilot implementation of granular lockdowns in Metro Manila according to an article published by the Philippine News Agency (PNA). Speaking of granular lockdown, take note what happened in a certain locked down residential community in Parañaque City.

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

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has “provisionally” approved the guidelines on the pilot implementation of granular lockdowns in Metro Manila, Malacañang announced on Friday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, also acting as IATF-EID spokesperson, said the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) policy shift would only impose either the strictest enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) or the general community quarantine (GCQ) with four alert levels in Metro Manila.

“Sang-ayon po dito sa policy shift na gagawin natin, dalawa na lang ang quarantine classifications. Ito po ang ECQ na ipapataw ng IATF o ‘di naman kaya ay GCQ (Based on the policy shift that we will carry out, there will only be two quarantine classifications. These are the ECQ that will be imposed by the IATF or the GCQ),” Roque said in a virtual presser.

He said the localized lockdown that would be pilot-tested in Metro Manila has four levels.

The IATF-EID is still ironing out the details on the implementation of alert level 4, the strictest level, Roque said.

Roque said all areas that would be placed under an alert level system should follow the protocols that are consistent with their alert levels and issued by the National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19.

The classification of pilot areas and their alert levels will also be done weekly, unless otherwise specified, he added.

“Lahat po ng areas ay magpapatupad po ng granular lockdowns, sang-ayon po sa guidelines ng NTF. Ang pagkakaiba po nito, itong lockdowns na ito ay mas strikto (All areas will implement granular lockdowns, based on the guidelines of the NTF. The difference is these lockdowns are stricter),” Roque said.

With the implementation of stricter granular lockdowns, health and allied health professionals are the only ones who will be considered Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APOR), he said, noting that government workers in areas under localized lockdown would not be allowed to go out.

“‘Yun pong mga taong gobyerno ay hindi makakapagtrabaho kapag kayo po ay nasa ilalim ng localized lockdown. Hindi kayo pupuwedeng lumabas (Government workers will not be allowed to go out if their areas are under localized lockdown. They cannot go out),” Roque said.

He, however, assured that local government units and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) would provide assistance to households that might be affected by the implementation of granular lockdowns.

“Magbibigay na po ng ayuda ang lokal na pamahalaan at ang DSWD para po hindi na kinakailangang lumabas ng kahit na sino sa mga lugar na naka-granular lockdown (Local governments and the DSWD will give assistance so residents of areas under granular lockdown would no longer need to leave their homes),” he said.

Roque did not mention when the pilot implementation of localized lockdowns would commence.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about the new guidelines for granular lockdown? Do you believe that the plan of using 4 alert levels for GCQ will cause a lot of confusion? Do you think that the national authorities will be able to finalize and issue the new guidelines before September 15?

How many people do you personally know lost their jobs because of the most recent flip-flop by the IATF resulting the extended MECQ? Do you believe that the IATF, the Metro Manila Council and the MMDA are paying sufficient attention to economic matters like job losses and the affected employees’ loss of income?

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