COVID-19 Crisis: DTI calls for gradual shift to Alert Level 1

Are you tired of living with restrictions and government overreach these past two years as a result of the COVID-19 crisis? A lot of people are not just tired of it but also frustrated as many of them saw their loss of income, losing their jobs, the closure of their businesses as well as an enormous negative impact on their lives. To manage the people living under the pandemic all around the Philippines, an Alert Level system was established months ago as part of quarantine in relation to the number of new and active COVID-19 cases. Currently Metro Manila is under Alert Level 2, however in the City of Parañaque the restrictions on the unvaccinated are still in effect. Parañaque is one of four Metro Manila local government units (LGUs) that still have not lifted the restrictions on unvaccinated people while Metro Manila is placed under Alert Level 2.

For economic recovery and the uplifting of the country, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) called for the gradual shift to the looser and more business-friendly Alert Level 1, according to a GMA Network news report. It should be noted that new cases of COVID-19 infections have declined recently.

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

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on Wednesday backed the calls to downgrade the quarantine status of the country to Alert Level 1 to open more businesses and jobs amid the decreasing number of new COVID-19 infections.

In a Super Radyo dzBB interview, DTI Undersecretary Ruth Castelo said should the country (shift) to Alert Level 1, which is the lowest in the alert level system, it has to be done slowly as there is still the lingering threat of COVID-19.

“Kung mag Alert Level 1 tayo, na gusto din ni (DTI) Sec. Mon (Lopez) na mangyari pero dahan-dahan lang, nandiyan pa rin ‘yung virus. So, kailangan pa rin nating sundin lahat ng health protocols,” she said.

(If we shift to Alert Level 1, which Sec. Mon wants to happen, it should be done slowly because the virus is still there. So, we still need to follow all the health protocols.)

Currently, the National Capital Region (NCR) and several provinces are under Alert Level 2 from February 1 to 15.

Under Alert Level 2, certain establishments and activities are allowed at 50% capacity indoors for fully vaccinated adults and minors, and 70% capacity outdoors, even if unvaccinated.

Meanwhile, under Alert Level 1, all establishments, persons, or activities, are allowed to operate, work, or be undertaken at full on-site or venue/seating capacity provided it follows minimum health standards. This, however, excludes areas under granular lockdown.

Castelo said about 1.5 million businesses in the country can operate at full capacity if the quarantine restrictions are further eased, thus allowing more people to return to work.

“Pagka nag-100% na, full capacity na lahat ng negosyo, lahat nung nagtatrabaho before COVID, ‘yun na din ang makakabalik ngayon,” she said.

(If the businesses are at 100% or at full capacity, all employees working before the pandemic could go back to work now.)

When several areas in the country, including the NCR, moved from Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 2, the DTI estimated that around 100,000 to 200,000 employees got back to work. That is an addition of almost 16,000 workers weekly, Castelo said.

It would be nice to see the shift to Alert Level 1 actually happen as it means better economic recovery, more employment and a healthier society. I personally want the government-imposed restrictions on businesses and on people removed. Remember the sudden ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) in Metro Manila that happened last August followed by the ban on outdoor exercise? A lot of people got frustrated with those two Metro Manila unfortunate developments months ago. Observe closely how the Metro Manila mayors and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) behave and make decisions. Oh yes, Benhur Abalos is no longer MMDA chairman.

Meanwhile, vaccination programs and COVID-19 testing are being organized most of the time and the more people get vaccinated, the better for the nation and its economic recovery. It would be great for the Philippines to acquire more Sputnik Light and Sputnik V vaccines as they have proven to be effective in protecting people from the infectious Omicron variant. Very recently, Sputnik Light has been approved for use in India and that is something the national government’s officials should seriously consider for acquiring more vaccines for the entire Philippines.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about the DTI’s call for the gradual adjustment into the looser Alert Level 1? Do you think the national government as well as local government units (LGUs) have gotten too far with governing and managing us people? Do you think that the more people get vaccinated, the more our country will overcome this pandemic?

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

Micro and small business owners can apply for government loans for 13th month pay

Christmas is gradually approaching here in the Philippines. That being said, the 13th month pay will be released to employees during the month of December, specifically before December 24. As the COVID-19 crisis brought the national economy down in 2020, its effects combined with lockdown and restrictions implemented by varied authorities (example: the surprise Metro Manila ECQ of August 2021) are still felt by economic stakeholders and lots of businesses continue to struggle to survive.

The release of the 13th month pay is indeed the next challenge for businesses to do. Fortunately for the micro and small business owners, they can come to the national government to start applying for loans with the 13th month pay in mind, according to a Philippine News Agency (PNA) report.

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

Micro and small enterprises that are having difficulty in giving the 13th-month pay of their employees can apply for a government loan, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a statement on Sunday.

The Labor chief made the call as he reminded employers that the grant of 13th-month pay is mandated by law. He, however, assured establishments that are still struggling amid the reopening of the economy of the government’s support through the Small Business Corporation (SBCorp).

“Let me remind the employers that the grant of 13th-month pay is mandatory. We issued a Labor Advisory where we maintained that no exemption and no deferment will be allowed on the payment of the 13th-month pay. So, with this loan facility from SB Corporation, there is no more reason to not give the 13th-month pay,” Bello said during the ceremonial launch of the loan program with the Department of Trade and Industry and its financing arm, SBCorp on Friday.

As of Nov. 12, a total of 25 loan applications amounting to PHP5.052 million were already approved by SBCorp.

Qualified borrowers are the owners of micro and small enterprises that have implemented flexible work arrangements and registered under the DOLE Establishment Reporting System as of Oct. 15, 2021.

The loan program can cover up to 40 employees per establishment and the loanable amount is at PHP12,000 per current employee.

It is a zero-interest rate, no collateral loan that is payable in 12 months, inclusive of the three-month grace period.

“I encourage our employers, especially yung mga nahihirapan pa (hard up firms), to avail of this facility so that they can comply with the mandate to pay our workers with what is due them, especially this Christmas season,” Bello said.

The above article ended stating that micro and small business owners may apply for the loans at www.bayanihancares.ph

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you a micro or small business owner struggling to come up with ways to raise funds to pay the 13th month funds to your employees? Have you prepared yourselves to apply for the loans announced by the government? How hard has the lockdown and the set of restrictions been to your business operations this year?

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@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: More than 100% of target population of NCR vaccinated with at least one dose

The national authorities recently announced than more than 100% of the target population of the National Capital Region (NCR) here in the Philippines got vaccinated with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine according to the report of the Philippine News Agency (PNA). Keep in mind that Metro Manila is home to many millions of people and is the hot spot of nation’s economy as it is also home of many corporations and employers.

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

Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. on Thursday said about 102.86 percent of the National Capital Region (NCR)’s target population have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine.

Galvez, who is also the chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19, said more than 8.8 million individuals or 90.75 percent of the Metro Manila’s target population are now fully vaccinated against the dreaded disease.

He expressed confidence that the 17 local government units (LGUs) in NCR will be able to fully vaccinate their respective target populations, including children ages 12 to 17, by the end of the year.

Galvez said Metro Manila is among the priority regions that receive the bulk of vaccine supply, with more than 20 million doses were deployed to its local governments as of Nov. 8.

“These deliveries are directly proportional to the current vaccination output of the region, which has already inoculated 102.86 percent of its target population with at least one dose,” he added.

He lauded the Metro Manila mayors for “this another milestone” in the country’s vaccination program.

“This proves that we remain on track with our vaccination targets. Truly, nothing is impossible if we all work together. A better Christmas is now at hand,” he said.

Galvez also noted that the increasing throughput of the vaccination program has contributed to the continuous decline of Covid-19 cases in all areas nationwide.

He added the vaccination drive has helped in the growth rebound of the country’s economy up to 7.1 percent during the third quarter, despite the six weeks strict lockdowns.

“Our next goal is to start and sustain the opening up of our classes to protect our children’s future and development. We need to vaccinate our students and teachers before the end of this year,” he said.

The government remains firm in its goal to complete the vaccination of at least 54 million Filipinos before end-December.

As of Thursday, the country has administered a total of 66,816,976 doses of coronavirus vaccines with 30,478,899 Filipinos are now fully vaccinated.

Based on the latest data from the National Covid-19 vaccination dashboard, the country’s average daily vaccination rate in the last seven days has increased to 780,290 doses, compared to 647,580 doses in the previous week.

Galvez earlier said the government is now scaling up the vaccination program with the steady arrival of bigger vaccine deliveries.

While the above is positive news, there is still the challenge for the national, the regional and local authorities to vaccinate the real population (more than the target population) based on the latest census statistics per region and locality. That means not only vaccinating the minors aged 12 to 17 but also the younger ones in due time. How the authorities will be able to achieve greater vaccination numbers without causing blunders or controversy remains to be seen. Overseas in the United States, the imposed vaccine mandate by the Biden administration is clearly an act of tyranny (read: Democrats and the Satanic Left love power, terror and fascism) against the people and the employers.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Does this latest news about make you feel hopeful about having a more joyful Christmas season with friends and family? Don’t you think that the 3rd quarter growth would have been much higher had there been no enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila this past August? Do you believe that your local government unit and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) can be trusted when it comes to vaccinating as many people as possible?

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 collective push to make face shields non-mandatory in Metro Manila

It has been days since Alert Level 2 was declared all over Metro Manila and the result was the increase presence of people – including minors – at the parks, the shopping malls and food-and-beverage joints. This past Sunday, I noticed more vehicles traveling north on the Metro Manila Skyway which I found surprising as Sunday traffic is normally light. Vaccination for COVID-19 in the metropolis continues to grow and the national average of daily new infections has been below 5,000 per day for some time now. Things are looking optimistic.

As for the face shields that local have been compelled to use for some time now, there is a collective push to make them non-mandatory in Metro Manila. For one thing, face shields make verbal communication harder (as people are already wearing face masks). Another thing is that face shields can be quite inconvenient, even uncomfortable to use whether outdoors or indoors. Surely the local believers of face shields keep on preaching that the said things provide greater protection from COVID-19 but does the rest of the world agree with them? Locally, the OCTA Research group expressed that face shields should not be required inside cinemas.

More recently, it seems that the mayors of Metro Manila and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) want to scrap the use of face shields (note: there will still be specific places that require face shields) and make their recommendation to the national authorities, the Manila Bulletin reported.

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

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will recommend to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) the scrapping of mandatory use of face shields in the National Capital Region following mutual agreement among Metro mayors.

MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos said Monday, Nov. 8, that the use of face shields will no longer be required except for “critical places.”

Critical areas, according to Abalos, are the hospitals, barangay health centers and public transportation.

“Ang napag-usapan namin sa faceshield number 1, ito yung isusugest ko sa IATF, na tanggalin na ho ang face shield hindi na gawing mandatory except for critical places (What we discussed about the faceshield was that the lifting of its mandatory use except for critical places. I would suggest that to the IATF),” Abalos said in a TeleRadyo interview when asked about what was Metro mayors’ say on removing the use of face shields.

Once approved by the IATF, the use of face shields will no longer be necessary in malls, Abalos added.

Last week, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Usec. Jonathan Malaya disclosed that DILG Sec. Año will be proposing to the IATF the lifting of the same policy as Metro Manila already deescalated to Alert Level 2 status.

For his part, Senator Manny Pacquiao expressed support on lifting the mandatory use of face shields, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported. Pacquiao, who is running for Philippine President, also expressed his awareness about economic recovery and lessening the burden people have been living with.  

Going back to the Metro Manila Council and the MMDA, it has been reported by GMA Network that a recommendation or an appeal will be submitted to the IATF. Take note that the IATF is the top authority on COVID-19 matters and policies here in the Philippines.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about this latest development? Do you think that the Metro Manila mayors and the MMDA, who are partly responsible for the August ECQ and even implemented a ban on outdoor exercise, are sincere about face shields right now? Are you sick and tired of being required to use face shields? What is the one thing you despised the most about face shields?

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

I Love Israel: Israel to host Filipino experts and share to them technologies and strategies to deal with COVID-19 more effectively

This past July, I blogged about the confirmation of the exchange of scientists between the Philippines and Israel which itself is related to the ongoing fight against COVID-19 and the development of ways to recover from the pandemic with regards to public health, society and the economy.

Very recently, the Philippine News Agency (PNA) reported that the State of Israel will push through with hosting Filipino experts and orient them with the ways and means on tackling COVID-19.

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

The Israeli government is looking forward to hosting a group of Filipino experts to share firsthand its strategies and technologies in effectively dealing with the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

The planned visit was revealed by Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines Ilan Fluss on Thursday during the “Dealing with Delta and other Pandemic Challenges Lessons” forum organized by the Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines.

Israel has innovations and quite a lot of new developments and we’d like to share (these) with the Philippines and this delegation, who we hope will visit this November. (They) would be able to see with their own eyes what are the opportunities and we’d be happy to share them,” he said.

Last July, a team of Israeli medical experts also visited Manila to share their success in the national vaccination campaign, which was followed by another group in August.

The second delegation gave their recommendations on ways to further improve systems and procedures in handling Covid-19 patients, including infection control protocols and hospital management.

Israel has been hailed for its rapid vaccination drive, successfully inoculating 70.7 percent of its population as of October 19.

It was also among the first countries to rollout booster shots after experiencing a dramatic increase in its Covid-19 cases last June and July despite the number of its fully vaccinated citizens.

Although the Delta outbreak is still not over, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett earlier said Israel is now starting to overcome this wave, giving credit to the country’s pandemic management strategies including the aggressive booster campaign and introduction of “green pass” for fully inoculated individuals to access events and facilities like cinemas, hotels, etc.

In the Thursday forum, infectious diseases and Covid-19 specialist Guy Chosen noted that booster shots have now become Israel’s “main mitigation tool” against the Delta variant.

“[W]e could continue and operate our commercial life, our cultural life, sports events, education system during the fourth Delta wave thanks to the rollout and effectiveness of the third dose, the booster campaign,” he said.

Citing a research published on medRxiv this October, Chosen said the rate of coronavirus infection and severe illness across all age groups was “substantially lower among those who received a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine.”

The above details are wonderful. Filipinos need all the help and expertise they can get from their Israeli counterparts. Take note that these past few months, things were hard for millions of residents of Metro Manila as they struggled under the decisions and tactics of the local, metropolitan and national authorities. I’m talking about the most recent enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila (favored by the Metro Manila mayors who even set terms for the national government to provide assistance) that took effect shortly after the general community quarantine (GCQ) was declared. There was also the sudden ban on outdoor exercise approved by Metro Manila’s mayors as well as the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) flip-flop that affected many in the metropolis which caused the mayor of Marikina City to react.

Since the sudden Metro Manila ECQ of August and the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) that followed, economic damage happened once again as people lost their jobs and income, and businesses struggled with the added difficulty as a result of the restrictions on capacity of customers and on their operations. Fortunately, a revision of the community quarantine and management happened using the alert levels approach which came into effect this past September.

Since October 16, 2021, the restrictions on Metro Manila were downgraded to Alert Level 3 and the result was more customers flocking to businesses which I personally witnessed in Muntinlupa City. Similar boost of economic activities, vehicular traffic and people moving around were also seen in other parts of the metropolis. As of this writing, things are looking better as the daily number of new COVID-19 infections went below 10,000 and more people got vaccinated. In recent times, the mayor of Las Piñas City stated that herd immunity is within reach based on their statistics on COVID-19 vaccination.

Going back to Israel, I am thankful to our Lord for their generosity and willingness to help the Philippines in the fight against COVID-19 as well as developing ways to recover from the effects of the pandemic. I hope that the authorities there in Israel will take a closer look at the situation of Metro Manila and examine how the top officials of the Metro Manila Council (MMC) and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) think and act when it comes to COVID-19. These local government and metropolitan authorities can use the help of Israel on managing people, their communities better than before.

As for the Filipino scientists who will be hosted by the State of Israel, our entire nation’s health is at stake and what they will learn will be crucial. For those reading this, I urge you to support Israel-Philippines relations.

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.

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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: More than 43,000 businesses certified with Safety Seals

Since its implementation months ago (click here, here and here) the Safety Seal certification program has covered a lot of business establishments and offices (including government). Recently, it was reported by the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that more than 43,000 business establishments nationwide have been certified safe as Safety Seals were issued to them. This is really good news because our nation badly needs economic recovery as a lot of workers lost their jobs and income as a result of the last enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) that happened in Metro Manila as well in other regions. The national economy has clearly been damaged not only by COVID-19 but also by the lockdowns (note: observe closely how the top officials of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and the Metro Manila Council think and act when making their recommendations to the IATF).

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

A total of 43,332 public and private establishments nationwide have been issued safety seal certifications, an assurance to the public that health protocols are put in place amid the quarantine restrictions.

The safety seal certification program indicates the compliance of establishments to the minimum public health standards (MPHS) set by the government.

In a news release issued Tuesday, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the certification program is beneficial to the country’s recovering economy as it boosts the confidence of consumers in going out and patronizing business in the new normal with the assurance that a business establishment is compliant with health protocols.

He encouraged more businesses to adopt the seal as an effective measure in curbing the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

Businesses can do their share in the fight against the pandemic and create a healthy space for consumers to transact their purchases and for employees to gainfully and safely earn a living,” Lopez said.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año told owners of establishments, especially those in areas under strict quarantine restrictions, to take the time to apply for a safety seal.

Applying for a Safety Seal is not mandatory. However, business establishments are highly encouraged to apply since this will also help them attract customers which eventually leads to increased sales and profit,” he said.

Since its implementation in May 2021, a total of 85,731 applications were received by the issuing agencies as reported by the Safety Seal Technical Working Group (TWG); 50.54 percent or 43,332 applications were approved while 11.50 percent or 9,858 applications were either denied or referred to the appropriate agency.

The remaining percentage represents those that are still in the inspection process.

“I commend and congratulate the establishments that have taken the lead in securing their Safety Seal certifications. This will build confidence that their respective companies are committed to ensuring the health and safety of their stakeholders and workers,” said Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.

Under the program, a business establishment is eligible to apply for a safety seal given that it is duly registered, adopting the Staysafe.ph app or any other local government unit-mandated digital contact tracing application and strictly following and implementing the MPHS.

“The implementation of the Safety Seal Program is a very laudable initiative that highly reinforces our country’s response to combat Covid-19. As we gradually reopen our economy, it is important to ensure that our people are safe, and adherence to Minimum Public Health Standards is one vital key to this aspect,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) also reaches out to tourism establishment owners to get the seal.

“The Safety Seal certification program bodes well with the DOT’s priority to ensure the health and safety of both tourists and tourism workers. Let us continue to make travel fun and safe for all,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

The Safety Seal Technical Working Group assured the public that the government exerts the best efforts with a whole-of-government and whole-of-society coordination in support of the Inter-Agency Task Force’s Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate (PDITR) strategy.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: As a consumer, are you confident that economic recovery will happen over the next twelve months? Are there still many business joints in your local community that are operating without Safety Seals? Do you believe that the MMDA and the Metro Manila Council should be held accountable for every job lost as a result of their recommending ECQ to the IATF?

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 keeps pushing on for businesses to be open on all alert levels

The road to full economic recovery during this COVID-19 pandemic remains rough and bumpy as the national and local authorities continue to struggle between health and economics. The last enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila were very damaging to the economy as a whole. Fortunately for the businesses and the employees, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) continues to push hard for economic recovery as a new proposal was made to allow all businesses to remain open at all alert levels with varying limits on capacity according to a recent Philippine News Agency (PNA) report.

From September 16 to September 30, 2021, Metro Manila was placed under Alert Level 4 of the new system of quarantine (which includes granular lockdowns) and during this particular period, businesses were literally given some breathing room as personal care service joints and restaurants were allowed accommodate vaccinated customers to spend time inside their respective locations but with specific limits on in-door capacity. DTI is pushing for something better economically.

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

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is proposing to allow all businesses to remain open at all alert levels but varying operating capacities.

The idea is business activities, economic activities should continue at all alert levels and you just change the operating capacity. So at least there is still (business) continuity,” DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said in an interview with ABS CBN News Channel (ANC) Thursday.

He added that operating capacity should be reduced when an area reached Alert Level 4.

Under Alert Level 4, indoor dine-in and personal care services are allowed at 10 percent capacity for fully vaccinated customers only, while outdoor dine-in and personal care services can operate up to 30 percent operating capacity.

“So there’s containment, there are a bit of more restrictions, but at least you allow the business activities to continue,” Lopez added.

The trade chief is also hopeful that the alert level system in Metro Manila will ease to Alert Level 3 starting Friday.

Lopez said some 76,000 to 80,000 businesses did not operate even under the alert level system since the current protocol does not allow some sectors to operate.

Moreover, he said DTI is pushing for the inclusion of gym operations in Alert Level 4 considering that fitness clubs and centers are essential businesses.

“We’ve been arguing that exercise is really one vital activity to increase their immunity level. In fact, they allowed outdoor exercise at all levels. We were just saying, for indoors, we just manage it,” Lopez said.

Lopez said the DTI stands ready to assist enterprises as the agency continues to offer financing packages to businesses affected by the pandemic.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about the DTI’s latest move to improve the economic situation? If you are a business owner who has at least ten employees to take care of, what do you think the DTI, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Metro Manila Council (MMC) should do to make things better for doing business in Metro Manila? Do you believe that the people responsible for the last ECQ and MECQ in Metro Manila cared about hot issues like unemployment, loss of income and business closures?

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: Marikina City Mayor speaks out against national government over flip-flop related to extended MECQ for Metro Manila

Someone had to speak out about the unpleasant surprise that affected us Metro Manila residents and stakeholders. This is about the most recent flip-flop that the national government committed regarding quarantine control over the National Capital Region (NCR) and Marikina City Mayor Marcy Teodoro slammed the national authorities which the Manila Bulletin thankfully magnified by reporting about it.

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

Marikina City Mayor Marcelino “Marcy” Teodoro slammed the national government on Wednesday for its last minute decision to defer placing the National Capital Region (NCR) under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) and retained it under the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) until September 15.

“Tingin ko, hindi lang mga negosyante ang nagalit, madami ding mga mayor ang nagalit. Dapat may kahandaan talaga at hindi magdulot ng kalituhan sa ating mga kababayan yung mga ganitong pangyayari (I think not only the businessmen were angry about the decision, even the mayors were also infuriated. There should always be preparedness in these situations to avoid confusion),” Teodoro said in an interview with DZBB Wednesday morning.

“Tandaan natin, Inter-Agency Task Force ito, IATF, naririto na lahat ng departmental agencies operating at the secretary’s level kaya dapat kung may mga pahayag, dapat maging malinaw ang mga ito. Pangalawa, yung mga guidelines, yung mga implementing mechanisms nito kung papano ipapatupad ay malinaw, at hindi lang sa malinaw, kundi napapanahon dapat ang pagpapatupad (Remember, this is an inter-agency task force. All departmental agencies operating at the secretary’s level are here, that’s why all announcements should be clear. Second, all guidelines and implementing mechanisms should be clear, and not just clear, but timely as well),” he added.

Teodoro said Metro Manila mayors, as well as the IATF, held a meeting yesterday regarding the quarantine classification of Metro Manila.

“Hanggang kahapon nung magmeeting kami ng umaga, nagsimula ang meeting ng alas nueve ng umaga hanggang alas dose, ala una, eh hinihingi nga namin yung malinaw na guidelines, pero wala pang maibigay sa amin. May naibigay na draft, pero hindi pirmado (Yesterday, we had a meeting that started at 9 a.m. and lasted until 12 or 1 p.m. We were asking for the clear guidelines. However, they did not give us any. They just provided us with a draft, and it was not even signed),” Teodoro said.

“Tapos, after two hours, eh nabalitaan namin na nagkaroon ng meeting ng mga alas tres ng hapon na nag emergency meeting ang IATF at hindi na nakausap muli ang mayors buhat noon (After two hours, we found out that the IATF held an emergency meeting at three in the afternoon, but the mayors were left out),” he added.

Teodoro said all the mayors were asking for are clear guidelines for the GCQ with granular lockdown system’s implementation because a lot of preparation are needed for it, especially in terms of manpower and logistics.

“Narinig nalang namin yung pahayag sa media na (extended na ang MECQ) (We just heard the announcement in the media that the MECQ was extended),” Teodoro said.

Wow! The details in the above excerpt are quite revealing! The Metro Manila mayors met with the IATF and the latter provided the local government heads an unsigned draft in response to the request for guidelines. Then the IATF had an emergency meeting leaving the mayors out. Something seems fishy and the Mayor of Marikina City had the courage to reveal publicly what exactly happened.

For the newcomers reading this, Metro Manila was supposed to revert back to general community quarantine (GCQ) as announced by the national authorities and then the flip-flop happened shortly after. As I mentioned before, businesses and their employees in the food-and-beverage sector as well as those in the personal care services sector have been negatively affected by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) itself does not make life easier for them. And then there is the lack of an explanation from the national authorities about the flip-flop.

Already one local business was reported by CNN Philippines to have been affected negatively by the national authorities’ flip-flop. I encourage you to read the news article.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction about Marikina City Mayor Teodoro’s slamming of the government over the flip-flop? Do you think the IATF is working hard right now to prepare for the next announcement on community quarantine in Metro Manila? Are the members of your local community ready for a potential granular lockdown like what happened in Parañaque City?

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 in Metro Manila remains in effect until September 15 as GCQ gets deferred

Remember what happened this past August when general community quarantine (GCQ) for Metro Manila was announced only to be changed suddenly into the stricter enhanced community quarantine (ECQ)?

Such an unpleasant radical shift after making a big announcement of GCQ (September 8 to 30) struck again today as the national government clarified that Metro Manila will remain under modified enhanced community (MECQ) which will last until September 15, 2021.

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

The switch to a general community quarantine (GCQ) along with the pilot-testing of granular lockdowns in Metro Manila won’t push through on Sept. 8 after all.

This, as members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) appeared to struggle to come up with guidelines for the localized granular lockdowns a day before the scheduled implementation of the vaunted scheme Tuesday, Sept. 7.

“The [IATF] deferred the pilot implementation of the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) with Alert Levels System in the National Capital Region (NCR),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement to Malacañang reporters early Tuesday evening.

Metro Manila’s current risk classification as Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) shall be maintained until September 15, 2021, or until the pilot GCQ with Alert Level System is implemented, whichever comes first,” he said.

In his virtual press briefing past noon Tuesday, Roque said he was instructed at the last minute not to discuss the guidelines of the granular lockdown pending additional inputs from local government units (LGUs).

An IATF meeting was held at 3 p.m. to supposedly iron out the remaining kinks of the pilot-testing, but it instead resulted to the postponement of not just the granular lockdowns but the downgrading of the quarantine classification in NCR from the current MECQ to GCQ.

Roque had earlier said that under rather granular lockdown set-up, the different LGUs in the metropolis would be placed under varying “alert levels”.

“Having said this (maintening MECQ classification), indoor and al-fresco dine-in services, and personal care services including beauty salons, beauty parlors and nail spas shall remain prohibited,” Roque said in the same statement.

“Religious services, on the other hand, performed through online video recording and transmission shall be allowed,” he said.

So there you have it! The national authorities announced one thing and did something else. By this time, a lot of people have heard about the GCQ supposed to take effect today. What is frustrating apart from the flip-flop by the national authorities is that the affected businesses, the unemployed and the faithful who had been waiting to worship the Lord on-site in church venues have once again been put on-hold. In short, the frustration and long wait continues. With MECQ for Metro Manila extended, it’s time to focus on the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) proposal. It is also time to pray to our Lord to enlighten our government officials to do better and avoid making blunders at the expense of people.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Do you believe that the most recent GCQ announcement was badly done by the national authorities?

If you are a Metro Manila resident, do you trust your mayor or the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) or the IATF when it comes to making big, sweeping decisions that affect you and your family? Have you prayed to the Lord to enlighten all the government and community leaders so that they can do their jobs better and rightfully?

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