COVID-19 Crisis: ECQ in Metro Manila to be extended beyond August 20?

The Manila Bulletin reported yesterday that Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Benhur Abalos confirmed that he and the National Capital Region (NCR) mayors will meet very soon to talk about the possible extension of the ongoing enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) which itself was announced to last until August 20, 2021. Meanwhile, a GMA Network news report states that the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) expressed that a lockdown is not the remedy and that the reopening of the economy is necessary.

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

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benhur Abalos said he and the mayors of the National Capital Region (NCR) will discuss the possible extension of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) period in the metropolis this coming week.

Abalos made this revelation in an interview over DZBB radio on Sunday, Aug. 15.

“Martes or Miyerkules mag-uusap po kami, marami kang babalansehin diyan (We will talk either Tuesday or Wednesday, you have to balance a lot of things there),” said Abalos, who is the concurrent chair of the Metro Manila Council (MMC).

He said the factors that need to be considered in such talks are the number of those who will have no work as a result of the possible ECQ extension, the hospitalization rate for coroanvirus disease (COVID-19) cases, and the number of vaccinated persons in Metro Manila.

“Kasi kung mag-i-ECQ ka, ayuda nanaman yan eh (Another round of ECQ means another round of cash aid),” he pointed out.

Abalos reiterated in the interview that the mayor-members of MMC have yet to come to an agreement on whether or not to extend the imposition of ECQ, contrary to a news report over the weekend.

“Hindi pa po nag-uusap tungkol doon, pag-uusapan pa lang po (We haven’t talked about that yet, but we will),” he noted.

The report quoted MMC chair, Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez as saying that the local chief executives have agreed during a meeting to extend the ECQ up to Aug. 30. Abalos has denied this, saying that Olivarez was just misquoted.

In addition, Abalos and the Metro Manila mayors should be aware of the presence of the Lambda variant in the Philippines. For sure that will be discussed in their meeting.

Now, we focus on the economic side with this excerpt from the GMA news report. Some parts in boldface…

The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) on Saturday said reopening of the economy is necessary to prevent further economic damage and job losses, along with continued rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and adherence to health protocols.

“It’s time we learn that lockdown is not the remedy,” ECOP president Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. said in a statement.

“Let’s compromise, we have to think that the economy is more important and we have to live with COVID-19,” he said.

Ortiz-Luis made the statement amid speculations of possible extension of the two-week enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila after August 20.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez earlier said that the possibility of extending the ECQ in Metro Manila for another three weeks is not yet on the table, and talks of a five-week ECQ are mere rumors and disinformation.

Citing government estimates, Ortiz-Luis said lockdowns cost the economy P150 billion a week, or P300 billion for the two-week ECQ.

Further, he pointed out that the estimated lockdown losses are on top of business closures that lead to unemployment.

“It would have been much productive and useful to channel even a fifth of these losses to strengthen our healthcare system to address the cases and for prevention measures,” the ECOP chief said.

Ortiz-Luis, likewise, noted that the number of deaths related to the coronavirus is small compared to those who die due to other diseases, and even suicide and hunger.

He said there is thus a need to intensify monitoring of severe cases as a large majority of COVID-19 infections are asymptomatic.

“Let us not be fixated on the numbers. Instead, let us intensify and fast-track our vaccination.

“Let us not forget practicing health protocols and comply with quarantine classifications. Continue adding hospital rooms, facilities, COVID-19 centers…,” he said.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Do you think that the MMDA and the Metro Manila mayors will recommend an extension of the ECQ knowing that such a move will require another round of releasing cash aid/ayuda? Do you think the ECOP is correct with the economic damage estimates of P150 billion per week of lockdown?

Within your city of residence, are you satisfied with the way that your local government and its partners are organizing the registration, set-ups and COVID-19 vaccination operations?

Did you hear the recent news about a fully vaccinated patient (two doses in Mandaluyong City) who somehow got a third shot of COVID-19 vaccine in another city?

Still within your city, how many people do you personally know lost their jobs because of the most recent ECQ? Are there any business owners you know who had no choice but to scale down operations or shut down entirely all because of the ECQ?

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

+++++

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

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

COVID-19 Crisis: GCash will be used by the Muntinlupa City Government to distribute ayuda to local recipients

Calling all residents of Muntinlupa City who use GCash! Be aware that it has been reported by the Manila Bulletin that the national government’s financial assistance (AKA ayuda) will be released to qualified recipients through their GCash accounts. Take note that the City Government of Muntinlupa will use the mobile wallet app as a crucial method to send the money to the qualified recipients which should relieve them from having to personally travel to a single venue to physically collect the money. For the newcomers reading this, the national government releases financial assistance to the residents of specific areas or regions that got affected by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

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

The Muntinlupa City government announced Monday that it will use the mobile wallet app GCash in the distribution of the national government’s “ayuda” or financial assistance.

“For the expected distribution of ‘ayuda’ for affected Muntinlupa residents under ECQ [enhanced community quarantine], the local government will use GCash. The city government decided to hold an online distribution to ensure the safety of everyone against COVID-19,” according to an announcement by the city government.

It said it will issue additional updates about the online payout and urged the public to make their own GCash accounts.

According to Local Budget Circular No. 138 issued by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Aug. 6, Muntinlupa has been allotted P441.6 million for distribution to affected residents.

The “ayuda” allotment was given to Metro Manila local government units (LGUs) after the region was placed under ECQ from Aug. 6 to 20.

A total of P10.89 billion has been allotted by the national government to 16 cities and one municipality in Metro Manila.

If you are a qualified recipient of the ayuda here in Muntinlupa and you don’t have GCash, then you should download the app as soon as possible. Posted below are the ways to get yourselves moving with GCash. The images below were posted by the City Government through their official Facebook page.

Residents of Muntinlupa City who remain unregistered and unvaccinated should make a move to get registered by learning the ways to do it. Those who are prepared (with personal information available) and willing to go through online registration for the free vaccines in Muntinlupa are encouraged to click https://vaccine.muntinlupacity.gov.ph/muncovac/

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a Muntinlupa City resident who is qualified for the financial assistance, do you think that GCash is the most ideal way to receive the money through the City Government? Do you prefer cash in physical form over digital? What is the one thing you like or dislike the most about GCash?

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

+++++

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

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

COVID-19 Crisis: Over 90% of ECQ aid distributed to beneficiaries in NCR Plus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

+++++

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

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

COVID-19 Crisis: Almost 100,000 residents receive financial aid (ayuda) in Las Piñas City

If you are a qualified recipient of financial aid from the national government that is being distributed by the local government units (LGUs) in relation to the recent ECQ (enhanced community quarantine), were you able to receive the money?

In relation to this, there is an update about the financial aid being distributed by the City Government of Las Piñas to its constituents.

The Manila Bulletin reported the other day – with Mayor Imelda Aguilar as their source – that almost one hundred thousand city residents have received the financial aid ranging from P1,000 to P4,000. To be more specific, the official count was reported at 98,648 people of Las Piñas who received the money. To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Manila Bulletin’s report…

Aguilar said the city government recorded a total of 124,435 beneficiaries listed and approved by the Department of Social Welfare and Development-National Capital Region (DSWD-NCR). Most of them were affected by the implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).

The mayor said the city government received a total of P501 million from the national government intended for the beneficiaries of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) and Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

The city government has already handed out about 65.62% of the P501-million allocation to the beneficiaries in 20 distribution points, according to Aguilar.

She said they still have a total of P172,224,000 that will be distributed to the remaining qualified beneficiaries.

As of this writing, the City Government is moving closer to achieving 100% distribution of the national government funds. The city sure has lots of distribution points set at twenty, which apparently reflects the number of barangays in their jurisdiction.

If anyone of you reading this is a certified resident of Las Piñas City and if you have received (or are still trying to receive) the so-called ayuda, you might want to share to me your experience or observations about the distribution by contacting me directly online.

+++++

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

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