COVID-19 Crisis: ECQ for Metro Manila announced (August 6 to August 20, 2021)

A lot of people were very surprised yesterday with the sudden announcement that Metro Manila will be placed under the stricter enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) status effective August 1 until August 20, 2021 supposedly in connection to the rising spread of the highly infectious Delta variant (Parañaque and Las Piñas each have one) and COVID-19 cases in general. It is surprising because very recently it was announced that the National Capital Region (which Metro Manila is clearly part of) would be placed under the strict form of general community quarantine (GCQ) from August 1 to 15, 2021.

Take note that the Metro Manila mayors favored ECQ and even set terms that include the national government will provide financial assistance to their respective constituents plus millions of vaccines.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Philippine News Agency (PNA) article about the sudden ECQ announcement. Some parts in boldface…

Metro Manila will be placed under the most restrictive enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from August 6 to 20, Malacañang said on Friday.

This, after President Rodrigo Duterte approved the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases’ (IATF-EID) recommendation to impose the strict quarantine classification in Metro Manila.

In an announcement aired over state-run PTV-4, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Metro Manila will stay under general community quarantine (GCQ) “with heightened restrictions” from July 30 to August 5 and will shift to ECQ from August 6 to 20.

“Hindi po naging madali ang desisyon na ito. Maraming oras ang ginugol para pagdebatehan ang bagay na ito (It is not an easy decision. We have spent so much time to debate on the proposal [to place Metro Manila under ECQ]),” Roque said.

Metro Manila is currently under GCQ with heightened restrictions. Its quarantine status was supposed to be extended until August 15.

However, Metro Manila mayors have urged the IATF-EID to implement a two-week ECQ in the country’s metropolis to prevent the spread of the more infectious Delta coronavirus variant.

More restrictions

Roque said “additional restrictions” would be imposed in Metro Manila from July 30 to August 5.

The heightened restrictions for NCR are more stringent compared to the GCQ with heightened restrictions of other areas,” he said in a press statement.

Roque said indoor dine-in services and al fresco dining are prohibited and only take-out and delivery are allowed in Metro Manila.

“For people working in these establishments, operations are allowed to continue and finish within the day,” he said.

Personal care services like beauty salons, beauty parlors, barber shops and nail spas may operate up to 30 percent of venue or seating capacity, Roque said.

He added that indoor sports courts and venues and indoor tourist attractions and specialized markets of the Department of Tourism (DOT) may not operate, while outdoor tourist attractions, as may be defined by the DOT, will be allowed at 30 percent venue capacity.

Roque said only Authorized Persons Outside their Residences will be allowed to travel “into and out” of NCR Plus, which is composed of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.

Only virtual religious gatherings shall be allowed. Gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment and funerals for those who died of causes other than Covid-19 shall be allowed, provided they are limited to immediate family members, he said.

Avoid panic buying

Following the government’s decision to implement ECQ in Metro Manila from August 6 to 20, Roque reminded the public not to resort to panic buying.

“Meron naman tayong isang linggo para mag-prepara dito sa two weeks na ECQ. Wala pong dahilan para mag panic buying dahil maski ECQ po, bukas naman po ang ating mga groceries (We still have one week to prepare for the two-week implementation of ECQ. There’s no reason for panic buying because despite the ECQ implementation, groceries are still open),” he said.

Apart from Metro Manila, Iloilo province and its city, Cagayan de Oro City, and the City of Gingoog in Misamis Oriental have also been placed under ECQ from July 21 to August 7.

On Tuesday, Roque announced that individuals residing in Iloilo province and its city, as well as the cities of Cagayan de Oro City and Gingoog, will receive cash assistance worth PHP1,000 per individual or PHP4,000 per family.

When quizzed if Metro Manila residents would also be given financial aid, Roque said: “Most likely but will seek confirmation.”

And here are related news videos to watch…

Economic damage and losses very likely

While it is understandable that ECQ is a response to the Delta variant and COVID-19 problems, it is very clear that this will result more financial losses on businesses and damage the nation’s economy which itself has been struggling to stand up and grow. Take note that the more businesses lose money, it could lead to job losses and result in lower tax collection on the part of the national government and LGUs. For insight, posted below is an excerpt from another PNA article published before the ECQ announcement. Some parts in boldface…

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez has thanked President Rodrigo Duterte for approving the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to put Metro Manila and nearby provinces under general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions.

The economy cannot bear another massive lockdown. We lose around PHP30 billion for a two-week lockdown. Many lost their jobs, livelihood, most of them are micro (and) SMEs (small and medium enterprises),” Lopez said during the Laging Handa public briefing Thursday.

He said the recommendation of placing National Capital Region (NCR) Plus under GCQ with heightened restrictions is in accordance with the IATF’s consultations with reliable health experts.

“We really take a balance, a holistic approach,” he added.

Lopez underscored that the IATF enforces restrictions amid the threats of the more infectious Covid-19 Delta variant.

But the restrictions are focused on ‘super spreader’ activities like mass gatherings, while lockdowns will remain a granular lockdown approach, the DTI chief said.

He also called on businesses to create their own health and safety committee that will ensure minimum public health protocols are being monitored and maintained in their respective establishments.

COVID-19 vaccination operations will still continue

Meanwhile, COVID-19 vaccination operations will still proceed during the ECQ period. Check out this excerpt from the GMA Network news report below…

Malacañang said the government’s COVID-19 vaccination program will proceed in Metro Manila even if the region will be under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from August 6 to 20.

Yes, definitely [it will proceed]. Details will be provided in due course of the COVID-19 vaccination committee,” Roque said.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you surprised about the sudden announcement of ECQ for Metro Manila? Do you believe that the Metro Manila Council (MMC) is correct that the national government should provide the financial aid and vaccines for their respective constituents?  Could it be possible that certain city governments or LGUs (local government units) of Metro Manila have ran out of funds and have no choice but to rely on the national government to provide for them?

If you are a business owner within Metro Manila, do you believe that August 6 is too early for the imposition of another ECQ? Do you think that the Metro Manila mayors spent enough time researching about the potential economic damage of the ECQ they pushed for?

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: Strict GCQ declared for NCR and bordering provinces effective August 1 until August 15, 2021

Even as more people in Metro Manila have gotten worried about the highly infectious Delta variant which has been detected already in Parañaque and Las Piñas, the general community quarantine (GCQ) for the National Capital Region (NCR) and bordering provinces has been declared which will take effect on August 1, 2021 and will last until August 15, 2021, as reported by the Philippine New Agency (PNA).

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

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte approved the recommendation to extend the general community quarantine (GCQ) “with heightened restrictions in Metro Manila until August 15, Malacañang announced on Wednesday.

The stricter GCQ has been retained in Metro Manila, after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) observed an increase in the daily attack rate, two-week average attack rate, and health care utilization rate in the country’s metropolis, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a pre-recorded Talk to the People.

“The Chief Executive extended the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions classification of the National Capital Region beginning August 1, 2021 until August 15, 2021,” Roque said in a press statement.

Apart from Metro Manila, four of its nearby provinces – Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal – will also be placed under GCQ with heightened restrictions from August 1 to 15, Roque said.

And here is a related news video by GMA Network…

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you surprised about the strict GCQ for Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal? Do you believe that the highly infectious Delta variant can be contained? Are you ready for another lockdown? Have you been vaccinated already?

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: Over 100,000 patients in Muntinlupa City fully vaccinated

In the City of Muntinlupa, the number of people who got fully vaccinated (injected with two doses of vaccine) has exceeded the 100,000 mark and it is further growing according to a news report by the Manila Bulletin.

To be exact, the number of fully vaccinated patients in the city is now at 114,182. Counting the fully vaccinated will be a bit tricky since Muntinlupa personnel have been vaccinating certain patients with the single-dose vaccine called Janssen produced by Johnson & Johnson. Getting vaccinated is more crucial than ever as the Delta variant is here in the Philippines and is infecting more people. Previously the City Government of Muntinlupa announced that the Delta variant has not been detected within the city. Considering how infectious the Delta variant really is, the City Government’s previous statement that minors are not to be vaccinated makes sense.

Metro Manila is currently under GCQ (general community quarantine) until July 31 at least and the curfew hours have been adjusted.

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

The Muntinlupa City government’s vaccination program has administered 288,638 doses of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine.

Data as of July 27 showed that of the total, 174,456 individuals have received their first dose, or 45.22 percent of the target population of 385,725.

For the second dose, 114,182 individuals are now fully vaccinated, or 29.6 percent of the target population. There are also 2,293 individuals who received the single shot Janssen vaccine and if these are included, there are now 116,475 individuals who are fully vaccinated in Muntinlupa.

Among the first dose recipients, 11,429 are A1 (health workers), 22,648 are A2 (senior citizens), 68,028 are A3 (persons with comorbidities), 59,462 are A4 (essential workers), and 12,889 are A5.

By vaccine brand, 105,886 received Sinovac Life Sciences’ CoronaVac, 35,723 got AstraZeneca, 3,879 were given Sputnik V, 24,575 got Pfizer-BioNTech, 2,100 had Moderna, and 2,293 got Janssen.

Of the 114,182 second dose recipients, 7,977 are A1, 16115 are A2, 48,642 are A3, 35,191 are A4, and 6,257 are A5.

By vaccine brand, 85,614 got Sinovac, 2,458 received AstraZeneca, 2,934 were given Sputnik V, and 23,176 had Pfizer-BioNTech.

The Muntinlupa City COVID-19 Vaccination Program (MunCoVac) team is currently completing the second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech recipients whose schedules were postponed in the third week of July.

MunCoVac is also ramping up its efforts through home vaccination of bedridden individuals or those with limited mobility.

Apart from the Muntinlupa vaccination program, the OCTA Research Group urged the national government to go into a “circuit breaker” lockdown due to the spreading infection from the Delta variant according to a Manila Times news report.

With the Delta variant already infecting more people here in the Philippines, it is always best to be cautious when moving out in public while there is no lockdown in effect. Apart from wearing face masks and face shields, there is also the need to prioritize which places you need to visit and be mindful how crowded those places are. Those who have not been vaccinated should realize the tremendous risks that come with the Delta variant and they need to get registered and join the lines for vaccination. The COVID-19 vaccines are free by the way.

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: Do you believe that the City Government of Muntinlupa and its strategic partners will be able to fully vaccinate the 385,000+ they targeted before the year ends? Are there people in your local community who deliberately refrained from getting registered or vaccinated? Have you encountered someone who remains unvaccinated because he/she is very afraid of vaccines or needles or the idea of getting injected?

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: GCQ in NCR and 4 provinces stricter until July 31

You must have heard the news this past weekend. In case you missed the news, the general community quarantine (GCQ) status in the National Capital Region (NCR) plus four provinces has gotten stricter since July 23 and this new adjustment will last until the end of this month. At the same time, children are to keep staying indoors. The national authorities confirmed it.

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

The quarantine status in Metro Manila and four other provinces has been upgraded to stricter general community quarantine (GCQ) “with heightened restrictions,” Malacañang announced on Friday.

This, after President Rodrigo Duterte approved the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases’ (IATF-EID) recommendation to place Metro Manila, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Davao de Oro, and Davao del Norte under a more restrictive GCQ from July 23 to 31.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, also acting as IATF-EID spokesperson, said Metro Manila must follow the health and quarantine protocols for areas under GCQ “with heightened restrictions.

“The same IATF rules would be observed when NCR was previously under GCQ with heightened restrictions,” Roque said in a press statement.

Metro Manila, which was placed under GCQ “with some restrictions” from July 1 to 15, was initially put under regular GCQ from July 16 to 31.

On the other hand, Davao de Oro and Davao del Norte were originally under a more restrictive modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), while Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur were supposed to be under modified GCQ (MGCQ) until the end of July.

Duterte, meantime, agreed to downgrade the quarantine classification in Davao del Sur to GCQ from MECQ, Roque said.

“Davao del Sur, which is previously MECQ, is placed under GCQ starting July 23, 2021 until July 31, 2021,” he said.

No outdoor activities for kids

Now that Metro Manila, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Davao de Oro, and Davao del Norte are under GCQ “with heightened restrictions,” children aged five and above can no longer stay outdoors, Roque said.

“As these areas will be placed under GCQ with heightened restrictions, children five years old and above will not be allowed to go to outdoor areas, as provided for under IATF Resolution No. 125,” he said.

Under IATF-EID Resolution 125 issued on July 8, children as young as five years old can go outdoors despite the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, so long as they are residing in areas placed under GCQ and MGCQ.

Children can only go to outdoor spaces like parks, playgrounds, beaches, biking, and hiking trails, outdoor tourist sites, and attractions as may be defined by the Department of Tourism, including on outdoor non-contact sports courts and venues, and al-fresco dining establishments, according to the resolution.

Apart from the stricter GCQ, there is also an adjustment on the Metro Manila curfew hours which has taken effect already. The new curfew hours are now 10PM to 4AM.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about this news? Do you believe that the spreading Delta variant here in the Philippines is a factor behind the move to a stricter GCQ?

If you are a parent, what do you think about the national authorities’ decision to keep children indoors?

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: GCQ in NCR Plus continues until mid-July

Be informed that the general community quarantine (GCQ) for NCR Plus (National Capital Region plus the bordering provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan and Rizal will continue to be in effect until mid-July as President Rodrigo Duterte extended it very recently.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the article published by Philippine News Agency (PNA). Some parts in boldface…

President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Monday extended the general community quarantine (GCQ) classification in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus with Laguna and Cavite still under “heightened restrictions” until July 15.

In his pre-recorded Talk to the People, Duterte said GCQ will also continue to be imposed in Metro Manila, Rizal, and Bulacan “with some restrictions” until July 15.

Aside from NCR Plus, Ifugao province, City of Santiago, Guimaras, Aklan, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Antique, Capiz, Zamboanga Sibugay, City of Zamboanga, Agusan del Norte, Surigao del Norte and Agusan del Sur will also be placed under GCQ in the next 15 days beginning July 1.

The GCQ will be imposed in Baguio City, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Batangas, Quezon, Ilagan City, General Santos City, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, Cotabato, South Cotabato, and Cotabato City until July 31.

Meanwhile, Duterte also placed Cagayan, Apayao, Bataan, Lucena City, Puerto Princesa, Naga City, Iloilo City, Iloilo, Negros Oriental, Zambaogan del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, Cagayan de Oro City, Davao City, Butuan City, Dumagat Islands, and Surigao del Sur under stricter modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from July 1 to 31.

Davao Oriental, Davao Occidental, Davao de Oro, Davao del Sur, and Davao del Norte are also under MECQ but only up to July 15.

The rest of the country will be placed under modified GCQ.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said gyms/fitness centers at 40 percent capacity and other indoor sports courts at 50 percent capacity will be allowed in Metro Manila, Rizal and Bulacan but not in other areas of NCR Plus like Laguna and Cavite.

He said 40 percent capacity for historical sites and museums will also be allowed in the NCR Plus areas except in Laguna and Cavite.

The non-contact sports are allowed in GCQ and MGCQ areas while individual outdoor exercises are allowed within the general areas of their residence in MECQ places.

Roque said outdoor dining (Al fresco) with 50 percent capacity will be allowed in GCQ and MGCQ but not in MECQ areas.

He added that indoor sports courts and venues as well as indoor tourist attractions can operate up to 50 percent capacity GCQ areas but should be closed in MECQ places as well as in Laguna and Cavite.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Do you find the extension of GCQ status for NCR Plus justified? Considering the so-called heightened restrictions, what do you think is the problem going on in the provinces of Laguna and Cavite?

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

COVID-19 Crisis: GCQ in NCR Plus until June 15, 2021

While it was announced really late in the evening of May 31, the general community quarantine (GCQ) remains in effect in the National Capital Region (NCR) and the bordering provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal from June 1 to June 15, 2021.

To put things in perspective, below is an excerpt from the article of Philippine News Agency (PNA). Some parts in boldface…

The general community quarantine (GCQ) quarantine classification in Metro Manila and other areas has been extended until June 15, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday night.

Duterte approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to extend the GCQ status in the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal (NCR Plus) for 15 more days to prevent a surge in Covid-19 cases in the country.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, in a press statement, said some restrictions shall remain in place in NCR Plus limiting the capacities of certain industries.

The PNA article also includes key details such the OCTA Research Group recommending the GCQ status for NCR Plus to be retained so that people won’t become very complacent. When it comes to guidelines and restrictions, read the Manila Bulletin article.

I want to add here that vaccination registration and processes are being done by the many local government units around the nation. Millions more new vaccines will arrive this month. That being said, I encourage you – those who have not yet registered for free COVID-19 vaccines – to get registered and wait for the local authorities to contact you. I just received my 2nd dose of vaccine from Russia here in Muntinlupa City. In my two appointments for vaccination, the local organizing of the processes, verification and health check were done efficiently and smoothly. Even if one gets fully vaccinated (2 doses), there is still a need to follow health protocols.

Las Piñas City residents can learn the ways to get registered vaccines right here, while those in Muntinlupa can learn about online registration here.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a business owner, what are the biggest problems you experienced during GCQ? How many more business restrictions related to GCQ do you want to see get loosened or removed? If you have not yet registered for the free COVID-19 vaccines in your locality, what is your main reason for not registering?

Is the local vaccination organizer efficient and friendly to those who arrived for inoculation?

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: So-called stricter GCQ in NCR Plus begins today

Starting today until the 31st of May, the level of quarantine and restrictions in the National Capital Region (NCR) and the bordering provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal – these form NCR Plus – has been lowered to the softer general community quarantine (GCQ). The period of modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) for NCR Plus (note: specific places outside of NCR Plus are still under MECQ) is over at last and the shift to GCQ was approved by President Rodrigo Duterte.

However, the GCQ this time around will have some more restrictions of its own. To put things in perspective, read the details from this excerpt from the Philippine News Agency’s (PNA) article. Some parts in bold…

Duterte decided to ease quarantine protocols in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, also known as “NCR Plus,” upon the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

Presidential Spokesperson Roque, who was present during a meeting with Duterte at Malacañan Palace, said NCR Plus will be placed under GCQ “with heightened restrictions” from May 15 to 31.

“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Thursday, May 13, 2021, approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to place the National Capital Region (NCR), Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions from May 15 to 31, 2021,” Roque said in a statement.

Apart from NCR Plus, the quarantine classification in Abra was also downgraded from MECQ to GCQ.

Areas of concern

The MECQ status was, however, retained in the City of Santiago in Isabela, Zamboanga City, Quirino, and Ifugao.

Duterte said the four areas would remain under MECQ until end of May following local governments’ concerns over the spike in the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) within their localities.

GCQ is imposed in Apayao, Baguio City, Benguet, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Batangas, Quezon, Iligan City, Davao City, Lanao del Sur, and Puerto Princesa City until May 31.

The rest of the country remains under the least restrictive modified GCQ (MGCQ) for the whole month of May.

Implementation of stricter GCQ

Once GCQ with heightened restrictions is implemented in NCR, only “essential travel into and out of the NCR Plus” will be allowed, Roque said.

Roque said interzonal travel from NCR Plus areas, except those conducted by Authorized Persons Outside Residence, will remain prohibited in GCQ areas with heightened restrictions.

“Public transportation shall remain operational at such capacities and protocols in accordance with the Department of Transportation guidelines while the use of active transportation shall be promoted,” he said.

Roque said only individuals aged 18 to 65 can leave their homes while NCR Plus is under stricter GCQ.

Entertainment venues like bars, concert halls, and theaters; recreational venues, such as internet cafes, billiards halls, and arcades; amusement parks, fairs, playgrounds, kiddie rides; indoor sports courts and venues and indoor tourist attractions; and venues for meetings, conferences, exhibitions will not be allowed in NCR Plus, Roque said.

Roque said religious gatherings and gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment and funerals for those who died of causes other than Covid-19 in NCR Plus will be allowed up to 10 percent of the venue capacity.

He added that indoor and outdoor dine-in services would be allowed in Metro Manila and its four neighboring provinces.

Also, indoor dine-in services in NCR Plus shall be at 20 percent venue or seating capacity while outdoor or al fresco dining shall be at 50 percent venue or seating capacity,” he said.

Roque said outdoor tourist attractions in NCR Plus may be opened at 30 percent, with “strict” adherence to minimum public health standards.

“Also continued to be allowed in GCQ areas with heightened restrictions are non-contact sports, games, scrimmages held outdoors; and personal care services that allow for services not requiring mask removal, such as salons, parlors, [and] beauty clinics, at 30 percent capacity,” he said.

While the GCQ is stricter than its previous form, it does allow more breathing room for businesses because they are essential on providing customers the products and services needed (or wanted), and it is the businesses who provide jobs for the unemployed. Businesses, not socialists, can lift people up from poverty and prevent their employees from falling into poverty. As I mentioned previously, the more Filipinos fall into poverty due to restricted economic activities (that result job losses), the more expensive it becomes for any government unit to provide relief to the constituents.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your impression about the so-called stricter GCQ for NCR Plus? Are the restrictions of the new GCQ disturbing to you? Does the new GCQ affect your plan to travel to the provinces?

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

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

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

COVID-19 Crisis: Stricter quarantine outside of NCR Plus ruled out

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The rest of the country remains under modified GCQ.

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

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

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

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

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

COVID-19 Crisis: National Capital Region (NCR) and 4 nearby provinces now under GCQ until April 4, 2021

It is all over the news and already a lot of people got affected specifically in the National Capital Region (NCR) and the nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal. This past Sunday, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) issued a new resolution (Resolution #104) in response to the spike of COVID-19 cases in the country. There was a single-day high of 7,999 new COVID-19 cases reported recently followed by blaming the government and economic managers.

Firstly, there is no lockdown which is good news. This is about retaining the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) status for NCR while the four nearby provinces have fallen under the same status.

To put things in perspective, posted below are excerpts from the Philippine News Agency (PNA) report…

Excerpt 1

Under IATF Resolution No. 104, he said only essential travel into and out of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal will be allowed.

Excerpt 2

Traveling into and out of Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal will be prohibited. We will have a sort of bubble in NCR, and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal,” he said.

Travel of authorized persons outside their residences (APORs) such as essential workers, health and emergency frontline services personnel; government officials and government frontline personnel; duly-authorized humanitarian assistance actors; persons traveling for medical or humanitarian reasons; persons going to the airport for travel abroad, returning overseas Filipinos and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will be unimpeded for as long as they show their respective work identification cards.

Individuals crossing zones for work or business and going back home will also be allowed to travel to and from the said areas.

“Kung kayo ay uuwi, essential travel po ‘yun. Kailangan lang magpakita ng ID kung saan ka talaga nakatira (If you’re going back home that’s essential travel. All you need to do is show your ID to prove that you live there),” he said.

Excerpt 3

Public gatherings limited

All public gatherings, including religious gatherings, will be prohibited but weddings, baptism, and funerals will be allowed but must observe a 10-person venue capacity.

Current operational capacities of essential and non-essential services and industries will remain.

However, face-to-face meetings, group meals in workplaces will be prohibited. Instead, work-from-home and virtual meetings are encouraged.

Roque said the IATF resolution also enjoins the private sector to adopt similar alternative working arrangements as those in place in the executive branch of government such as operating on a 30 to 50 capacity.

Only outdoor dining allowed

As for dining, Roque said only outdoor dining will be allowed in areas under GCQ while indoor dining will be strictly prohibited.

“Pagdating po sa mga restaurants, ang papayagan lang po yung mga outdoor dining (When it comes to restaurants, we will only allow those with outdoor dining),” he said.

Outdoor dining must observe a maximum of 50 percent venue capacity.

Take out and delivery is encouraged, he added.

Wear masks at home

Although the economy will stay open, Roque said the IATF resolution will require persons below 18-years-old and above 65-years-old, those with comorbidities, and pregnant women to remain inside their residences at all times.

The IATF resolution also advises the wearing of face mask at home especially when living with elderly and vulnerable.

Accepting of visitors outside immediate family or household is strongly discouraged.

Operations of driving schools, traditional cinemas and video and interactive game arcades, libraries, archives, museums, and cultural centers, limited social events at accredited tourism establishments and limited tourism attractions will be temporarily suspended except open-air tourism attractions.

Before the IATF’s new resolution was issued, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) went ahead in shortening the hours of voter registration as well as suspending the organizing of satellite registration (registration processes held outside of their office) which started yesterday. People around the Philippines have until the end September 2021 to register themselves or adjust their respective voter statuses in preparation of the May 2022 presidential, national and local elections.

For their part, the Department of Tourism (DOT) announced yesterday that it would yield to public health concerns in relation to the GCQ status for NCR and the 4 nearby provinces.

With regards to the IATF’s prohibition on indoor dining, already the shopping malls and restaurants here in South Metro Manila have made adjustments and updated their customers. Sigekiya Ramen announced that their restaurant at Commercenter, Filinvest City in Alabang, is still allowed to accommodate paying customers for outdoor dining. Like many others, they also offer takeout and delivery services. Alabang Town Center and Festival Mall in Alabang posted updates about safety protocols in accordance to IATF Resolution #104.

With all these developments in place, people in the NCR and the affected provinces under GCQ will have to adjust. It is okay to keep reporting to work but there is a need to be cautious with regards to personal safety and avoiding COVID-19 infection as much as possible. There is also the need to prioritize where to go and what to do. All of these are in effect until April 4, 2021 and here is hoping that the current situation will improve (that the daily COVID-19 count of new cases will go down) so that the new round of restrictions under GCQ will not be extended.

Better yet, I encourage you all to look up to our Lord Jesus and keep having unwavering faith in Him. I also encourage you all to read chapter 91 of the Book of Psalm in the Holy Bible and pray in tongues to our Lord in the privacy in your respective rooms (with the door shut closed). Open your heart to the Lord, always.

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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

DTI issues new memorandum for the reopening of cinemas in GCQ areas starting March 5, 2021

Do you miss watching movies in the cinemas? The COVID-19 pandemic really brought the movie theater industries around the world to a screeching halt which negatively impacted the way movies were distributed and led to the laying off of many employees who worked in the cinemas.

Here in the Philippines, movie theaters are only operating in cities or provinces which are under the state of MGCQ (Modified General Community Quarantine) which has lesser restrictions compared to GCQ (General Community Quarantine). The thing here is that Metro Manila (which is composed of multiple cities that each has its own government) is still under the GCQ level of control and as of this writing, movie theaters still have not reopened.

Just weeks ago, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) announced it will allow a variety of businesses to resume operations and among them are the cinemas. Unsurprisingly, the Metro Manila mayors reacted negatively.

That was back then. Even though President Rodrigo Duterte refused to shift the entire nation into MGCQ status, movie theater operators (and their employees) in Metro Manila and other areas still under GCQ status now have something to be happy with as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) issued a new memorandum circular allowing movie theaters in GCQ zones to reopen starting March 5, 2021.

Below is an excerpt from the news article published the other night at Philippine News Agency’s website…

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has issued Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 21-08 allowing movie houses in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) to reopen starting March 5.

The circular stipulates that cinemas in GCQ areas are only allowed to operate up to 25-percent capacity.

However, moviegoers are prohibited to eat and drink, while face masks shall be worn at all times inside the cinema.

A one-meter physical distance on all sides is also required.

“In the event of free seating, cinema staff shall usher customers to their seats to comply with the physical distancing and maximum operational capacity requirements,” the MC said.

On the other hand, cinemas in modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) areas are allowed to operate at 50-percent capacity.

As you can see in the details in the above excerpt, movie theaters in GCQ zones will be allowed to resume operations but with limitations such as 25% maximum capacity (with social distancing implemented) allowed and the prohibition on moviegoers from consuming food and beverages (this limitation will hurt the cinemas’ food and beverage business partners).

As for the requirement to wear face shields inside the cinema, it’s really a detriment because face shields obscure people’s visions and therefore moviegoers won’t be able to enjoy the visuals displayed on the big screen. 

Let’s be honest here…how many people would really want to watch films inside the movie theater without food and beverages, and having to view films with their vision negatively affected by face shields? I can only state that the DTI should reconsider these limitations soon.

It is understandable that safety measures and the health protection for the public are essential for the national authorities to do which explain the limitations for cinemas in GCQ areas. Take note from the excerpt below…

“Following the earlier agreement at the IATF (Inter Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases), DTI issued the circular that will guide the implementation of a safe and gradual reopening of more businesses and economic activities. This is part of our mandate to ensure that as more businesses reopen to provide more jobs and sources of income for our countrymen, the strict health protocols are enforced,” DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said.

Lopez said while the government continues to reopen more economic and business activities, minimum health measures should be strictly implemented.

The thing which we should observe here in the Philippines is how the local government leaders of GCQ areas will react to DTI’s memorandum circular. Be aware that Metro Manila alone is home to lots of movie theaters, including those with 4D and IMAX technologies. These cinemas, many of which are part of shopping malls, have not operated for almost a year now and they badly need to resume their business not just to serve paying customers but also to take care of their employees such as security guards, ushers, ticket booth operators, film projector operators, etc. Do not forget about the businesses that partnered with cinemas to sell popcorn, snacks and beverages. Right now, economic recovery and job creation are of the utmost importance during this time of pandemic.

Now that you have read this, let me ask you what do you think about this news? Is the DTI right to issue the new memorandum? If you are living in a Metro Manila city, how has your local government leaders reacted to the news? When was the last time you watched a movie inside the cinema? Have you contacted your local cinema operator?

Watch out for further updates right here.

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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