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: Muntinlupa City implements new COVID-19 Alert Levels system

In connection to the Alert Level 4 rules and guidelines that took effect all over Metro Manila yesterday, the City Government of Muntinlupa formally implemented the new COVID-19 Alert Levels System according to a Manila Bulletin news report.

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

Muntinlupa Mayor Jaime Fresnedi issued guidelines in the implementation of the new COVID-19 Alert Levels System, the new community quarantine classifications in the National Capital Region (NCR) starting Sept. 16.

Under the new classification, Metro Manila is under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) Alert Level 4 from Sept. 16 to 30.

Fresnedi issued Executive Order No. 40 dated Sept. 15 outlining the various activities allowed and prohibited from Alert Levels 1 to 5, and the implementation of granular lockdowns in communities.

The order is based on the resolution issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on the new quarantine classifications.

According to the executive order and resolution, Alert Level 1 “refers to areas wherein case transmission is low and decreasing, total bed utilization rate, and intensive care unit utilization rate is low” while Alert Level 2 pertains to “areas wherein case transmission is low and decreasing, healthcare utilization is low, or case counts are low but increasing, or case counts are low and decreasing but total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate is increasing.”

Areas to be placed under Alert Level 3 are those “wherein case counts are high and/or increasing, with total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate at increasing utilization,” while those to be under Alert Level 4 are “areas wherein case counts are high and/or increasing, with total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate at high utilization.”

Alert Level 5 “refers to areas wherein case counts are alarming, with total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate at critical utilization.”

Under Alert Level 4, according to Fresnedi, the following will not be allowed outside their residence: persons below 18 years old, persons over 65 years old, persons with immunodeficiencies, comorbidities or other health risks, and pregnant women. But they are allowed to go out to obtain essential goods and services, and report for work in permitted industries and offices.

The mayor will have the sole authority to declare an area under granular lockdown, according to the executive order, and he may impose it on an entire barangay, individual house, street, block, purok or sitio, compound, subdivision, village and other gated communities.

Granular lockdown will be in effect for at least 14 days and persons under it will not be allowed to go out.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a Muntinlupa City resident, do you anticipate significant changes to happen locally? Do you think the new guidelines make sense?

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

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

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

COVID-19 Crisis: DTI Secretary Lopez pushes for easing of protocols for fully vaccinated people

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

COVID-19 Crisis: Guidelines on localized lockdowns in NCR ‘provisionally’ approved by IATF

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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: Several young people apprehended in Parañaque City for curfew violations

Are you a resident of Parañaque City struggling with the COVID-19 situation and do you have anything to say about the way local authorities are managing your local community? Previously, the residents of Annex 35 within Better Living Subdivision made the news by complaining about the limited essentials while they were locked down and some of the provided food were spoiled. I wonder if Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Benhur Abalos is aware of the Annex 35 situation.

The other day, the Manila Bulletin published the latest about crime in Parañaque. Nine young individuals were caught by barangay personnel for violating the local curfew in Barangay San Dionisio. How exactly did they violate curfew? Read the excerpt below from the Manila Bulletin news report (which referenced ABS-CBN). Some parts in boldface…

Nine youths were arrested by patrolling barangay watchmen after they were seen playing computer games inside a shop in Paranaque City Sunday night.

According to a report, the youths aged 18 to 22 were arrested at about 11 p.m. in a shop located at 6087 Tramo I, Barangay San Dionisio. They were brought to the barangay hall.

The youths were issued a citation ticket for a fine of P200 each for violating curfew, according to ABS-CBN report.

The city’s Business Permit and Licensing Office, Atty. Melanie Soriano-Malaya, when asked about the incident, said that computer shops were not allowed to operate under the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ).

Malaya said they were waiting for the report for them to verify if the computer shop has a permit to operate.

The above report ended stating that, in case the computer shop has a permit to operate, it may be revoked in relation to violating curfew. Take note, however, that the incident happened on Sunday night during modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ). By the time you are reading this, general community quarantine (GCQ) is in effect again all over Metro Manila.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction about this latest development in Parañaque City? Were you able to find anyone violating curfew there in your local community? Is there a computer shop or cyber café in your local community that operated during the curfew?

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

COVID-19 Crisis: Metro Manila under GCQ from September 8 to September 30, 2021

Finally, residents and businesses of National Capital Region (NCR) will experience relief and added liberty as the national authorities declared that starting September 8 until September 30, Metro Manila will revert back to general community quarantine (GCQ) according to a report by the Manila Bulletin. It should be noted that August 2021 was full of restrictions for Metro Manila such as the sudden enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the prohibition on outdoor exercise and the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) (which saw an extension) due to the rise of COVID-19 cases. These same restrictions also resulted damaged to the national economy in the form of increased unemployment and further business hardship which prompted the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to make a proposal with economic recovery in mind.

Very recently, granular lockdown action happened around the NCR and such forms of restrictions look like will become the new normal for communities with infections.

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

After enduring a month of strict lockdown, Metro Manila will shift back to a general community quarantine (GCQ) although it will also serve as the pilot area for the implementation of granular lockdowns starting Sept. 8 until the end of the month.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement on Monday, Sept. 6, or a day before the expiration of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) status of the National Capital Region (NCR).

In his press briefing on Monday, Roque announced that Metro Manila will be placed under the more lax GCQ beginning Sept. 8. He also confirmed reports that granular lockdowns will be implemented in the region as a new tact against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Roque said limited dine-in services and religious gatherings will be allowed again in Metro Manila once it shifts to GCQ.

Granular lockdown

However, Roque said details about the granular lockdown were still being finalized and will be announced before Sept. 8.

He explained that it will be the governors and mayors who will decide on the granular lockdowns. The Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases can reverse the decision of the local chief executives, he said.

The Palace official explained that the granular lockdown should cover the smallest area as possible.

“The granular lockdown does not have to be an entire barangay. It can be a street, it can be a house, it can be a community. It should be as granular as we can,” he said.

According to Roque, the government shifted to granular lockdowns because the number of COVID-19 cases did not seem to go down despite the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ)–the strictest quarantine level possible.

“Ang tingin ng mga eksperto, mas epektibo po kung tayo po talaga ay magpapatupad ng systematic at scientific granular lockdowns (Exprets think that the implementation of systematic and granular lockdowns will be more effective),” he said.

We have the Lord to thank for the Metro Manila GCQ. So much economic damage has been done already and it is high time for businesses and the affected employees to move forward and lead the way for economic recovery. It is also high time for the faithful to be allowed to worship the Lord on-site at church facilities as it is a fact that online worship is very limiting (especially when Zoom is used as a digital platform). When it comes to public health, people of Metro Manila should have more freedom and time to exercise outside of their homes to gain fitness and strengthen their immune system which itself is crucial during this pandemic.

Of course, each and every individual has a personal responsibility to properly follow health protocols (social distancing, using sanitizers, contact tracing and more) whenever he or she enters a church to worship the Lord, or enter a restaurant or a personal care service provider to be served, or visiting random places outdoors. Each of us has a role to be taken seriously to stay safe, be safe and avoid getting infected while moving around in public to fulfill our respective objectives.   

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Does the new GCQ announcement for Metro Manila surprise you in relation to the daily high numbers of new COVID-19 infections?

If you are a Metro Manila resident, do you trust your mayor or the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) 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

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