Panda Express now serving customers in Alabang

A few months ago, Panda Express Philippines made its presence in Muntinlupa City felt when they opened a branch at the Shell gas station on the southbound lane of the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX). Very recently, their presence got felt again as they opened a new branch in Alabang area and already they are attracting a lot of customers.

Panda Express’ newest branch is located at the corner of the Alabang-Zapote Road and Madrigal Avenue. The said branch is located right beside Jollibee and are part of the Molito Complex. The commercial space occupied by Panda Express Alabang (also referred to as Panda Express Madrigal) was a Chowking branch.

Panda Express in Alabang at the corner of Alabang-Zapote Road and Madrigal Avenue.

For the newcomers reading this, Panda Express started in Glendale, California in the United States in 1983 and expanded worldwide with over two thousand branches. Within South Metro Manila, Panda Express has a branch at Doña Soledad Avenue in Parañaque City and also one at the basement level of SM Southmall in Las Piñas City.

With regards to food, Panda Express’ most notable food is its Orange Chicken (note: chicken nuggets with a unique texture and taste). They also offer Black Pepper Steak, Mongolian Pork, Kung Pao Chicken, Beijing Beef, Broccoli Beef, Eggplant Tofu, Fried Rice, Chow Mein and Mixed Vegetables to name some.

The food for customers’ to choose from inside Panda Express.

If you will be visiting a Panda Express for the first time ever, you will have to adjust yourselves to the restaurant’s use of terms such as entrées and sides when you select the meals you want to eat. Don’t feel intimidated as the restaurant has personnel who will explain things to you and guide you.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a Muntinlupa City resident, what is your reaction to this recent development? Are you excited to try out the food served by Panda Express now that they have a branch in Alabang? If you are an Alabang resident, do you think Panda Express has what it takes to compete and survive given the fact that the Alabang commercial areas are filled with lots of restaurants already? If you were able to eat at a Panda Express restaurant before, which particular meal did you enjoy the most from them?

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. If you want to support my website, please consider making a donation. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/.

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

Muntinlupa City Government rewards top scholars with cash incentives

In the progressive City of Muntinlupa, top scholars were recently rewarded with cash incentives by the City Government in return for making tremendous achievements, according to a Manila Bulletin news report. Mayor Ruffy Biazon lauded the scholars who graduated with top honors.

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

The Muntinlupa City government awarded cash incentives to its scholars who graduated with honors from colleges and universities.

Muntinlupa Mayor Ruffy Biazon lauded the 30 city government scholars who graduated summa cum laude, magna cum laude, and cum laude.

Of the 30, two graduated summa cum laude, 15 magna cum laude, and 13 cum laude.

Those who graduated summa cum laude received P30,000 each; magna cum laude got P20,000 each; and cum laude received P10,000 each. They were also given medals and certificates of recognition.

The summa cum laude recipients are Trubby Evasco Jr. of University of the East and Blaizah Mae Salvatierra of Adamson University.

The magna cum laude awardees are Vincent Julius Buenavidez, Lyceum of Alabang; Allen May Eduarte, San Beda College; Krishna Nicole Fagara, Adamson University; Tricia Lois Guevarra, Far Eastern University-Manila; Rodellyn Viara Llyod Marquez, Lyceum of Alabang; Elisha Natividad, San Pedro College of Business Administration; James Alec Ocampo, Far Eastern University-Manila; Shaira Mae Omega, San Beda College-Alabang; Jewel Ian Padilla, San Bed College; Shiela Mae Pamesa, Marianum College; Nicole Ramirez, Adamson University; Jaycee Mae Rufino, Far Eastern University; Paulynne Marie Santos, University of Sto. Tomas; Ralph Reindell Sicat, Emilio Aguinaldo College; and Trixie Maeve Simon, University of Sto. Tomas.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a Muntinlupa City resident, what is your reaction to this development? Do you believe that the City Government should keep on honoring local scholars who made big achievements in academics? Should cash incentives for the local scholars be raised?

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

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

Alabang Hills Village’s new stickers for bicycles and motorcycles are now available

In addition to the issuance of vehicular stickers for motorists categorized as non-resident, resident and lessees, the Alabang Hills Village Association (AHVA) has released new editions of the village stickers for bicycles and motorcycles. Applications for bicycle and motorcycle AHVA stickers are being accepted and processed as of this writing.

To apply for an AHVA sticker for your bicycle or motorcycle, click https://alabanghillsvillage.com/bicycle-motorcycle-sticker/

The application form for bicycle/motorcycle stickers is the same one used for vehicular stickers. Be sure to read the form, take note of the applicable requirements, then fill up the form and sign it before submitting it to the AHVA.

Fees for AHVA’s bicycle and motorcycle stickers are as follows:

Resident (including all tenants) – Ph₱ 250 per motorcycle/bicycle

Non-Resident – Ph₱ 500 per motorcycle/bicycle

Residencia – Ph₱ 250 per motorcycle/bicycle

Replacement sticker – Resident Ph₱ 150 per sticker, Non-Resident Ph₱ 300 per sticker

According to AHVA’s website, the method of payment is limited to cash. Payment is to be paid on the day of the booking.

Applicants can book their appointment online by selecting the dates and specific hours on the chosen date.

The AHVA stated online: In the event your appointment will need to be cancelled for reasons beyond our control (bad weather, natural calamities, late holiday advisories, etc.) we will call you to reschedule your appointment. Please ensure that the contact telephone number you have provided us is accurate. Thank you.

For inquiries about this new development, visit https://alabanghillsvillage.com/ or call them at 88508254. You can visit their office at 1 Don Jesus Boulevard inside Alabang Hills Village from Monday to Friday, 8AM to 5PM. Always remember to follow their rules and speed limits whenever you are in the village.

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

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

Las Piñas City Police Force opens communication lines for crime reporting

In the City of Las Piñas, the City Government announced the official contact numbers of the Philippine National Police (PNP) that local residents need in order to report local crime incidents and get help, according to a Manila Bulletin news report.

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

The city government of Las Piñas announced the police contact numbers for immediate reporting of crimes.

The city police force opened its communication lines and urged residents to be vigilant and immediately report crimes to the police, according to the Facebook page of Las Piñas Public Information Office (PIO).

The city police chief, Col. Jaime Santos, said they opened the communication line amidst the growing crime incidents.

Santos said residents can easily reach the police through landline numbers 8832-6422, 8808-7395, and 8525-8403 or through their cellphone numbers 0998-598-7928 and 0947-462-2859.

A reference from the City Government for the people of Las Piñas.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a Las Piñas City resident, what is your reaction to this recent development? How long has it been since you called the PNP in your city to report a crime or ask for police assistance? Has there been an increase of crime incidents in your local community over that past three months?

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. If you want to support my website, please consider making a donation. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/.

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

Muntinlupa City releases P2.26 million zero-interest loans to local entrepreneurs

In the progressive City of Muntinlupa, more than P2 million worth of zero-interest loans were released by the City Government to more than a hundred local entrepreneurs who collectively handle MSMEs (micro-small-medium sized enterprises), 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…

A total of 103 owners of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Muntinlupa received P2.26 million zero-interest loans from the city government on Friday, Sept. 9.

The office of the Joint Resources Financing Program held the orientation and release of loans to batches 140 and 142 of the beneficiaries of the Tulong Negosyo at the Ayala Malls South Park.

One of them is Maria Dolores Noble, a “sari-sari” store owner and “adobong mani” manufacturer from Barangay Buli who got a P150,000 loan under the program.

Tulong Negosyo caters to MSMEs and provides micro-finance assistance ranging from P2,000 up to P150,000 depending on the business capital ceiling and payment record of beneficiaries.

The program aims to provide additional capital for business expansion for aspiring and established business owners in Muntinlupa, the first LGU to introduce a micro-financing program.

The Joint Resources Financing Program thanked Mayor Ruffy Biazon for his continued support in helping the growth of small businesses in Muntinlupa.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a Muntinlupa City resident, what is your reaction to this development? If you are running a micro, small or medium-sized enterprise, do you intend to avail of a zero-interest loan from the City Government?

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

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

Motorists who use friendship route stickers of Las Piñas City are not exempted from the number coding scheme in the city

In the city of Las Piñas, Mayor Imelda Aguilar went on the record stating that motorists who use vehicles that have the city government-issued friendship route stickers are not exempted at all from the number coding scheme that is implemented locally, the Manila Bulletin reported.

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

The city government of Las Piñas has clarified that vehicles with friendship route stickers are not exempted from the expanded number coding scheme being implemented by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

Mayor Imelda Aguilar said vehicles with friendship route stickers are only for use inside subdivisions during the number coding scheme and not along the Alabang-Zapote Road.

Aguilar advised all motorists that the city prohibits vehicles with license plates ending in numbers in 1 and 2 on Mondays, 3 and 4 on Tuesdays, 5 and 6 on Wednesdays, 7 and 8 on Thursdays, and 9 and 0 on Fridays from 7-10 a.m. and 5-8 p.m.

She also said vehicles exempted from the ban are public utility vehicles (including tricycles), transport network vehicle services, motorcycles, garbage trucks, fuel trucks, marked government vehicles, fire trucks, ambulances, marked media vehicles, and motor vehicles carrying essential and/or perishable goods.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a Las Piñas City resident, how do you feel about this recent development? Do you think that it is only fair that the city’s friendship route stickers do not really provide motorists exemption from the number coding traffic scheme?  

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

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

Drug suspects arrested in Parañaque City

Another successful drug buy-bust operation done in front of a school in Parañaque City resulted in the arrest of two suspects and the confiscation of illegal substances worth in the hundreds of thousands of Pesos, according to a Manila Bulletin news report.

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

Two drug suspects, known as street value individuals (SVI), were arrested by members of the Southern Police District-Drug Enforcement Unit (SPD-DEU) during a buy-bust operation in front of a school in Parañaque City on Wednesday, Sept. 7.

SPD Director Col. Kirby John Brion Kraft identified the suspects as Jovelyn Yuson, 35, alias “Kim”, an alleged pusher, and Robert Johyn Lalisan Valle, 34, an alleged user.

Kraft said the suspects were arrested around 5:00 a.m. in front of Tambo National High School along MIA Road, Parañaque City.

He said the operating unit was able to confiscate from the suspects 13 plastic sachets containing shabu weighing about 35 grams and worth P238,000.

The SPD chief added that the P500 buy-bust money, black plastic bag, and black pouch were also recovered from the suspects.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a Parañaque City resident, what can you say about this latest crime-related news? Do you think that Parañaque will continue be a hot spot for illegal drug trading and smuggling?

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, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

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

Two suspects arrested in Parañaque City for alleged carnapping

Thanks to a tip, the anti-carnapping team of the National Capital Region Police (NCRPO) caught and apprehended two suspects in Parañaque City for allegedly committing carnapping, according to a GMA Network news report. The suspects were riding an SUV when the arrest happened.

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

Two men aboard an SUV were apprehended in Parañaque City for alleged carnapping, Marisol Abdurahman reported on “24 Oras”.

Members of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Anti-Carnapping unit flagged down the vehicle of Laim Ali Maronsing and Jovy Cebuano, after receiving information that an SUV with replaced license plate and armed passengers were roving the area.

“May nagreport sa amin na sa area na yan may isang Montero na iba yung plaka na nakakabit tapos allegedly armado. Kita na namin na kaduda-duda ‘yung galaw nila. Don na namin sila pinababa,” NCRPO-ANCAR chief Police Lieutenant Colonel Erwin Legayada said.

(Someone reported to us that a Montero with a different plate and armed passengers was in the area. We saw their movements and it was suspicious. That was when we flagged them.)

An inspection of the vehicle confirmed it was bearing the wrong license plate and had no official receipt or certificate of registration. Also seized from the vehicle is an unlicensed Glock .40 caliber firearm.

“Sa anti-carnapping law, pag pinalitan mo ‘yung identity ng sasakyan, ‘yung plate number, pwede siyang makasuhan. Illegal transfer of plate,” Legayada said.

(Under anti-carnapping law, if you change the identity of the vehicle, or the license plate, you can be held accountable. That’s an illegal transfer.)

Meanwhile, a brief chase between the police and Maronsing ensued after the driver of the vehicle tried to escape during the inspection. It was found the suspect did not have a driver’s license either.

“Natakot lang ako eh. ‘Yung sasakyan na ‘yun, nirerentahan ko sa kaibigan ko. Then hiniram po ng isang kaibigan ko naman, pinalitan ng plaka,” Maronsing said.

(I got scared. I rented the vehicle from a friend. Then another friend borrowed it and changed the license plate.)

“Sumama lang ako sa kaniya sa pagbili ng gamot,” Cebuano said.

(I went out with him to buy medicine.)

The above report ended stating that the police now has a lead on the activities of the group. They are still trying to determine if the suspects belong to other groups that engaged in carnapping and other illegal activities.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are living in Parañaque City, what is your reaction to this report? Do you think that Parañaque will remain a hot spot for carnapping? Was anyone in your local community a victim of carnapping?

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. If you want to support my website, please consider making a donation. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/.

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

Police arrest suspect accused of raping a lady who was lured to a cosplay photo shoot by him

Cosplay – the act of dressing up as a character from a work of fiction – can be fun to watch and do for as long as violations are not committed. The concept of cosplay here in the Philippines took a dark turn as the Manila Bulletin reported yesterday a crime news report about the arrest of man who was accused by a lady of rape after he lured her to what was supposed to be a cosplay photo shoot. Reportedly the arrest took four years to do and it turns out there was a warrant of arrest issued for the suspect.

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

A man who was accused of raping a woman he lured into posing as a cosplay artist was finally nabbed by authorities at a Quezon City mall on Monday afternoon, Sept. 5, 2022, after eluding arrest for more than four years.

Carl Jefferson Soriano, 26, was collared by operatives of the Manila Police District (MPD)-Special Operations Unit (SOU), and the Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC) of the Regional Intelligence Unit (RIU) of the National Capital Region (NCR) based on a warrant issued by Pasay City Regional Trial Court Judge Gina M. Bibat-Palamos last May 30, 2018. No bail was recommended for his temporary release.

Soriano’s arrest came four years after the complainant reached out to then broadcaster and now senator Raffy Tulfo in his complaints/civic action show, seeking justice for what Soriano had done to her.

The complainant told Tulfo in his show Raffy Tulfo in Action on Feb. 21, 2018 that she met Soriano on Facebook where the suspect engaged her in chats, and was able to convince her to model for him in cosplay costumes.

She said Soriano promised him P7,500 for the photoshoot.

She added that, on the day of the photoshoot, Soriano fetched her on a transport network vehicle service (TNVS), and brought her to a hotel in Pasay City.

According to the victim, Soriano even asked her to pay for the TVNS fare, and the hotel room, and that he will just add on these costs to her talent fee later.

Soriano then told her that two more models and another photographer would be arriving soon to join them.

But it was while they were waiting that the suspect was able to force himself on her, and even banged her head on the wall before raping her.

After she was violated, Soriano belligerently told her that they would have to go to his condominium.

However, after arriving at the lobby of the condominium, Soriano excused himself, saying that he was going to get something from his motorcycle. He never came back.

Indeed, the Manila Bulletin news report above is very disturbing. This might affect the way cosplay is done here in the Philippines from organizing private photo shoots to doing cosplay at special events like comic conventions or pop culture events that involve the use of costumes. Can you just imagine how vulnerable a female cosplayer would be playing Darna whose traditional look exposes a lot of skin?

Speaking of crime related to cosplay, the Anime News Network (ANN) published last January an article about a photographer who got arrested for allegedly drugging and assaulting multiple cosplayers.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction to this recent development? Do you think the allegations of rape and the mentioned cosplay photo shoot are real and could be proven in court? If you are a parent who has a child fond of cosplay, does this crime news report make you feel worried about your child’s safety? Do you think that new rules are need to protect cosplayers from sexual assault, harassment and rape?

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, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

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: Cebu City Government sets voluntary face mask policy on trial period until December 2022

In recent times here in the Philippines, Cebu City has been getting a lot of attention with regards to the COVID-19 crisis we are all living with. This was because the City Government decided to loosen the face mask mandate within the city’s jurisdiction and the Department of Health (DOH) claimed that they were “never consulted” about it. Just yesterday, GMA Network reported that the City Government of Cebu announced that the voluntary face mask policy will be set on a trial period until the end of 2022. In case a COVID-19 surge, the said policy will be lifted automatically. Already, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has its attention on Cebu City.

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

The Cebu City government on Monday announced that its voluntary face mask policy will be on trial period until December 2022, and will be automatically lifted should there be a surge in COVID-19 infections in the city.

In reading the Executive Order (EO) No. 6, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama’s spokesperson Karla Henry-Ammann said that the trial period of the EO 5 which lifted the mandatory face mask use in the city, was set from September 1 to December 31, 2022.

The same period is hereby referred to as the trial and observation period,” she added.

Further, Ammann said the EO will be automatically lifted and the wearing of face masks in the city will be mandatory anew if there will be a surge of COVID-19 cases in Cebu City, as verified by the government.

Rama signed the EO on Monday during the city government’s flag ceremony.

Department of Health (DOH) officer-in-charge (OIC) Maria Rosario Vergeire on Wednesday said they were not consulted regarding the lifting of the mandatory face mask policy in Cebu City.

Vergeire stressed there will be a higher risk of infections in an area if the safeguards against COVID-19 are not in place.

The above article ended by stating that Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said they respect the mandate of the local government units (LGUs) over their respective jurisdictions.

Meanwhile, the Manila Times published an article regarding Cebu City’s move on loosening the face mask policy and the need for health experts to update the face mask policy. Posted below is an excerpt. Some parts in boldface…

CEBU City’s attempt to relax the rules on the wearing of face masks draws attention to an attribute needed in policymaking. That is, the crafting and tweaking of policies should keep pace with how quickly situations change. We remain firm in the belief that science, or more specifically medical expertise, should take the lead in devising the policies concerning Covid-19. But people struggle to understand why they take so long to adjust to developments.

Perhaps officials in Cebu have grown impatient with the national government, more specifically the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases. Last week, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama issued an executive order making the wearing of face masks in open spaces optional. But he later delayed the implementation of the order after talking to Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos Jr. of the Department of the Interior and Local Government. Abalos promised the mayor that he would bring up the need to review the health protocols with the task force.

Mr. Abalos sounded inclined to allow Mayor Rama’s executive order. The secretary said in a statement: “In fact, I am going to even further suggest to make Cebu City the pilot implementer of this measure since the city has always been first in espousing non-masking policies outdoors for the ease and benefit of its people amid the pandemic.”

The point in delaying the new order in Cebu seems to be about “harmonizing existing laws and policies” regarding the lingering pandemic. The problem is that the situation is not uniform across the country. Also, the Philippines has opened up its borders to tourists and foreign travelers, including those who come from countries where wearing face masks are no longer required. And doing so has not caused a spike in new or imported Covid-19 cases.

Indeed, a review of health protocols seems overdue. Earlier in June, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn “Gwen” Garcia clashed with national health authorities when she issued an executive order that allowed people not to wear face masks in open areas, like beaches and mountain trails. Her decision seemed sensible then, and so does the similar order issued by Cebu City.

Perhaps, the national government should listen more to local officials. They should consider giving them more discretion in setting health guidelines for their respective areas of concern.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction this latest series of developments? Do you think Cebu City’s approach on loosening the face mask policy within their jurisdiction makes sense? Do you believe that the national authorities – including the DOH itself – should listen more to the local government and provincial government leaders on how to deal with COVID-19 and implement health protocols? Do you think that the remaining restrictions are outdated and don’t make sense anymore? Do you think Cebu City’s move on loosening the face mask policy will succeed and inspire other LGUs – especially in Metro Manila – to follow suit? Do you think that the anti-vaccine fanatics and other anti-authoritarian activists will make moves to ruin the authorities’ moves on dealing with COVID-19?

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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