COVID-19 Crisis: Safety and sanitation at local cinemas emphasized

It has been days since Alert Level 3 was officially implemented all over Metro Manila which allowed for the reopening of several businesses and allowing them to accommodate more customers as the limitations on capacity were modified. Among the businesses authorized by the to reopen were the cinemas or movie theaters although the actual reopening has yet to happen. In fact, I passed by the cinemas at a local mall I visited this past Sunday and I saw they were still closed. Take note that there were attempts to push for reopening Metro Manila cinemas (click here, here and here).

As the reopening is still pending, there is this Manila Bulletin article about local cinemas will strictly implement health protocols. To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt plus a few relevant videos about safety and reopening. Some parts in boldface…

Cinemas and movie houses in the Philippines will strictly implement health protocols when these establishments reopen soon.

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) put Metro Manila under Alert Level 3 and allowed the reopening of cinemas with restrictions. Only fully vaccinated people will be admitted and seating capacity will be limited to 30 percent.

The actual date of reopening of cinemas is still subject to confirmation and the public is advised to wait for further announcement, according to the Cinema Exhibitors Association of the Philippines (CEAP).

Cinemas in Metro Manila have been closed for 19 months due to the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“That is the main goal right now,” said CEAP Charmaine Bauzon. “We have devoted the past 19 months of cinema closure identifying solutions and precautions based on science. We will implement these measures to confidently welcome back movie fans to cinemas and send them home safe.

Cinemas are safe spaces

Bauzon assured “the public that cinema is a safe place. In fact, LGUs [local government units] have converted some theaters into vaccination centers, and no super-spreading were ever reported, even though people waited inside for hours.

CEAP cited a recent study in Germany which concluded that cinemas are safer than almost any other indoor environment as long as safety guidelines are followed like wearing face masks, physical distancing and proper air ventilation.

The German study considered the following factors in its conclusion: People spend an average of only two hours at a cinema; people inside the cinema simply sit down and face the same direction which is known to reduce transmission risks; and people are not talking to each other during a movie, which minimizes possibility of infection.

Cinemas to strictly impose all safety protocols

According to CEAP, besides adhering to the IATF-mandated health standards, it also developed the “Sa Sine Safe Ka” protocols patterned after the “CinemaSafe” measures set by America’s National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) and endorsed by epidemiologists.

I personally support the reopening of cinemas not just because I love watching movies in them but also because cinemas and their employees can contribute a lot to the economic recovery from this COVID-19 crisis we are all living with. When it comes to viewing movies in the comfort of home, I prefer Blu-ray over streaming anytime. Still the very best way to enjoy movies in their full glory is still inside the cinema! I can never forget the day I first saw Wonder Woman (2017) in the IMAX cinema at SM Southmall which was really an immersive experience. I even replayed that same movie in another cinema which had lazy boy seats. I also saw Logan, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Avengers: Endgame, Aquaman and X-Men: Dark Phoenix on IMAX screens in different cinemas. When it comes to regular cinemas, I viewed Write About Love, Shazam!, and Joker to name some. Eventually I got to watch these movies in the comfort of home mainly on Blu-ray (which is always better than streaming) but I can confirm to you all that in my experience, the best place to view movies is still the cinema!

This iconic scene was at its grandest only in the cinema and I was fortunate to watch it on IMAX format!
The immersion of Aquaman on the big screen inside the IMAX cinema was indeed top-notch.

The good news here, as revealed in the excerpt above, is that local cinemas will exert efforts to make their venues clean and safe as their inevitable customers will be those who have been fully vaccinated. Cinema viewing will be far from normal but the latest developments related to Alert Level 3 are very welcome as it is the first step to returning to normalcy as the nation deals with community management and vaccinations for COVID-19. Above all, I urge all of you fully vaccinated people of Metro Manila and around the nation reading this – support the local cinemas! Put a stop to streaming and take the opportunities to watch movies in the movie theater because that streaming will NEVER match the grandeur and immersion of the cinema! The cinema is always better than streaming!

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you eager to watch a movie inside the cinema here in Metro Manila as soon as it reopens? Have you been fully vaccinated already? What upcoming movies do you hope to watch in the local movie theater? Have you been following the CEAP on social media lately? Do you think that the top officials of the Metro Manila Council (MMC) and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) really care about the plight of the cinema operators and their employees?

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: Trade Secretary Lopez proposes allowing vaccinated people to dine in food-and-beverage joints, and enter personal care service joints during MECQ

Nothing changes the fact that the restrictions imposed on businesses as a result of lockdown or the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) or the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) caused damage on the national economy in the forms of rising unemployment, added business hardship and the loss of income for the affected employees as the national authorities struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) declared that the nation’s economy would lose at least P150 billion per week in relation to Metro Manila and other areas being placed under the most restrictive quarantine measure while the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) announced that the economy should be reopened to prevent any more economic damage. ECOP already stated that lockdown is no remedy.

For the newcomers reading this, under ECQ and MECQ, dining inside food-and-beverage joints and availing of indoor services of personal care service businesses are forbidden. Restaurants, coffee shops and related food-and-beverage joints are limited to take-out and deliveries. Very recently, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez has a proposal to help the food-and-beverage joints and personal care service providers and literally give more breathing room to consumers who have already been vaccinated. Take note that already the government announced that more than 50 million new COVID-19 vaccines will come into the country in September and October.

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

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez is proposing to allow vaccinated people to dine-in in restaurants and enter personal care services establishments in areas under stricter quarantine measures.

In a Viber message to reporters, Lopez said this will help spur employment in those sectors.

Same MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine) but [I] am pushing for allowing vaccinated to [be] allowed only in these restricted sectors like dine-in and personal care. Because we are saying that in these restricted sectors, those who are vaccinated are safer. So, we don’t expect an increase in severe critical (cases) and should not worsen ICU (intensive care unit) cases,” Lopez told reporters in a Viber message.

We pity the dine-in workers. About one million jobs and P1.5 billion revenues gone per week in the National Capital Region (NCR),” he added.

Lopez said that on top of these, 200,000 jobs in the personal care services sector in NCR were also affected.

“For other sectors, no need for distinguishing because both the vaccinated and unvaccinated are allowed. For example, both vaccinated and unvaccinated are allowed to go to malls or ride public transport,” he said.

“Again to clarify, [vaccinated should be allowed] only in restricted sectors during lockdowns like dine-in, personal care services, and meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions. If it’s not locked down, all vaccine status should be allowed subject to operating capacity,” he added.

Lopez, however, clarified that these should be allowed to operate at a maximum of 20- percent capacity.

“We believe in the vaccine. So, we should believe in the vaccinated. This should also serve as an incentive to those who are vaccinated and to encourage vaccination. With this, we help bring back jobs, open up these sectors,” said Lopez.

He said that once approved, this will be part of the new Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) guidelines.

Metro Manila and other Covid-19 critical areas were earlier placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) until August 20.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) disclosed that the two-week ECQ will cost the Philippine economy P120 billion and aggravate poverty.

In relation to the details emphasized by Trade Secretary Lopez, the affected businesses within the restricted sectors can be relieved economically and already there are millions of vaccinated consumers available in Metro Manila to come in and support these businesses even though the maximum capacity is fixed at 20% under MECQ. The unemployed and the under-employed impacted by the ECQ/MECQ will finally get the opportunities to be hired and be able to earn much-needed income. That being said, it is a must that we pray in supporting Lopez’s proposal to get approved so that our nation as whole can recover better and that MECQ won’t be too damaging for businesses and workers anymore.  

Speaking of the National Capital Region (NCR), pay close attention as to how Metropolitan Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Benhur Abalos and the members of the Metro Manila Council (MMC) will perceive and react to Lopez’s proposal of allowing food-and-beverage joints and personal care businesses to cater to vaccinated customers at limited capacity during MECQ. Take note that during the last ECQ, it was the MMDA and MMC who approved the restriction on outdoor exercise while businesses and their employees kept losing! Think about how these Metro Manila authorities think. That being said, it is essential to pray to our Lord to enlighten and guide all the government officials so they can do their jobs better and correctly.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Do you agree with Trade Secretary Lopez’s proposal to help the affected businesses during MECQ? If you are still unvaccinated, does this recent development encourage you at all to get vaccinated? If you are an owner of a food-and-beverage joint or a personal care services joint, what do you think about Lopez’s proposal in helping you and your employees?

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

Business tycoon Ramon S. Ang calls Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz the trailblazer of the Philippines

As Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz received the promised P10 million reward from business tycoon Ramon S. Ang, she was referred to as the nation’s trailblazer in relation to the pioneering achievement she made for the Philippines during the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Business tycoon Ramon S. Ang with Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz. (photo from Ramon S. Ang Facebook page)

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

San Miguel Corp. president Ramon Ang sees Hidilyn Diaz as a game-changer after she ended the Philippines’ 97-year hunt for its first Olympic gold in Tokyo.

Hidilyn is the country’s trailblazer in our successful Olympic gold medal quest. After years of heartbreaks, she came through for us and we are very thankful as a nation,” Ang said on Tuesday.

Diaz, together with fiancé and coach Julius Naranja, personally received the PHP10 million reward Ang pledged for anyone who would capture the then elusive gold.

Diaz won the women’s 55-kg. weightlifting event at the Tokyo Olympics on July 26, making the Philippines a part of the Olympic gold medal countries’ list.

It also served as the biggest good news the Filipinos have ever received amid the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

Her victory comes at a very crucial point in our country’s history when we are grappling with a pandemic and a lot of Filipinos are looking for hope as we fight this virus and cope with the difficulties it has brought,” Ang said.

Upon meeting at the SMC office in Pasig City, however, he gave Diaz a surprise gift.

Ang rewarded Diaz with two Magnolia Chick ‘N Juicy franchises that she could put up at her new condominium in Quezon City and at her hometown in Zamboanga City.

“With the franchise outlets, we will assist Hidilyn every step of the way in her journey as an entrepreneur so that she can also help other people in need of jobs. In addition to the physical stores, equipment, and training, we will also provide the initial stocks for free to get her started,” he added.

The generosity of Ramon S. Ang is truly amazing and genuine. Not only was the promised cash reward released to Hidilyn Diaz, he gifted her with commercial franchises which can add to our nation’s economy by creating opportunities for the unemployed to bounce back from poverty while providing choices to consumers looking for good products. I really like this because I truly believe that capitalism the way to prosperity and the most effective way to lift people up from poverty. Capitalism does socio-economic wonders while socialism only drags people down and ruins societies. As it is a fact that cash rewards/incentives from both the government and private sector cannot last forever as the cost of living only keeps going up, having a business that succeeds will keep prevent people from falling into poverty. To see Hidilyn Diaz gifted with business franchises is great!

For those who are not aware, Chick ‘N Juicy is a chicken rotisseries retail business that has many branches and it is being expanded. Chick ‘N Juicy sells chicken supplied by sister company Magnolia. Customers can order from them online with products like sweet roast chicken, garlic roast chicken, fried chicken drumsticks, chicken rice meals and more at https://www.chicknjuicyofficial.com/

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you happy about our nation’s Olympic gold medalist getting rewarded and gifted by tycoon Ramon S. Ang?

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

Business tycoon Ramon S. Ang will give P22 million in incentives to Olympic medalists

There is no doubt that the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games was historic for the Philippines thanks to Hidilyn Diaz, Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam and Eumir Marcial who won four medals combined, including the Olympic gold (in women’s weightlifting).

In addition to the established law that guaranteed that the Olympic medalists will receive millions of pesos worth of incentives from the national government, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) president Ramon S. Ang will give over P20 million more in incentives to them according to a recent report by the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

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

San Miguel Corporation (SMC) president Ramon S. Ang will give Tokyo Olympics medalists, led by the country’s very first gold medal winner Hidilyn Diaz, a total of PHP22 million in incentives for accomplishing the Philippines’ best Olympic performance to date, in 97 years of competing in the foremost international competition.

Ang’s “personal gift” or incentive to the winning athletes, as earlier announced by the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) prior to the Summer Games, will consist of PHP10 million for weightlifter Diaz, PHP5 million each for boxers Carlo Paalam and Nesthy Petecio for winning silver medals, and PHP2 million for boxer Eumir Marcial’s bronze finish.

“As a longtime partner and supporter of Philippine sports, I’m so happy for our athletes. All their hard work paid off. They’ve opened the eyes of so many Filipinos sports patrons, fans, and aspiring athletes that indeed, we Filipinos can compete and win against the best in the world in the Olympics. This is just the beginning. We have the momentum. We can only get stronger in the succeeding Olympics,” Ang said in a news release on Monday.

“I’m especially grateful to Hidilyn, whom we’ve supported for several years now, for giving honor to the country by winning our very first Olympic gold medal. We can build on these successes to develop stronger sports programs and produce more Olympic winners like Hidilyn, Carlo, Nesthy, and Eumir,” he added.

Ang also said the Olympic athletes, as well as their coaches and teams, gave the Philippines more than just medals.

“The message of this Olympic campaign for us Filipinos is clear. We are resilient in the face of challenges and we do not back down from adversity. This pandemic is perhaps one of the greatest challenges in our lifetime. Thank you Hidilyn, Carlo, Nesthy, and Eumir for giving us hope and inspiration during this critical time. You showed us that nothing is impossible,” Ang said.

Ang added that as the Olympics showcased the outstanding athletic feats that fully-trained athletes are capable of, it also serves as a reminder that people are not limited, and that Filipinos should endeavor to keep fit and healthy in the face of Covid-19 pandemic.

“Aside from following health protocols to stop the transmission of the virus and getting vaccinated, we should also do our best to make sure we are mentally and physically fit and healthy during this crisis. I believe that will help us a lot in coping with the stresses of this time,” Ang said.

Before the pandemic, SMC consistently supported the country’s participation and hosting of international competitions, including the staging of 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

Wow! The deep generosity of Ramon S. Ang is undeniable and he is absolutely right that great achievers who competed in very tough competitions should be rewarded handsomely. While Republic Act Number 10699 (RA10699) guarantees that the national government will release incentives for national athletes who won medals in specific competitions, private sector-provided incentives are undeniably helpful and very welcome. Thank our Heavenly Father for all the success achieved and the blessings that manifested! Thank the Lord also for the tremendous Olympic success the Philippines achieved!

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you very happy for everything that our nation’s four Olympic medalists achieved for the Filipino people at the Tokyo Olympics? Are you delighted to learn that the Olympic medalists as well as all the other Philippine Team members who did not win medals at the Tokyo Olympics will be rewarded accordingly?

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: 118 businesses in Las Piñas City awarded with Safety Seals

To ensure that business establishments are safe for customers to visit and do business transactions in during this COVID-19 pandemic, the inspection team of the City Government of Las Piñas found one hundred and eighteen businesses qualified for the Safety Seal as revealed in a recent Manila Bulletin news report. That is a majority of the recent inspection of almost one hundred fifty businesses they visited.

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

The Las Piñas City government inspection and certification team has already inspected 149 business establishments around the city.

Out of the evaluated establishments, 118 have already been awarded with safety seal certification for passing the checklist in the implementation of health and safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Safety Seal Inspection Team formed by Mayor Imelda Aguilar is composed of City Administrator Reynaldo Balagulan, City Public Information Officer-Paul Ahljay San Miguel, and other offices in the city government.

According to the report, 31 business establishments that were inspected and evaluated still need to comply with other requirements before they will be awarded with safety seal certification.

Aguilar called on all business establishments in the city to comply with the checklist requirements.

She said the safety seal certification will allow businesses the opportunity to gradually increase their operating capacity.

For the newcomers reading this, business establishments having Safety Seals posted should restore business confidence at least in the short term. Within Las Piñas, SM Southmall itself got certified safe. Offices at Las Piñas City Hall qualified for Safety Seals. Whether an office or a business establishment has a Safety Seal or not, visitors can still do their parts in meeting health protocols by wearing face masks and face shields.

With regards to local COVID-19 matters, any Las Piñas resident reading this who has yet to get registered for free COVID-19 vaccines can learn the ways (4 methods) by clicking here. Anyone who is ready and willing to register online can click bit.ly/LasPiñasVaccination

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Have you visited any local business there in Las Piñas that does not have a Safety Seal yet? Did you witness the City Government’s inspection team do their work?

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: Foreign direct investments spiked in April 2021 in connection to CREATE Law, economic reopening and other factors

It’s been months since the last time I wrote about the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises act otherwise referred to as the CREATE Law. For the newcomers reading this, the CREATE Law was designed to cut down corporate income tax which should lead to the creation of new jobs and the attraction of investment in mind. The said law is really crucial in this COVID-19 crisis we are all still living with.

Recently, the Philippine News Agency (PNA) published an article stating that a huge rise of foreign direct investments (FDIs) in the country was realized this past April and the CREATE Law was one of the factors behind it.

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

An economist has attributed the rise of foreign direct investments (FDIs) in the country in April 2021 to the implementation of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) law and the opening of the economy.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Monday reported the 114.4-percent year-on-year jump of net FDI inflows to USD679 million last April from USD317 million in the same period last year.

In a report, Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) chief economist Michael Ricafort said lower interest rates and lower cost of some inputs like real estate property and leases are plus factors that enticed higher FDIs.

Some foreign investors may have started to come in view of the progress made on the CREATE law, which was finally signed on March 26, 2021 and reduces corporate income tax rates to 25 percent for large corporations (from 30 percent) retroactive July 1, 2020, thereby narrowing the gap with the tax rates in other Asean/Asian countries, and also provides greater certainty on investment incentives, thereby helping attract more FDIs and making some foreign investors on the sidelines in recent months/years to become more decisive and finally bring in more FDIs into the country,” he said.

Ricafort said positive credit rating actions on the Philippines, which even got its first-ever A-level credit rating, A-, from the Japan Credit Rating Agency (JCR) in June 2020, also boosted investors’ sentiment on the domestic economy.

The positive credit rating actions, he said, “reflect improved international investor confidence in the country, manifesting the country’s improved economic fundamentals, as well as the country’s attractive demographics.”

These factors are, however, expected to be countered by the still high number of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases, aggravated by new variants that are reported to be more contagious.

Ricafort believes that higher government spending, especially on infrastructure, and the accommodative monetary policy by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) are seen to further support the rise in net FDIs.

The above article is indeed filled with good news that our nation badly needs, especially since there are still many millions more people around the country who have yet to get vaccinated and the fact that lots of businesses are still struggling. In recent times, patients under the A4 category have been gradually vaccinated for COVID-19 and that is a very good thing because it under that very category where the nation’s laborers are listed. There are still lots of unemployed workers out there who badly need vaccines and jobs, and it does not help that certain local government units (LGUs) had to temporarily suspend their local vaccination operations due to a lack of supply of vaccines. There are supposed to be around 13 million doses of vaccines to come into the Philippines this month, and so far some of that have arrived (click here, here and here).

More on economics, apart from the rise of FDIs last April, it was reported that the local demand for office space nationwide grew by 38% rising from 122,000 square meters (sqm) in the first quarter of 2021 to 169,00 sqm. in the second quarter. It was described to be the strongest office demand since the start of the pandemic.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Does the recent news about the sharp rise of FDIs in our country make you confident about your economic prospects? How much do you know about the CREATE Law and what further positive effects it can generate for the country? If you have been unemployed, how long have you been out of work?

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

Skyway Stage 3 toll collection to start July 12, 2021

For those of you who constantly drive going north or south through Skyway Stage 3, better brace yourselves as the collection of tolls from motorists will formally begin on July 12, 2021. That is this coming Monday already. Take note that it has been seven months since the use of Skyway Stage 3 was kept free for motorists.

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

After nearly seven months of providing the public free use of the 18-kilometer Skyway Stage 3, San Miguel Corp. (SMC) on Tuesday announced it will start collecting toll on the elevated expressway starting July.

In a statement, SMC said it will be using a revised toll matrix which is lower than the original proposed toll fees.

To recall, the Toll Regulatory Board approved last March the provisional toll rates for the Skyway 3.

The approved provisional toll rates are the following:

For Class 1 vehicles

Buendia to Sta. Mesa – P105.00

Sta. Mesa to Ramon Magsaysay – P30.00

Ramon Magsaysay to NLEX Balintawak – P129.00

Buendia to NLEX Balintawak – P264.00

For Class 2 vehicles, the toll rates are twice as much as the rates for Class 1 vehicles.

For Class 3, the rates are thrice the price of Class 1.

The approved provisional toll rates are lower than San Miguel’s petition ranging from P110 to P274.

SMC said the TRB issued a Toll Operating Permit and a Notice to Start Collecting Toll on Skyway 3.

The company, through its SMC Infrastructure, said it will post the final approved toll rates at the toll plazas prior to the start of toll collection.

SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang said that the revised toll matrix, as approved by the TRB, takes into consideration the pandemic, its impact on the economy, and on Filipinos.

“We thank the TRB for helping us determine the most equitable toll rates for our motorists.  We know from experience that times are hard for many, and even a little relief for motorists can go a long way. These toll rates reflect our deferral of the collection of a substantial amount of the cost to build Skyway 3. We also further lowered the rates for those traveling shorter distances,” Ang said.

He said the tolls it will collect will provide the company revenues to ensure continued efficient operations, maintenance, and safe driving conditions on the elevated expressway—particularly as daily traffic puts a heavy strain on the road infrastructure, necessitating significant maintenance costs.

Skyway 3 reduced travel time from Alabang to Balintawak and vice versa, to only 30 minutes from the previous three hours, and from Buendia to Balintawak, to only 20 minutes.

With a capacity of 200,000 vehicles per day, the elevated toll road has also significantly decongested traffic on major Metro Manila thoroughfares, including Edsa and C-5.

With the start of toll collection, the government can now also start generating significant income from the expressway, as it imposes a 12 % VAT on all toll fees, according to SMC.

SMC said it fully-funded the construction of the project with no government funds or guarantees and had spent over P80 billion– more than double its original cost – to complete the project over a period that spans two administrations.

And here is a related video news report also by GMA Network…

As seen in the above report, clearly it is high time for motorists to pay San Miguel Corporation (SMC) for using Skyway Stage 3 which itself is a magnificent piece of infrastructure (made possible by capitalists, not socialists) that will benefit generations of Filipinos who need to travel north, south and within key parts of Metro Manila. Skyway Stage 3 is a major factor in the decongestion of traffic along EDSA, C-5 and other major metropolitan roads. By the way, what motorists will pay starting Monday, a portion of that will go to the national government in the form of value-added tax (VAT).  

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you prepared to pay the toll rates for Skyway Stage 3 starting July 12? How many times a week do you travel along Skyway Stage 3? Are the toll rates approved fair to you?

If you are a daily traveler on Skyway Stage 3, how was your travel time between destinations?

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

San Miguel Corporation to speed up work on completing Skyway Extension

You must have heard about the opening of the northbound section (entry point at Susana Heights part of the South Luzon Expressway) of the Skyway Extension Project that happened just days ago with the presence of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) president Ramon S. Ang and Department of Highways and Public Works (DPWH) secretary Mark Villar who made final inspections that day. That’s really great news!

Here are more good news! SMC announced that it will do more with the construction of the Skyway Extension Project’s southbound section (exit also in the Susana Heights area of SLEX) and things will move at a faster pace with a 3rd quarter completion in mind.

To put things in perspective, below is the excerpt from the press release published through Philippine News Agency (PNA)…

“It’s only been a number of days since we opened the northbound section, free to the public until further notice, and already we have seen a huge improvement in traffic flow, particularly on SLEX (South Luzon Expressway) and the Alabang viaduct. That makes us even more determined to complete construction of the southbound section so this project can fully serve motorists and improve traffic and connectivity to and from the south,” SMC president Ramon S. Ang said in a statement Wednesday.

Ang said the soft-opening of the first two of the three lanes of the northbound Skyway Extension from Susana Heights to Sucat, Paranaque proved to be timely, as it coincided with the easing of quarantine restrictions.

Despite the higher volume of vehicles on the expressway, traffic has been smooth because many Class 1 vehicles now use the Skyway Extension. 

“We’re already seeing how convenient and much faster travel is now, and it will become even more evident when traffic volume picks up and starts to normalize. That is why we’d again like to ask for our motorists’ cooperation and understanding as we move towards completion of the southbound Skyway Extension,” Ang said.

As part of the next phase of construction, Ang said the Hillsborough off-ramp of the elevated southbound Skyway will be closed to traffic permanently starting April 19 at 6 a.m.

As such, vehicles coming from the elevated Skyway will now exit at the steel ramp in Alabang. Heavy traffic is expected in this area.

“Unfortunately, there is no way around it, we need to close this portion to secure the staging ground for equipment and workers and to accelerate construction and ensure the safety of our motorists. I appeal to our motorists again for their patience and understanding. We expect heavy traffic to persist for the duration of the construction, but rest assured we will do everything we can to help mitigate this, and complete the project within the timetable,” Ang said.

With this, SMC Infrastructure is advising motorists to take the following alternative routes:

Class 1 vehicles from Pasay, Makati, Manila, and Quezon City bound for SLEX and farther South

• From Skyway Elevated, keep left to Steel Ramp towards destination.

Class 1 vehicles from Pasay, Makati, Manila, and Quezon City bound for Alabang

• From Skyway – Elevated, keep right to Alabang-Zapote off-ramp.

The Skyway Extension southbound section has two lanes and runs from the Skyway Main Toll Plaza to Soldier’s Hills in Muntinlupa, with a total distance of four kilometers. 

Meanwhile, Ang reiterated that use of the northbound Skyway Extension will remain free for motorists until further notice. 

The Skyway Extension project is part of the 38-kilometer elevated Skyway System, which includes the newly-opened Skyway Stage 3, also fully-funded by SMC.

Did you enjoy the above news and details? I sure did. What San Miguel Corporation (in coordination with the national government) has been doing is already benefitting people of Metro Manila and those from both the north and south of the National Capital Region (NCR) who need to travel great distances efficiently and faster. The results will be even greater once the entire project has been completed and the benefits will be available not only to travelers and motorists today, but also for future generations of people. Check out the related Skyway video below.

That being said, SMC and the Skyway projects are great examples of capitalism making great improvements to the national infrastructure. It is clear that the private sector is essential as it has the technologies, the expertise and resources to improve the quality of life (apart from providing good paying jobs) here in the Philippines. Capitalism is essential and good, and socialism (and all its related Leftist garbage) sucks. For more insight about capitalism and socialism, watch these videos from John Stossel plus another video that debunks the Left’s propaganda that the poor got poorer.

In closing this piece, let me ask you what you do think about the latest developments about the Skyway project? If you actually traveled via the Skyway lately, how was your travel experience?

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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 plus a few other places now under MECQ until April 30, 2021

After two whole weeks of being placed under the restrictive ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the National Capital Region (NCR) and the provinces Cavite, Bulacan, Rizal and Laguna (note: these form NCR Plus as called by the local authorities) are now under MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine) until April 30, 2021. Far away from NCR Plus are the City of Santiago, the Province of Quezon and Abra in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) which also have been placed under MECQ status.

The shift to MECQ was approved by President Rodrigo Duterte in relation to the commitments made by more public and private hospitals to provide rooms and beds for patients suffering from COVID-19 (China Virus). The President urged PhilHealth (Philippine Health Insurance Corporation) to expedite the payment of claims of hospitals. For more details on this, read the Philippine News Agency’s (PNA) article.

MECQ is supposed to be the less restrictive form of quarantine. For one thing, the hours of curfew in Metro Manila has been adjusted to 8PM to 5AM (versus 6PM to 5AM under ECQ). To put things in perspective, here is an excerpt from the PNA’s article…

According to amended omnibus guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) as of April 3, 2021, strict home quarantine shall be observed in all households under MECQ. Movement of persons shall be limited to accessing essential goods and services, and for work in permitted offices or establishments or such activities allowed.

Persons below 18 years old, those who are over 65 years old, those with immunodeficiency, comorbidity, or other health risks, and pregnant women shall be required to remain at home at all times except for obtaining essential goods and services or for work.

Under the IATF-EID guidelines, the following establishments, persons, or activities shall not be permitted to operate, work, or be undertaken during MECQ:

— Entertainment venues with live performers such as karaoke bars, bars, clubs, concert halls, theaters, and cinemas;

— Recreational venues such as internet cafes, billiard halls, amusement arcades, bowling alleys, and similar venues;

— Amusement parks or theme parks, fairs/peryas, kid amusement industries such as playgrounds, playroom and kiddie rides;

— Outdoor sports courts or venues for contact sports, scrimmages, games, or activities;

— Indoor sports courts or venues, fitness studios, gyms, spas or other indoor leisure centers or facilities, and swimming pools;


— Casinos, horse racing, cockfighting and operation of cockpits, lottery and betting shops, and other gaming establishments except for the draws conducted by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office;

— Indoor visitor or tourist attractions, libraries, archives, museums, galleries, and cultural shows and exhibits;

— Outdoor tourist attractions;

— Venues for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions;

— Personal care services which include beauty salons, beauty parlors, medical esthetic clinics, cosmetic or derma clinics, make-up salons, nail spas, reflexology, aesthetics, wellness and holistic centers, and other similar establishments; acupuncture and electrocautery establishments, and massage therapy including sports therapy establishments. It also includes establishments providing tanning services, body piercings, tattooing and similar services. Home service for these activities is likewise not permitted; and

— Indoor dine-in services of food preparation establishments such as commissaries, restaurants, and eateries.

Now that the MECQ is in effect, we will find out soon enough how the many struggling businesses will perform, how many affected employees will be able to return to work, how vehicular traffic on the highways and major roads will turn out and how these changes will affect the daily count of new COVID-19 cases which has been averaging over 10,000 a day recently.

It has been over a year since the China Virus spread worldwide and negatively impacted the way people lived, brought down their earnings, made attending on-site worship harder (note: the authorities in California did Satan’s bidding and the United States Supreme Court struck down their abuse of power legally), and pushed varied authorities to adjust the way they manage their places and constituents. No matter how grim the situation is, I urge you my readers to never lose hope and always look up to Lord Jesus who is the true Savior for us all. I encourage you to grab a copy of the Holy Bible and read the full Chapter 91 of the Book of Psalms, believe in it and come to Lord Jesus.

God will make a way for those who are faithful to Him. You do not need religion. You do not need unbelief. You do not need to believe in this screwed-up world we live in. You do not need idols for they are unholy and idolatry itself is foolish. You need unwavering faith in Him for He is holy and only He deserves our worship, trust and honor.

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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