As the enhanced community quarantine in force in Metro Manila enters its fourth week, a number of local government units continue to enact measures that will provide transport owners with a reprieve from the payment of taxes and dues.
the Valenzuela City Council has passed three “Tigil Pasada, Tigil Multa” ordinances to aid drivers of public tricycles, pedicabs and e-trikes affected by the suspension of mass public transportation.
Under the ordinances, the penalties and surcharges for the late renewal of registration and other pertinent permits of pedicabs, motorized tricycles, and e-trikes in light of the COVID-19 crisis will be waived.
Meanwhile, Las Piñas City distributed P1,000 cash assistance to some 10,000 tricycle and pedicab drivers in the city as part of the local government’s support to the sector of informal workers who lost their earnings due to the quarantine.
Mayor Imelda T. Aguilar ordered the release of a P10 million fund sourced from the city’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office for the financial assistance.
The beneficiaries are composed of 6,500 trike drivers who are members of 32 registered tricycle drivers and operators’ associations (TODA) and 3,500 pedicab drivers plying various routes in 20 barangays.
On the other hand, the Philippine Army (PA) yesterday led the distribution of family food packs donated by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to low-income families in Barangay Hulong Duhat, Malabon City.
In a statement released by Army spokesman Col. Ramon Zagala, 6,000 families were the initial beneficiaries of the P250 million worth of food donations from the ADB to help households tide over while the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) is in effect to contain the coronavirus COVID-19.
Barangay Hulong Duhat has a population of roughly 14,000 residents.
“The Philippine Army is continuously doing its COVID-19 response by closely coordinating with our stakeholders and having our capabilities available so that the needs of the people are delivered to them as soon as possible,” Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, PA Commanding General, stated.
Valenzuela’s Ordinance 682, Series of 2020, also known as “PODA Tigil Pasada, Tigil Multa Ordinance,” an amnesty on penalties and surcharges is awarded for the late renewal of the registration, permit to operate, and driver’s permit for public utility pedicabs. The same amnesty applies for the late renewal of registration and driver’s permit for private utility pedicabs.
The “TODA Tigil Pasada, Tigil Multa Ordinance” or Ordinance 683, Series of 2020, waives the penalties and surcharges on the late renewal of the franchise, motorized tricycle operator’s permit and tricycle driver’s registration identification card for public utility tricycles.
It also covers the late renewal of registration, annual regulation fare sticker, and tricycle driver’s registration ID for private motorized tricycles.
Ordinance 684, Series of 2020, otherwise known as the “E-Trike Tigil Pasada, Tigil Multa Ordinance,” also grants amnesty on penalties and surcharges for the late renewal of registration, supervision permit and driver’s permit for both public and private e-trikes.
The ordinances also cover private utility pedicabs, private motorized tricycles and private e-trikes.
Upon the lifting of the enhanced community quarantine, a 30-day extension shall be granted to drivers, owners and operators to process the requirements for renewal of their pedicabs, motor vehicles and e-trikes.
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More Remdesivir vials available
To further boost its campaign against the coronavirus disease, the Manila City government has allocated funds to purchase an additional 2,000 vials of Remdesivir, which is said to be effective in COVID-19 treatment.
Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso made the announcement yesterday as he disclosed 1,000 vials have already been delivered to city hall.
This will add to the 2,000 vials the city bought last August as part of treatment modules for COVID-19-infected Manileños.
The city’s district hospital directors and health officials have already informed the mayor that Remdesivir has been effective in the medical treatment of COVID-19 positive patients.
“This is what’s important for me, that I will be able to help the patients survive. If they are surviving, then we are on the right track in helping as many as possible to survive,” Domagoso said.
The mayor urged the directors of local government hospitals to assist other hospitals, particularly private hospitals and national government hospitals, in case they will require vials of Remdesivir.
“Help as many lives as possible. Let us help in giving life to people. Let us extend our hand because we are talking about saving lives,” he said.
“I am after as many lives that we can save. That is the logic behind our approach for COVID-19. That is a universal approach,” he added.
Jobseekers warned against illegal recruiters
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) yesterday issued a warning against travel agencies illegally recruiting jobseekers for overseas employment opportunities.
The POEA said it has received numerous reports concerning travel agencies offering employment abroad.
“The scam involves payment of large amounts of placement/processing fees in exchange for a promise of work with lucrative salaries in factories, farms or hotels and multi-year visas to countries such as South Korea and New Zealand,” the agency said.
A travel agency identified as Sam Stay Tours was reportedly engaged in fraudulent activities by offering fake work or tourist visa stickers in South Korea.
The Embassy of the Republic of Korea clarified that Sam Stay Tours is not an accredited travel agency of the embassy, and that restrictions on work and tourist visa issuance are in place due to COVID-19.
Also, visa stickers are no longer being issued since 1 July 2020.
The Korean Embassy has also issued an advisory warning the public to be careful not to fall for said schemes.
Aside from Sam Stay Tours, other travel agencies reportedly conducting overseas recruitment activities are MGR Travel, Ailar Travel Agency, Agenda de Marisian and other similar offices.
As part of their modus, the travel agencies present dubious certificates of registration from the Department of Trade and Industry, which, even if valid, does not authorize them to conduct recruitment activities, as they are not licensed by the POEA.
The Philippine Overseas Labor Office in New Zealand and South Korea also clarified they have not accredited any Philippine-based travel agency to conduct recruitment activities.
The POEA warns the public to ignore unsolicited job offers made by travel agencies, consultancy firms and/or training centers.
“These are illegal recruitment schemes,” it stressed.
Five nabbed at tupada
Five men were arrested on Sunday afternoon for engaging in an illegal cockfight or tupada in Quezon City.
Talipapa Police Station P/Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bilaro said the suspects were nabbed at around 12:30 p.m. on 20 September along Fariñas Street in Barangay Bahay Toro.
Those apprehended were Kenneth Presilda, 26, Rufino Fernandez, 47, Dominic Mojar, 39, Inrich Tabayay, 23, and Archie Acuna, 32.
Talipapa police received a telephone call from a concerned citizen about the tupada, which led to the operation resulting in the arrest of the suspects.
Confiscated at the crime scene were two live fighting cocks with gaffs and various bills totaling P1,300.
They will be charged with violation of Presidential Decree 449 (illegal cockfighting) in relation to the general community quarantine.
Yorme orders manhunt for cop killers
Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso ordered the Manila Police District (MPD) to deploy its personnel in the search for the suspects behind the killing of a police escort on Saturday afternoon in Sta. Cruz, Manila.
During yesterday’s flag-raising ceremony, the mayor expressed grief over the death of PEMS Roel Candido, assigned to MPD Police Station 11, who was shot to death by two men as he was escorting a gold trader from her shop in Ongpin.
“Turn over Manila. Turn over the whole country. Go out and give justice to the police force. Ask Manila cops and they will tell you that cop killers never grow old. I hope you can read between the lines,” an emotional Domagoso said.
“I want justice. How I wish I can get one. I hope God forgives me,” he added.
Candido was escorting home businesswoman Catherine King when a vehicle blocked their path on F. Torres Street, Sta. Cruz. Two armed men emerged from the car and shot dead Candido, before shooting at the car, opening the door and taking away a bag filled with an undetermined amount of cash.
King and her driver, Sulpicio Pisngot were injured in the incident.
The mayor expressed disagreement over the decision of Gen. Camilo Cascolan, Philippine National Police director general, for relieving P/Lt. Col. Ariel Caramoan, MPD Police Station 5 commander, for failing to control the crowd at last weekend’s opening of the Manila Bay white sand beach.
He said Caramoan could now be helping in the search for Candido’s killers.
“Instead of punishing Caramoan, he (Cascolan) should instead look for the cop killers, and not go after the criminals on the sand. Look for the guys who killed my policeman. He is also your policeman too. He was totally defenseless as you can see in the video,” Domagoso expressed.
On the other hand, the mayor revealed a suspect has already been arrested in the killing of a traffic marshall in Port Area last week, while another suspect is now the subject of a police manhunt.
Peloton is new Comelec commissioner
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) welcomed newly appointed commissioner Michael Braganza Peloton as the poll body’s newest member.
Peloton, who has experience in information technology, was introduced by Comelec chief Sheriff Abas in a statement yesterday.
“On behalf of the Commission on Elections, I am delighted to welcome Atty. Michael Braganza Peloton to our Comelec family as the newly nominated commissioner,” Abas said.
The Comelec chief said Peloton will be replacing former Commissioner Luie Tito Guia, who retired in February this year.
Peloton will be serving as commissioner until 2 February 2027.
“Commissioner Peloton is a timely addition to the Commission en banc as his vast experience in the field of Law and Information Technology will highly contribute in our thrust to further improve and revolutionize our electoral processes,” Abas said.
“He will complement the existing members of the Commission en banc as we continue to strive to fulfill Comelec’s mandate of strengthening and advancing our democracy,” he added.
Drug peddlers nabbed
Authorities seized on Sunday night more than P200,000 worth of alleged shabu from two suspects during a buy-bust operation in Barangay Pinagbuhatan, Pasig City.
Pasig police chief P/Col. Moises Villaceran Jr. identified the suspects as Jeffrey Suguion, 41, and Anthony Briones, 39.
The suspects were arrested in an operation conducted by operatives of the Pasig City Police Station’s Drug Enforcement Unit along Summerville Nagpayong 2, Barangay Pinagbuhatan at around 8:50 p.m.
Confiscated were four plastic sachets containing suspected shabu weighing about 35 grams with an estimated street value of P238,000, a coin pouch and the P500 buy-bust money.
Also seized from one of the suspects was a Colt caliber .45 pistol, loaded with four live ammunitions.
The suspects, now detained at the Pasig City Police Station custodial facility, will face charges for violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Snags hit contact tracers search
The search for contact tracers to assist in the fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has hit a snag as most applicants fail to complete the requirements needed for the job.
In Quezon City alone, of the 1,000 applications it received, only 364 submitted all needed documents.
Emmanuel Borromeo, Quezon City director of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), said those interested for the job must provide a downloadable letter of intent, personal data sheet, National Bureau of Investigation clearance and drug test result.
Because of this, only 113 applicants for contact tracers have been endorsed to the DILG regional office.
“What we do is we text them, send them emails to complete their requirements,” Borromeo said in an interview.
The DILG-QC has until Wednesday, 23 September, to complete its recruitment for additional contact tracers.
The DILG announced last month it was recruiting an additional 50,000 contact tracers to augment the 85,000 it deployed around the country.
MMDA closes more EDSA U-turn slots
Motorists are advised to study alternate routes to their destinations after the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) announced it will gradually close 13 U-turn slots in the next three months to make way for the ESDA Busway.
Assistant Secretary Celine Pialago, MMDA spokesperson said the closure of the U-turn slots will allow for faster travel time for buses plying EDSA.
“The barriers for the new bus lane that we will install will really close the U-turn slots along EDSA,” Pialaga said.
Three U-turn slots in Caloocan City will be closed. These are the slots at Gen. Tinio, De Jesus Street/8th Street and Gen. Malvar.
Affected vehicles must take a turn at Monumento, for those who are southbound, and Balintawak Cloverleaf, for those who are northbound, to reach their destinations.
On the other hand, vehicles from NLEX (North of Luzon) toward or turning left at A. De Jesus/8th Street must go straight to A. Bonifacio Avenue, then right at C3/Sgt. Rivera to their destination.
In Quezon City, seven U-turn slots between Balintawak Cloverleaf and Quezon Avenue will be closed. These are the slots at Balintawak Market in front of BPI, Kaingin Road in front of Nissan, Congressional LRT Station in front of PANORAMA, Corregidor intersection/Bansalangin, Quezon City Academy, North Avenue before MRT-North Avenue, and Santolan/Boni Serrano in front of Camp Crame.
All affected vehicles must take a U-turn at Balintawak Cloverleaf (southbound) and Quezon Avenue (northbound) to their destination.
In Makati City, the Buendia U-turn slot under the Kalayaan Flyover will be closed.
All vehicles coming from Guadalupe (northbound) must take a U-turn using the service road/intersection of EDSA/Ayala Avenue to their destination.
In Pasay City, two U-turn slots will be closed: P. Celle and the slot before Roxas Boulevard near Heritage Hotel.
All affected vehicles coming from F.B. Harrison (northbound to southbound) shall take the U-turn slot under Magallanes Flyover and vehicles coming from the south going north must take the signalized intersection or MOA Circle.
Pialago said the MMDA will be providing alternate U-turn slots that motorists may use other than these slots.
Manila receives 15,000 masks
The City of Manila has received a donation of 15,000 medical masks from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in the Philippines to support its effort against the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, along with Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna and Secretary to the Mayor Bernie Ang, received the items from TECO Representative Peiyung Hsu, who was joined by Kenway Tan on behalf of the Taipei mayor.
The Manila officials thanked TECO for the donation, as they acknowledged the support it offered to extend for its other anti-COVID initiatives.
The Manila mayor had been actively calling for everyone in the city to constantly wear a mask, since this is the cheapest and most effective way of protecting oneself and others from becoming infected with the virus.
Ang said the TECO donation is an expression of confidence and support for the joint efforts of Domagoso and Lacuna in addressing the pandemic.
He added the gesture stems from the sister-city relationship between Taipei and Manila, which goes a long way back, and is a demonstration of real friendship between the two cities.
As “sister cities,” Manila and Taipei have agreed to promote cultural and commercial ties and form a linkage that would involve an exchange of culture, trade and tourism for their mutual benefit, Ang explained.
Taiwan is known for its successful response against COVID-19, resulting in a low rate of infections. It recorded only seven deaths in May, at a time when there was a surge in most of other countries.