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Sampaloc quarantine facility opened

Pat C. Santos



In an effort to fight the spread of COVID-19, the City of Manila has opened another quarantine facility at the Dapitan sports complex.

Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso and Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna inaugurated the center last Monday afternoon.

The mayor said the new facility is the sixth to be opened in Manila since the pandemic started, as he announced the city is nearing the completion of its target 400 beds.

The new Dapitan quarantine facility was initially meant to have a total of 45 beds. However, Lacuna, who exercises supervision over all city-run hospitals, said it has been upgraded to hold 60 beds.

Manning the facility is a 30-man staff, composed of 24 mainstays and six security officers.

Meanwhile, the mayor vowed that, in the next few days, the city will reopen additional quarantine facilities in various parts of the city.

He earlier announced he plans to open 12 such centers.

“Six more to come,” Domagoso declared. “We have opened three in the past three days. We will open another one in a day or two.”

Likewise, he also vowed to step up efforts aimed at preparing the city for any eventuality of a possible spike in coronavirus cases after the National Capital Region has been placed under general community quarantine.

Sampaloc has consistently topped the list of areas in the city with the highest number of COVID cases since Day 1. In fact, it was the very first district that was placed by the mayor under “hard” lockdown.

Meanwhile, new medical equipment was donated by the Embassy of Thailand to the Sta. Ana Hospital yesterday morning.

Ambassador Vasin Ruangprateepsaeng handed over one unit of negative pressure and two mobile isolation units, medical equipment used mainly in COVID-19 treatment.

Lacuna thanked the ambassador for his country’s kindhearted effort.

The Thai ambassador said that as part of the ASEAN community and with Thailand having long ties with the Philippines dating back some 40 years ago, it has been the commitment of the Thai people to support Filipinos in all their undertaking, taking into account this pandemic period.

“Manila and Bangkok had been sister cities for a long time. We are both committed to help one another, and this medical equipment would help Manila, you, Vice Mayor Lacuna and Mayor ‘Isko Moreno” in fighting COVID-19,” Vasin said.

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More Remdesivir vials available

Pat C. Santos



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.

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Jobseekers warned against illegal recruiters

Raymart Lolo



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.

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Five nabbed at tupada

Paula Antolin



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.

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Yorme orders manhunt for cop killers

Pat C. Santos



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.

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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.

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Drug peddlers nabbed

Neil Alcober



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.

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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.

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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.

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Manila receives 15,000 masks

Pat C. Santos



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.

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