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This Week in Metro Manila (June 20 to 26, 2020)

Solo drivers in Metro Manila and other GCQ areas can now drive without face masks!

By: Denisse Shawntel Tan | June 20, 2020
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Metro Manila, quarantine , COVID-19, Quarantine Updates, Health News, Transportation News

President Rodrigo Duterte extended the general community quarantine (GCQ) in Metro Manila as the cases of COVID-19 in the country continue to increase. The government is also making solutions for motorists since work has resumed for most Filipinos. For one, tricycles in Taguig City were allowed to resume operations last June 15. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) also implemented bike lanes along EDSA. In addition, drivers can now avail of the Land Transportation Office’s (LTO) services online. Solo drivers in GCQ areas are also allowed to drive without face masks.

For health news, a doctor denounced the claims that COVID-19 is losing its lethality. Meanwhile, a contact-tracing app has also been developed by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

Quarantine Updates

Metro Manila remains under GCQ

President Rodrigo Duterte announced the extension of the general community quarantine in Metro Manila and other areas last June 15. The GCQ will continue until June 30th [1]. The decision was made by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) after observing the increasing number of new cases in the country. Duterte also insisted that the quarantine level may change after he consults the business sector about the possible modification of the already modified community quarantine. Aside from Metro Manila, other areas placed under GCQ are the following:

• Cagayan
• Isabela
• Nueva Vizcaya
• Quirino
• Santiago City
• Aurora
• Bataan
• Bulacan
• Tarlac
• Olongapo City
• Cavite
• Laguna
• Batangas
• Rizal
• Quezon
• Occidental Mindoro

In Visayas, Bohol, Cebu, Negros Oriental, Siquijor, Mandaue City, and Lapu-Lapu City are under GCQ, while only Davao City and Zamboanga City are under this quarantine level in Mindanao. DOH secretary Francisco Duque also stated that minimum health standards are still required to be observed in high-risk areas such as supermarkets, healthcare facilities, and government workplaces.

Manila, Quezon City, and Muntinlupa relax curfew hours

Manila, Quezon City, and Muntinlupa adjusted their curfew hours as the entire country remains under quarantine. Last June 16, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno signed City Ordinance No. 8647, changing the curfew in the area from 8:00 PM to 5:00 AM to 10:00 PM to 5:00 AM. Moreno also said that shortened curfew hours will benefit businesses since dine-in options are now also allowed to operate at 30% capacity.

In Quezon City, the local government released a new memorandum that also shortened their previous 8:00 PM to 5:00 AM curfew hours into 10:00 PM from 5:00 AM. The new hours are in effect starting June 15. Those who are exempted from the curfew are workers on a work-related trip, emergency cases, and those who have scheduled flights.

Meanwhile, Muntinlupa City will now have a 10:00 PM to 4:00 AM curfew. First-time violators will be fined a penalty of PhP500, and the fine will increase for succeeding offenses. Along with the fine, violators would also get a barangay blotter. Their grants and benefits from the local government will also be cancelled. Fines and penalties for violators in Manila and Quezon City were not disclosed.

Transportation News

Tricycles in Taguig resume operations

The tricycles in Taguig City resumed operations last June 15. According to the local city government, only 20 percent of the tricycles per tricycle operators and drivers association (TODA) are allowed. Besides limiting the amount of drivers, all terminals and tricycle units are also required to be fully equipped with protective and disinfection equipment for the safety of both the drivers and passengers. In terms of fare collection, the city government said that they are planning to use cashless payments using cellphones. Along with the tricycles, the Libreng Sakay program by the Taguig City Government will also continue to provide transportation to essential workers and frontliners [2].

Bike lanes to be placed along EDSA

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) reassured cyclists last June 14 that protected bicycle lanes will be placed along Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) this week. According to DOTr, the bike lane will be narrower than what is suggested by cycling groups, but it is wider than the MMDA’s initial plan. MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago said that a minimum of 1.2 meters would be implemented for bike lanes instead of their initial proposal of 1 meter. The demand for bike lanes in EDSA increased since work has resumed in Manila and many workers resorted to bicycles to commute to work due to the lack of public transportation [3].

LTO and LTFRB services now accessible online

In order to lessen physical contact, the LTO and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) have made their transactions available online. Under their new system called Public Transport Online Processing System (PTOPS), customers can now have faster, easier, safer, and more convenient transactions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The system underwent pilot testing from June 1 to 15.

Services that can be availed online through LTO and LTFRB’s websites include requests for renewal of driver/conductor’s license, requests for revision of records, and requests for certificate of no apprehension. Motorists with contested cases can submit their position papers online through the Land Transportation Management System (LTMS). Settlement updates and hearing schedules will be announced through email [4]. Those who want to settle admitted cases and traffic violations may pay their fines via electronic payment channels, online banking, or any LTO district office cashier.

DOTr: Solo drivers not required to wear face masks inside their vehicles

Private vehicle owners who drive alone are not required to wear face masks while inside their cars [5], according to DOTr. LTO’s Memorandum Circular No. 2020-2185. The memo said that wearing face masks is mandatory for drivers and passengers of private and government vehicles at all times. DOTr Assistant Secretary Goddes Libiran said that LTO’s previous statements do not apply to individuals who are driving alone. But if the individual has passengers, he/she will be required to wear a face mask. The memorandum dated May 12, 2020 includes safety protocols and procedures for public and private vehicles.

Shopping News: IATF approves partial dine-in services in restaurants within GCQ areas

Restaurants in GCQ areas may resume dine-in services according to the IATF. However, there are conditions that must be followed by restaurant owners and customers. According to Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, restaurants should only operate up to 30% only. Social distancing, health and safety protocols, and wearing of face masks are also required. DTI Undersecretary Boy Vizmonte also said that they will conduct random inspections in restaurants to make sure that the management and customers are practicing the safety protocols [6].

Several restaurants have also set their own safety measures as they resume their operations. Besides social distancing, they also require their staff to wear clean uniforms and personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times. Customers are also required to wear face masks upon entry and must undergo thermal-scans and fill out a health declaration form. Dining in large groups per table is not allowed.

Some buffet establishments have also been coming up with a new setup. Diners will be asked to order using disposable forms instead of lining up to get food. Customers will also be required to fill out a health declaration form on their mobile phones. Glass shields will also be installed at buffet stations. They will also use disposable biodegradable plates, cups, and utensils. Schedules for services will also be limited.

Health News

Health expert denies claims of COVID-19 getting weaker

San Lazaro Hospital Adult Infectious Disease and Tropical Medicine Section Chairman Dr. Rontgene Solante denied claims that COVID-19 is getting weaker [7]. According to Solante, COVID-19 is still potent and deadly. He also said that the virus may persist for coming months and maybe for a longer time. In addition, DOH’s data also indicate the continuous increase of COVID-19 cases in the country.

DOST develops contact tracing app SafePass

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has developed a new app that can help in contact tracing for COVID-19 cases. The app, which is called “SafePass,” has been undergoing pilot testing in DOST facilities. It is a collaboration between technopreneur Winston Damarillo and DOST. SafePass can also be used to plan and manage space capacity for social distancing. It will also show a collection of COVID-19 information. The app is yet to be released or approved by the IATF [8].

Go to Yoorekka for more useful local information during this pandemic.

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About Denisse Shawntel Tan
Denisse Tan is currently a work in progress: she’s an aspiring writer, artist, and fashion designer! She’s trying to figure out how to manage her time in achieving all of her goals while also taking in life as humanly possible. Aside from art, she’s a big fan of the color pink, disco music, Bratz dolls, and Genshin Impact. By age 35, she plans to travel to New York City 🗽.
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Disclaimer: All articles in the Consumers Magazine of Yoorekka are for general information and entertainment purposes only. Although careful research has been made in writing them, Yoorekka does not make any warranty about the completeness and accuracy of all information presented in our articles. Our content is not intended to be used in place of legal, medical, or any professional advice.
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