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#COVID-19 Regional Updates (06/07/20)

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Number coding still suspended

THE number coding scheme for vehicles in Metro Manila remains suspended on June 8, the Metropolitan Manila Authority (MMDA) announced Sunday. The coding system, intended to reduce the volume of vehicles in the capital’s roads, was supposed to take effect again Monday after being lifted since the lockdown in mid-March. MMDA said the “number coding scheme is still suspended on Monday, June 8, until further notice due to limited operations of public transportation in Metro Manila.”

League of mayors, governors push for ‘system’ from national gov’t on returning OFWs

MAYORS and provincial governors were one in calling out the national government for the unsystematic sending of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to their hometowns. “We request for a system to organize returning OFWs based on their point of destination,” Bacolod Mayor Evelio R. Leonardia, president of the League of Cities of Philippines, said in an online meeting Friday organized by the Department of Defense and attended by several Cabinet secretaries. Mr. Leonardia noted that “lack of coordination is also becoming widespread” and stressed that “unpredictable and erratic arrivals of returnees” are difficult to manage as local teams need to be organized to process them upon arrival to ensure health safety protocols are observed. The mayor’s call was supported by Marinduque Governor Presbitero Jose Velasco Jr., president of the League of Provinces of the Philippines. Apart from returning OFWs, local governments are also currently handling the return of residents who were locked out of their hometowns when the quarantine rules were implemented starting mid-March. Several returning OFWs and locally-stranded persons, including those that have certificates of being negative for the coronavirus, have tested positive for the disease upon arrival at their locality. — MSJ

Finance chief to ask agencies to allow Bangsamoro regional gov’t to implement projects with national funding

FINANCE Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III will ask state agencies to enter into agreements with Bangsamoro officials to give the regional government authority to implement projects with national funding. The projects, the Finance department said in a statement on Sunday, involve various sectors, including health, education, infrastructure, and agriculture. “I assure you that the agencies of the national government serving as counterparties in these coordination mechanisms are as fully committed to move forward with this bold initiative in autonomy,” he said during the May 29 online meeting with officials of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). The BARMM has a block grant of P63.6 million in this national year’s budget, which is provided under the law in line with the regional government’s fiscal autonomy, but at the same time subject to rules of the Department of Budget and Management. Mr. Dominguez also said he will ask representatives from the national government to start working with their BARMM counterparts for mechanisms on agreed policies, namely: Zones of Joint Cooperation in the Sulu Sea and Moro Gulf; synchronizing infrastructure development plans; establishment of an Intergovernmental Energy Board; a Council of Leaders that will give advice to BARMM’s chief ministers; and the Philippine Congress-Bangsamoro Parliament Forum for legislative initiatives. Mr. Dominguez and BARMM Education Minister Mohagher Iqbal co-chair the Intergovernmental Relations Body created to coordinate relations between the national government and the Bangsamoro government that is in transition until 2022. — Beatrice M. Laforga

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