#COVID-19 Regional updates (06/08/20)

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Quarantine rules likely to be further eased by June 16 for some areas

QUARANTINE rules are likely to be further eased in areas under the general community quarantine (GCQ) category by June 16, but the capital Metro Manila is still subject to closer scrutiny being the center of the coronavirus outbreak in the country. Palace Spokesperson Harry L. Roque, in a briefing on Monday, said the overall trend in most areas is a decrease in cases. “Kung ang pagbabasehan po ay iyong onset of illness, kailan nagkaroon ng unang sintomas, eh malinaw na malinaw po ang trend, pababa na po tayo ng trend (If we base it on the date of the onset of illness, on when the initial symptoms were, it’s clear that the trend is already going downward),” he said. For Metro Manila, he said the national task force will assess data when they make the decision this week. A GCQ is in effect in the National Capital Region and several major urban areas from June 1 to 15, while the rest of the country has been allowed less restrictions. Under the GCQ in Metro Manila, public transportation is limited, with jeepneys still not allowed to operate. Mr. Roque said the Palace will be looking for funds to help distressed jeepney drivers and operators, who have been without livelihood since the lockdown started March 15. — Gillian M. Cortez

Immigration main office closed starting Monday for disinfection

THE Bureau of Immigration (BI) main office in Manila was closed on Monday for disinfection after one employee tested positive for coronavirus. “We have decided to temporarily close our main office to protect not only our employees but that of the transacting public as well against this deadly virus,” Commissioner Jaime H. Morente said in a statement. Those who have scheduled appointments will be notified of their new schedules. Mr. Morente said the office will immediately resume operations once disinfection is completed. Satellites and extension offices in Metro Manila remain open. Melvin P. Mabulac, immigration acting spokesperson, said he tested positive for coronavirus and his co-workers will undergo mandatory testing. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas

San Juan mayor, entourage still facing legal case for Baguio health protocol breach despite apology

SAN JUAN City Mayor Francisco Javier M. Zamora and his entourage on a trip to Baguio City, which included family members and police escorts, are still facing legal action for breaching health safety protocols despite a public apology. “Complaints have already been lodged and the PNP (Philippine National Police) hierarchy has directed a formal investigation, purposely to determine culpability, based on our complaint. This is due process that we are all duty-bound to abide by, for the process to take its full course. Let them prove their innocence, as they have manifested before us, before the proper judicial or quasi-judicial bodies,” Baguio Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong said in a statement on Monday. “Indeed, we have accepted the apologies of Mayor Zamora, no doubt conveyed in sincerity. But in my talk with him, I emphasized that it is to the people of Baguio, not I, who deserve to do that… In any case, we should not lose sight of the fact that his conveyed apology, no matter how profuse, does not mean that he and his group are now freed of any legal consequences for their actions,” said Mr. Magalong, a former police officer. At the same time, the Baguio mayor appealed to local residents “to exercise greater discernment and restraint in prejudging.” He said, “We share everyone’s reaction that an incident of this nature, done in utter violation of border controls, took place at all. Let us however bear in mind that the full appreciation of facts and the proper evaluation of evidence at hand are best left to our courts or the rightful quasi-judicial bodies. This is how justice works.” An online petition has been launched calling on the city council to declare Mr. Zamora persona non grata in Baguio, citing that, “By ignoring protocols and initiatives of the City of Baguio, one of the cities in the country that serves as a model in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 thanks to the discipline and genuine concern of its citizens and the city’s current leadership, San Juan City Mayor Zamora, arrogantly and selfishly, spat in the face of every Baguio citizen who’s sacrificed so much to keep the city safer.” — MSJ

Davao transport terminal faces at least P2M monthly loss

THE Davao City Overland Transport Terminal (DCOTT), a local government economic enterprise, is facing more than P5 million in lost income just in the first two and a half months of the lockdown imposed to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. Aisa Yusop, DCOTT head, said in a virtual presser last week that the facility generates at least P2 million a month from fees for buses and vans, and rental from food stalls and ambulant vendors. DCOTT reopened last week under partial operations. “As of now, the advice is on the start of the trips of the provincial buses, but with regards to the reopening of the stalls and return of the porters and peddlers, no advice yet,” she said. The provincial buses allowed to operate are also still limited to within the Davao Region. — Maya M. Padillo