Manila launches walk-in testing facility, open even for non-residents

A WALK-IN testing center for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was launched by the Manila City government on Monday, adjacent to the Ospital ng Sampaloc, and it is open and free even to non-residents. Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko” M. Domagoso has called for donations to help sustain the free service, which is also being offered at the city’s two drive-thru testing facilities. The donations will be used to buy more reagents to test more blood samples, Mr. Domagoso said as he emphasized the need for an inclusive approach to fighting COVID-19. “Yakapin natin lahat hanggang kaya nating yakapin lahat (Let’s embrace everyone as much as we can). We cannot survive alone. Kakayanin natin ang hamong ito (We can overcome this challenge),” he said. “I want every Manileño to be good people to others, like how Manila is trying to be a good neighbor to other cities.” Manila is one of the 16 cities plus one municipality that compose the National Capital Region, which has been the country’s COVID-19 epicenter. Manila alone has recorded 3,714 coronavirus cases as of July 17, of which 1,376 are active. There are also over 500 suspected and probable patients under monitoring in the city. — Gillian M. Cortez

Parañaque partners with Keri Delivery for online services

PARAÑAQUE CITY has partnered with Keri Delivery, Inc. to complement local government services and transactions that can now be done online. Mayor Edwin D. Olivarez, in a statement Monday, said the “all-in-one technology-enabled delivery service” is intended to minimize physical interactions in the face of the coronavirus threat as well as in line with its e-governance thrust. “This is part of our strategic measures in dealing with the current situation as we find innovative ways to better serve the public,” he said. “This is also part of its e-governance program to ease doing business with the local government,” Mr. Olivarez said during the signing of the agreement with Keri Delivery. The service includes pick-up of documents for submission to the city government, payment of fees and charges via manager’s check, and delivery of issued permits and licenses. “The program covers all types of government transactions such as business permits, locational clearance, building permits, and other government-issued documents,” said Melanie Soriano- Malaya, head of the Business Permit and Licensing Office. The city also recently launched an online appointment system and online business application system.

10,000 still stranded in Cebu City

AROUND 10,000 people from different parts of the country are still stranded in Cebu City, the only area currently under a strict lockdown category due to a high number of coronavirus cases. Under national guidelines, people from stricter quarantine areas cannot go to a lower category area. Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr., chief implementer of the coronavirus national task force, said they are assisting the stranded individuals until they can go back to their respective hometowns. He said most of them are from the neighboring regions of Western and Eastern Visayas. Meanwhile, the government has assisted nearly 100,000 overseas Filipino workers return to their provinces, according to the Department of Labor and Employment. “About 95,702 overseas Filipino workers repatriated by the government due to the coronavirus pandemic have been transported back to their homes,” the agency reported Monday. — Gillian M. Cortez

DA suspends operations after 3 employees test positive for COVID-19

WORK AT the central office of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Quezon City has been suspended starting July 20 to July 24 after three of its employees tested positive of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said disinfection procedures and installation of health safety measures in all of its buildings and offices will be undertaken while employees are directed to continue work from home. Other affected offices within the DA compound are: Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries, Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority, Bureau of Agricultural and Fisheries Engineering, Philippine Rural Development Project — National Project Coordination Office, and the field office of the Civil Service Commission. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave