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Another batch of stranded OFWs, LSIs return to Bacolod, NegOcc

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Manila, June 3 — More overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and locally stranded individuals (LSIs) returned home to Negros Occidental and Bacolod City from Metro Manila on Wednesday.

They were part of the second week of arrivals following President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive on May 25 to immediately send all OFWs stuck in quarantine centers in Metro Manila to their respective homes.

An AirAsia sweeper flight landed at the Bacolod-Silay Airport at about 7:35 a.m., carrying 38 passengers – 26 Negrenses and 11 Bacolodnons, with one LSI.

At the Bredco port here, 16 OFWs from Negros Occidental and five from Bacolod, along with two LSIs, arrived aboard a 2GO Group vessel at about 8:30 a.m.

Based on local health protocols, returning residents – whether OFWs or LSIs – are required to proceed to the patient care centers to undergo a two-week mandatory quarantine and subject themselves to reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

In Negros Occidental, Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said returning OFWs no longer have to complete the 14-day quarantine period once they yield a negative result before completing the required number of days.

From May 25 to June 1 alone, the province received 601 returning residents while this city has accommodated some 348 persons, who arrived either on sweeper flights or aboard 2GO Group’s Malasakit Voyage trips.

This June, the first flight arrived at the Bacolod-Silay Airport on Monday morning. It was an AirAsia sweeper flight that carried 12 residents of Bacolod City and 19 from various cities and municipalities in Negros Occidental.

The returning OFWs, who are residents of Bacolod City and Negros Occidental, are provided accommodations in hotels, tourist inns, and pension houses in the city, upon the respective agreements of the city and the province with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.For any query with respect to this article or any other content requirement, please contact Editor at contentservices@htlive.com
Copyright 2012. Philippines News Agency

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Resort owners told to observe safety standards

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Manila, June 3 — Resort owners and other tourism stakeholders in Antique on Wednesday were reminded to strictly observe health and safety standards as the industry reopens in the province.

“Safe physical distancing, continuous sanitation, and disinfecting should be observed by owners of the tourism facilities in the province,” Antique Provincial Tourism Office (APTO) head, Juan Carlos Perlas, said in an interview.

To ensure safe physical distancing, they are also instructed to only accommodate 50 percent of their guest capacity, he said.

“We would have to start from the bottom with new rules, but we are optimistic for Antique has always been different from usual places, laid back and without the large crowd,” he said.

He said protocols amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) crisis really affected the tourism industry in the province.

Based on the data provided by the APTO, some 210 tourism facilities temporarily closed since the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine in Antique last March 16.

But Perlas is optimistic the beautiful beaches and other tourist spots of Antique will bounce back as these are not yet that crowded, which could be one of the preferences of visitors.

Meanwhile, Flord Nickson Calawag, who owns the Calawag Mountain Resort in Barangay Tono, Tibiao, in a separate interview, said that they were forced to let go half of their staff because of the lockdown.

“We used to have 50 staff but we had to downsize our workforce due to Covid-19,” Calawag said.

He said their resort reopened only last June 1 when the province entered the modified general community quarantine following the issuance of Executive Order 65 of Governor Rhodora Cadiao.

“With the reopening of the resort, we are practicing safe physical distancing even no physical contact with our guests,” he said.

He said that guests are required to wash their hands upon arrival and those who are coughing or with fever will not be allowed inside the resort.

Calawag added that they adhere to Memorandum Circular Number 2020-002 of the Department of Tourism (DOT) that details health and safety guidelines on the operations of accommodation establishments under the new normal.

The reopening of the Calawag Mountain Resort’s fish spa, rubber tubing, and other adventure activities have started luring tourists.

“We hope our domestic tourists would be more encouraged to visit and promote the local destinations,” he said.

Since Antique is now part of the One Panay Community Quarantine starting June 1, residents of Panay Island would be enticed to visit the Calawag Mountain Resort and other destinations in the province, Calawag added.For any query with respect to this article or any other content requirement, please contact Editor at contentservices@htlive.com
Copyright 2012. Philippines News Agency

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SAP beneficiaries in Pangasinan to get second tranche

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MALASIQUI, June 3 — Only the household beneficiaries in Pangasinan will receive the second tranche of the social amelioration program (SAP) among the provinces in the entire Ilocos Region, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) confirmed on Wednesday.

In a forum, DSWD regional director Marcelo Nicomedes Castillo said based on the guidelines, only Pangasinan qualified for the second tranche since the province was among those areas that remained under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) until May 15, while the other provinces of La Union, Ilocos Norte, and Ilocos Sur were removed from ECQ and placed under general community quarantine since May 1.

Castillo, however, clarified that the total 433,429 household beneficiaries in the province might be lessened depending on the result of the extensive validation the DSWD is currently conducting.

“If upon validation, the beneficiaries will be proven not qualified, then they will be removed from the list who will receive the second tranche,” he said.

Each qualified household beneficiary in Pangasinan will again receive PHP5,500.

The schedule of the release of the second tranche is still to be announced.

In the entire Ilocos Region, a total of 777,375 SAP household beneficiaries received the first tranche of the emergency cash subsidy amounting to a total of PHP4.275 billion, but only 110 local government units (LGUs) have fully completed distribution.

“The other 15 LGUs have not fully completed distribution because the allocation for them exceeded the number of qualified beneficiaries in their area,” Castillo said.

He added that LGUs are now in the liquidation process of the SAP funds.

“We thank the LGUs including the barangay officials, the staff, among others because amidst the hardships they were able to finish the distribution,” he said.

Meanwhile, some 57,841 households will also receive emergency cash subsidies as additional SAP beneficiaries, or formerly called the ‘waitlisted’.

“These are qualified beneficiaries who were not included in the list of SAP beneficiaries. The lists of names were submitted by their respective LGUs, but these are still for validation,” Castillo said.

He said the LGUs have submitted a total of 59,963 names, more than the allocated number of additional beneficiaries in the region, hence the validation will filter and possibly reduce the number.

LGUs in Ilocos Norte submitted 1,693 additional beneficiaries, Ilocos Sur with 5,031, La Union with 3,663, and Pangasinan with 49,576.

Castillo said they are still waiting for the criteria and specific guidelines for the release of the subsidy to the additional beneficiaries.For any query with respect to this article or any other content requirement, please contact Editor at contentservices@htlive.com
Copyright 2012. Philippines News Agency

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Anti-terrorism bill new tool for peace, security: Army

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Manila, June 3 — The Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) has backed the passage of the House Bill 6875 or the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 as it is a “new tool to promote peace and security.”

The House of Representatives has approved the said bill on third reading Wednesday.

Maj. Cenon Pancito III, spokesperson of the Army’s 3ID, told the Philippine News Agency on Wednesday that the security forces in Western and Central Visayas support the developments in Congress.

“This is a new tool to fight insurgency, to promote peace and security in our area and we welcome it,” he said.

Pancito said the bill effectively repeals the Human Security Act of 2007, giving clearer guidelines to the security forces in the anti-terrorism campaign.

“It guides us in winning the war, leads to who are the terrorists, and penalizing other acts that are leading to the eventual felony or crimes,” he said, as the bill carries provisions imposing life imprisonment without parole on those who will participate in the planning, training, preparation, and facilitation of a terrorist act; possess objects connected with the preparation for the commission of terrorism; or collect or make documents connected with the preparation of terrorism.

The bill also calls for 12 years imprisonment to persons who shall threaten to commit terrorism and those who will propose any terroristic acts or incite others to commit terrorism.

“This is for the people. This will promote more of peace and order situation in our area rather than curtail the rights and the freedom of some,” he said.

Although the act of terrorism in Central and Western Visayas is low, he said the 3ID also takes part in monitoring security threats.

The insurgency problems in this part of the country, he said, are brought about by the presence of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

“Our fight against NPA has not yet ended but in terms of terrorism, we also have efforts for that. We will also counter terrorism,” he said.

Despite the current coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, the 3ID said passing the bill showed that the government is also paying attention to other important matters.

“The world cannot stop because we have Covid-19. We have to move forward along with our other tasks,” he said.For any query with respect to this article or any other content requirement, please contact Editor at contentservices@htlive.com
Copyright 2012. Philippines News Agency

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