DILG chief aims to put entire PH under Alert Level 1 status

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MANILA – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año is striving to place the entire country under Alert Level 1 to speed up economic recovery amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Yes, ‘yun ang ating adhikain d’yan. Dapat buong Pilipinas under Alert Level 1 para talagang halos ang ating restriction na lang ay minimum public health standards at ang iba’t ibang bayan ay umunlad at mag-take off na (Yes, that is what I am striving for. The whole country should be under Alert Level 1 so that almost all of our restrictions are limited only to the minimum public health standards and various localities will progress and take off),’’ Año said in a radio interview on Monday.

He also mentioned that the government has modified the criteria for placing a region under Alert Level 1, such as the needed vaccination rate of the A2 (senior people) population, which has been reduced from 80 percent to 70 percent.

“We should get vaccinated so that even if we have another case surge, we are ready to face it. Anyway, vaccines are free and proven to be safe and effective, what we need to do, and the information campaigns of our LGUs (local government units) must be continuous, as well as strategic communication and providing incentives to encourage those unvaccinated to get vaccinated,” he added.

He also stated that municipalities now can also be placed under Alert Level 1 based on the healthcare utilization rate of their province.

Año previously believed that Metro Manila and many other areas will be put under Alert Level 1 until June after these locations were downshifted to the most relaxed health restriction against the pandemic from April 1 to 15.

The DILG chief said that this is due to the gradual drop of Covid-19 active cases in the country, but he also advised people not to become complacent, stressing the need of adhering to the minimal public health standards.

Comparing the data from March 21 to 27 to the previous week, Año pointed to the 24 percent decline of Covid-19 active cases, describing these as good numbers that he hopes will place the whole country under Alert Level 1. 

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Dionardo Carlos supported Año’s statement during a press briefing in Camp Crame, noting they are now focused on securing travelers ahead of the Holy Week break as travel restrictions have been eased.

“Ahead of the traditional Holy Week retreat next week that is the highlight of the three-month summer vacation season, the PNP is directing focus to public safety and enhanced law enforcement operations to ensure safe and secure national observance of the Holy Week. These public safety operations shall also cover enhanced police visibility and preventive patrols in Islamic communities and places of worship to ensure the peaceful and orderly celebration of the Holy Month of Ramadhan that began over the weekend,” Carlos said.

This, as the PNP expects an increased volume of passenger traffic in public transportation hubs, seaports, and domestic air terminals across the country.

According to Carlos, police assistance centers and road safety marshals would be stationed along national highways to help motorists.

House committees to hold hearings during break

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Spread the loveMANILA – The House of Representatives has authorized for its committees to conduct hearings during the five-week congressional break, extending until late April.