The United States government has extended an additional P201 million to help support vulnerable populations in Mindanao in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The US Embassy in the Philippines said the latest assistance brings the total amount of US pandemic assistance to the Philippines to P978 million.
Ambassador Sung Kim met virtually with Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao officials, led by Chief Minister Ahod ‘Al Haj Murad’ Ebrahim, who also leads the BARMM Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19, to convey the US assistance for the efforts to combat the pandemic.
Anger over SAP
A party-list lawmaker slammed the Department of Social Welfare and Development for its alleged failure to allow senior citizens to download copies of the Social Amelioration Program, forcing them to leave their homes and risk their lives.
In a privilege speech, Senior Citizens party-list Rep. Francisco Datol Jr. said several senior citizens fainted and some even died while lining up for financial help and awaiting health assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He addressed his complaint to Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and House Majority Floor Leader Martin Romualdez.
The chiefs of police and station commanders are now allowed to issue travel authority to stranded individuals and for essential travels, the Joint Task Force COVID Shield said Friday.
Philippine National Police Chief Archie Gamboa gave the permission to the officers to issue the travel authority.
It is expected to make travel between provinces and regions easier for stranded people provided they comply with the medical certificate requirement given by the city or municipality they come from.
Confirm your flights
General manager Eddie Monreal of the Manila International Airport Authority appealed to stranded passengers desperate to go back to their provinces not to proceed to the airport unless they have confirmed flights.
He made the appeal after the Ninoy Aquino International Airport was overwhelmed after stranded individuals came to it in groups.
It appeared that those stranded had a leader who told them to proceed to NAIA Terminal 2 because there was a flight that would bring them home to various parts of the Visayas and Mindanao.
Bicycle lanes welcome
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority on Friday welcomed the establishment of pop-up and elevated bicycle lanes that promote the use of the bicycle as a mode of transportation in the metropolis.
But the agency reminded bikers there were precautions for the safety of all road users. It said close coordination with the MMDA and local government units was important in using the designated lanes.
Rep. Precious Castelo on Friday urged the Department of Trade and Industry to regulate the prices of bicycles and small motorcycles, which have become popular as means of transportation among low- and middle-income groups.
She said the lack of public transportation amid the COVID-19 pandemic had forced many families to use bikes and motorbikes to go to work or to shop.
“Because they are becoming popular and demand is increasing, prices are naturally going up,” said Castelo, vice chairman of the House committee on Metro Manila Development.