To ensure the production of adequate and affordable food, the Agriculture department is requesting a P32-billion supplemental budget to implement a food security program called “Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat Kontra sa COVID-19.”
“This initiative, on top of the department’s existing programs, is aimed at averting a food shortage, supply disruptions and unstable prices due to the adverse impact of COVID-19 on farm and fish production and the transport of basic commodities and processed food products to the urban areas, particularly Metro Manila,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said.
He said the ALPAS COVID-19 program would allow the Philippines to attain food security during the national emergency period.
Aid for OFWs
All Filipino workers abroad who have been affected by the COVID-19 global pandemic are assured of government financial assistance through the Department of Labor and Employment, an official said Thursday.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III repeated his call to employers in the private sector to apply for the department’s COVID-19 Adjustment Measure Program or CAMP, which offers a one-time, 5,000-peso financial support to the employees of companies or business establishments that have adopted flexible work arrangements or temporary closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To avail themselves of the assistance, employers must submit their company payroll for February or earlier”•or before the implementation of the flexible working arrangements or temporary closures.
Assistance for private, public health workers
Senator Christopher Lawrence Go says public and private health workers who are on duty during the enhanced community quarantine deserve proper financial assistance from the government.
“Private health workers, especially those who gave their lives, should be included. We seem to be like facing a war as the front liners,” he said.
RA 11469 mandates a compensation of P100,000 to public and private health workers who may be infected by the COVID-19 while on duty. Those who may die of COVID-19 will also be entitled to a compensation of P1 million. The benefits have retroactive application beginning Feb. 1, 2020.
Vice President Leni Robredo and her partners from Angat Buhay have opened a dormitory for health workers and front liners this week.
She says the dormitory is in Cubao, Quezon City, and will be open for health workers, medical practitioners and other front liners such as security guards and other volunteers of programs related to the collective responses against COVID-19.
She says the initiative is in response to the requests received by the Office of the Vice President amid its ongoing assistance drive.
The Bureau of Immigration said Thursday all foreigners with temporary visitor visas and had stayed in the country for less than a year would be allowed to acquire its Emigration Clearance Certificates at the international airports.
Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said the decision followed after Luzon was placed under the Enhanced Community Quarantine to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
An ECC is issued to temporary visitors who have stayed in the country for more than six months, and to the holders of residence, work or students visas who wish to leave the country for good.
Marine battalion deployed
The Philippine Navy has deployed the 12th Marine Battalion to man the checkpoints set up to implement the 30-day enhanced community quarantine all over Luzon following the COVID-19 outbreak.
In a statement Wednesday night, Public Affairs Office Chief Maria Christina Roxas said the battalion was originally planned to be deployed to Sulu on the completion of its retraining at the end of this month.
However, due to the Covid-19 crisis, the unit was tapped to help in the government’s efforts to contain the disease.
Free bus rides
The Manila International Airport Authority on Thursday started deploying its free bus service to pick up airport employees going to and from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
The free airport shuttle is the agency’s initiative in cooperation with the Department of Transportation and UBE Express Premium Airport Bus Service.
The move is in line with the implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine along with the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte to provide assistance to front liners amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The Chinese General Hospital and Medical Center says it will no longer be accepting COVID-19 patients because it is full.
In a statement, Medical Director Samuel Ang said their health care workers were “depleted” while their test kits and personal protective equipment were lacking.
“With a heavy heart, the hospital has decided not to accept anymore PUIs/COVID-positive patients. They are encouraged to go to COVID-19- designated hospitals or other facilities,” Ang said.