Local Roundup: State of calamity extended by a year

  • State of calamity extended by a year
  • Cemeteries closed
President Rodrigo Duterte has extended the state of calamity due to the COVID-19 pandemic until September 2021.

“The extension, will, among others, effectively afford the national government as well as local government units ample latitude to continue utilizing appropriate funds, including the Quick Response Fund, in their disaster preparedness and response efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, monitor and control prices of basic necessities and prime commodities, and provide basic services to the affected populations,” read Proclamation No. 1021 released by the Palace late Friday afternoon.

Duterte initially declared a 6-month state of calamity last March 16 then placed the main island of Luzon under total lockdown the next day to check the spread of the coronavirus.

60-day grace period

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has ordered its supervised financial institutions to implement a mandatory one-time 60-day grace period for all loans of individuals and entities following the passage into law of the Bayanihan 2 Act.

The move is expected to help individuals and business entities recover from the impact of the pandemic that battered the economy since early this year.

BSP-supervised financial institutions have been directed not to charge or apply interest on interest, penalties, fees or other charges during the grace period.

Cemeteries ordered closed

All public and private cemeteries and memorial parks will be closed from Oct. 29 to Nov. 4 to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, Malacañang announced on Friday.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases made the decision.

He says the public could visit these places before or after the scheduled closure of the cemeteries with a maximum venue capacity of 30 percent. People will be allowed to enter the parks and cemeteries from Sept. 17 to Oct. 28, and from Nov. 5 to Nov. 15.

No food-to-human transfer

The Food and Drug Administration says there is no evidence that the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, the strain responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, can be passed on from food to humans.

FDA Director-General Rolando Enrique Domingo made the clarification in a letter dated Sept. 11, 2020, to the Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc.

The group had earlier sought guidance from the agency on whether the COVID-19 virus could be transmitted to humans through food, food ingredients or packaging materials.

Tourism frontliners assured

The state-run Philippine Health Insurance Corp. on Friday assured tourism frontliners that their COVID-19 tests would be covered by it.

“The frontliners in the tourist zone are also at risk, so they are entitled to our free testing,” PhilHealth spokesman Rey Baleña said.

He made the assurance as Baguio City is set to open its doors to the tourists from Region 1 on Sept. 22, a few weeks after Tagaytay started to allow visitors.

Shorter social distancing backed

Former Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral on Friday supported the easing of physical distancing rules meant to curb coronavirus infections in the mass transport system.

“We think there’s not much difference between one meter and 0.75 meter. Just looking over your shoulder or moving a little when you are seated in a jeep is enough to reach that 0.75-meter distance,” Cabral told ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo.

“What is important is to wear a mask correctly, use a face shield and refrain from touching surfaces and then touching your face. Wash your hands frequently,” Cabral said.

Topics: Rodrigo Duterte , COVID-19 pandemic , Quick Response Fund , Bayanihan 2 Act
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