We’ve hurdled COVID-19 pandemic – Marcos

Credit to Author: Helen Flores| Date: Sat, 18 Mar 2023 09:30:00 +0800

MANILA, Philippines — Three years after crippling lockdowns were imposed across Luzon, President Marcos believes the country has hurdled the hardships brought by the pandemic, citing the recovering economy and growing immunity from COVID-19.

In a speech during the distribution of various government assistance in Camarines Sur on Thursday, Marcos said there are signs that the country is recovering.

“We are somewhat recovering from the effects of the pandemic, our economy and the hardships brought by COVID-19,” Marcos said.

“Slowly, we are seeing that we are not getting as sick and we don’t worry as much about getting sick because we have already managed the situation. Some of us have been vaccinated already and have achieved immunity,” Marcos said.

“But it is not yet over. We cannot say that the problem with COVID is over. All the effects of COVID on our economy are over. But it’s still there,” the President added.

The Chief Executive also gave assurance that the government will continue to extend assistance to vulnerable sectors as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We ensure that assistance continues to be provided to those in need. You know that we are somewhat recovering from the pandemic… and the difficulties brought by COVID,” he said.

Marcos on Thursday witnessed the awarding of some P26.5 million worth of financial assistance to nearly 4,000 beneficiaries of the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/ Displaced Workers or TUPAD program of the Department of Labor and Employment and the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program.

TUPAD is a community-based package of assistance that provides emergency employment for displaced workers, underemployed and seasonal workers for a minimum of 10 days, but not to exceed a maximum of 30 days, depending on the nature of work to be done.

The government is also providing cash aid and family food packs through the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

The President also highlighted the importance of the Kadiwa outlets in boosting micro, small and medium enterprises in economic development and recovery after the pandemic.

During the launch of the first Kadiwa ng Pangulo initiative in Camarines Sur, Marcos said the government is close to achieving the goal of P20 per kilo of rice.

The administration has so far launched more than 500 Kadiwa ng Pangulo outlets nationwide.

Unvaccinated visitors are allowed to enter Camiguin island for leisure or essential purposes starting March 17 provided they present a negative antigen swab test result, Gov. Xavier Jesus Romualdo announced yesterday over his radio program.

“Karon wala na’y pili, whether for leisure, for tourism or work or other essential purposes, unvaccinated ka pwede na ka musulod gyud dinhi sa province and enjoy the province,” Romualdo said.

He said the test must be done no more than two days before arrival and that the antigen test should also be done at a DOH-accredited facility, as the provincial government will not accept self-administered antigen tests.

From the previous vaccination requirement for children aged five to 11 years old, the new EO now allows unvaccinated children of that age range to enter the province. This is after pointing out that the vaccination for this age group is not yet given in some places.

For children between the ages of 12 and 17 who haven’t been vaccinated, the local government will only need a negative antigen swab test.

The Clean Camiguin QR (www.cleancamiguinqr.com) will still be required from visitors and locals. Aside from the basic information needed, travelers can click on their current COVID-19 vaccination status.

Tourists visiting the town of El Nido in Palawan, whether vaccinated against COVID-19 or not, will be allowed to enter, according to the municipal government.

In her Executive Order 23-023, El Nido Mayor Edna Gacot-Lim wrote she “order(ed) the removal of the vaccination requirement to enter or travel in the Municipality of El Nido, Palawan.”

She stated that 98.07 percent of the total population of El Nido already received their complete COVID-19 vaccine shots.

The lifting of the vaccination requirement for entry into one of Palawan’s prime tourist spots will “promote local tourism activities as part of the (local government unit’s) economic recovery,” she added.

Lim issued the order last March 10, a day after the Department of Tourism’s Region 4-B or Mimaropa office held a consultation with the local government and tourism stakeholders, according to the agency. –Gerry Lee Gorit, Ghio Ong