The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) plans to tap a new payout facility to hasten the distribution of the second tranche of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) to Quezon City residents.
The DSWD, through NCR LGU coordinator for QC Ilene Lotino, relayed this information to Mayor Joy Belmonte after the local government asked for clarification regarding the delay in the payout to many of the SAP beneficiaries in the city.
“Sa wakas, nakipag-ugnayan na rin sa atin ang DSWD pagkaraan ng matagal na panahon nating pag-aapela na mabigyan ng paglilinaw. Maraming residente na ang dumadaing sa atin. Karamihan sa kanila ay nawalan ng kabuhayan at wala nang panggastos para sa araw-araw na pangangailangan,” said Belmonte.
The DSWD explained that the payout is hampered by the lack of information, particularly the contact numbers of the beneficiaries.
“Naipaliwanag sa amin na nahihirapan sila sa pamimigay dahil marami sa mga benepisyaryo ay hindi kumpleto ang impormasyon, gaya ng cellphone number,” said Belmonte.
The new payment facility proposed by the DSWD will hasten the payout process as it also provides manual payout delivery services to recipients who do not have contact numbers for wire transfers.
“Pinaplantsa lang nila ang mga detalye para ito’y agad na maisakatuparan at upang mapakinabangan na ng ating mga residente ang SAP na ipinangako sa kanila ng national government”, she added.
Once ironed out, the SAP payout can commence in October.
Social Services Development Department (SSDD) head Fe Macale earlier disclosed that out of the 377,584 SAP recipients in the city, only 151,192 have received the second part of the national government’s financial assistance worth P8,000.
As for the 217,386 waitlisted residents whose names were submitted on appeal, 203,896 have already obtained the cash aid from the government.
QC partners with LMP, Gracia Telecoms to boost local digital platform
The Quezon City government has collaborated with the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) and Gracia Telecommunications Corp. to further enhance its digital platform in the community level amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
On Monday, Mayor Joy Belmonte, LMP president and Narvacan, Ilocos Sur Mayor Luis Chavit Singson and Gracia Telecoms president and CEO Charisse Singson will lead the launch and turn over Automated Payment Machines (APM) to selected barangays.
The APM is a joint project of the LMP and Gracia Telecoms to provide local government units (LGUs) and their constituencies a safer and more convenient payment alternative.
“Malaki ang maitutulong ng teknolohiyang hatid ng Gracia Telecoms sa paghahatid ng tulong at serbisyo sa ating mga residente, lalo na ngayong panahon ng new normal,” said Belmonte.
“Sa pamamagitan nito, mababawasan din ang face-to-face transactions sa City Hall na makapipigil sa pagkalat ng virus,” she added.
Gracia Telecoms has initially provided the local government with nine APM kiosks that will be installed in selected barangays across the city’s six districts and in strategic areas within the City Hall Complex.
Gracia Telecoms will also provide debit cards for free to residents, which they can also use to make online payments and purchases and withdraw money, among others.
According to Business Permits and Licensing Department (BPLD) head Margarita Santos, the city government plans to include Gracia Telecoms as one of its gateways for tax payments and other fees due to the city in the long run.
“We will also tap Gracia Telecoms to help in cashless transactions for upcoming programs,” she said.
QC confident barangays can sustain drop in COVID-19 cases
Through the Quezon City government’s “Race to Zero” campaign, cash incentives await barangays with the highest number of identified probable and suspect coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases and lowest number of confirmed cases.
Outstanding barangays in the small (population below 10,000), medium (10,000 to 50,000) and large (above 50,000) categories will receive P50,000, P100,000 and P200,000, respectively.
Data collection started last Sept. 7 and will end on Sept. 14. The awarding will be held on Sept. 21, in time for Barangay Day.
According to Mayor Joy Belmonte, the campaign will further motivate barangays to intensify their search for probable, suspect and confirmed virus cases and to sustain the drop in the number of daily cases in the city.
“We’ve already seen the flattening of the curve based on the latest findings by a noted research group. We hope to sustain it further through this initiative,” said Belmonte.
Belmonte was referring to the UP OCTA Research, which indicated that the number of average daily cases in Quezon City dropped for three straight weeks, from 540 on Aug. 10-16 to 205 from Aug. 1 to Sept. 6.
The Reproduction Number (Ro), which indicates the movement of the virus, also dropped for five straight weeks, from 1.47 (July 27 to Aug. 2) to 0.92 on Aug. 31 to Sept. 6.
“Magsisilbing hamon ang kampanyang ito sa ating mga barangay na paigtingin pa ang kanilang pagkilos para mapigil ang pagkalat ng virus sa kanilang mga lugar,” Belmonte added.
According to Dr. Rolly Cruz, head of the City Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit (CESU), the program will inspire barangays to be more proactive in searching for probable, suspect and confirmed COVID-19 cases.
“Unahan natin ang virus through active case finding. Lagi natin ipatupad ang contain-isolate-quarantine-treat kahit suspected case pa lang,” said Dr. Cruz.
Aside from identifying suspect, probable and confirmed virus cases, Barangay Community Relations Department head Ricky Corpuz said this initiative will also drive barangays to enforce strict minimum health protocols, such as wearing of face masks and face shields and social distancing.
“If we protect our community and our workplace, then we’ll be able to keep our economy going,” Corpuz said.
QC government partners with Shopee to support city’s MSMEs
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to affect businesses, the Quezon City local government strengthens its programs supporting micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) by partnering with e-commerce platform, Shopee.
In the said partnership, Shopee will be providing free registration for QC MSMEs to join their online platform and provide wider and stable economic opportunities and growth.
Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte welcomes Shopee as another digital platform partner.
“We value the economic well-being of our MSMEs in the city as they are our important partners in developing the local economy. With Shopee, we will be able to help more of them survive and continue their businesses despite the ongoing health crisis,” Belmonte said.
Martin Yu, Associate Director of Shopee Philippines, expressed full support to the MSME recovery program of Quezon City.
“"We are happy to partner with Quezon City to help their local sellers step up on their digitalization efforts and capture the growing proportion of online-first consumers. This year, one of our commitments for the 9.9 Super Shopping Day is to aid the economic recovery for local MSMEs, sellers, and brands,” Yu said.
“This collaboration will further build on our existing efforts to support local sellers affected by the pandemic. We will continue to provide MSMEs and sellers with a platform to grow their e-commerce business and unlock growth opportunities online.”
MSMEs may apply provided that they are compliant with the local government business registration requirements. QC government through its Small Business and Cooperatives Development and Promotions Office (SBCDPO) shall screen applicants and endorse qualified MSMEs to Shopee for onboarding and training.
Mona Yap, head of SBCDPO, underscores the importance of online market platforms. “The continuing quarantine limited the movement of people but with online platforms like Shopee, our MSMEs will have greater market access, and customers will be able to purchase even in the comforts of their home.”
Interested applicants may get in touch with SBCDPO through their Facebook page.
QC barangay quarantine facilities put up 860 beds and counting
Aside from the 2,000-bed capacity of its HOPE quarantine facilities, the Quezon City government also has an additional 860 beds in isolation centers established by various barangays for suspect and confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients.
Mayor Joy Belmonte said 82 out of the 142 QC barangays have already put up dedicated facilities, which are located in city- or barangay-owned buildings, to avoid home quarantine for probable, suspect and confirmed COVID-19 cases.
The Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases earlier discouraged home quarantine due to the increasing infection among household members.
“We want all barangays to have their own quarantine facilities so they can immediately pull out suspected patients from their households, thereby controlling the spread of infection,” Belmonte said.
As of last count, District 1 has 213 beds while District 2 has 90 beds. District 3 has 154 beds set up in 24 barangays while District 4 has the highest number of beds with 281. District 5 and 6 has 78 and 44 beds, respectively.
“Tataas pa ang bilang na ito dahil inaasahan natin na marami pang barangay ang gagawa ng sarili nilang pasilidad,” Belmonte said.
As for other barangays that don’t have the capacity to put up their own quarantine facilities, QC COVID-19 Task Force Head Joseph Juico said nearby barangays will be asked to assist them.
“Some barangays that do not have any buildings due to their size will be provided with beds in nearby communities,” Juico said.
“They can also bring their patients to any of our Hope Community Caring Facilities, which now have more than 2000 beds for patients,” he added.
Juico said doctors from the City Health Department will also be regularly visiting barangay isolation facilities to check up on the patients.
The need to discourage with home quarantine was highlighted by a recent report from the city’s BantAI COVID data monitoring, indicating an increase in the number of youths infected with the virus due to close contact with positive adults in households.
“There have been reports that household infection is continuously growing due to the fact that some family members have resumed work,” Belmonte explained.
“We request that they limit physical affection such as hugs, cuddles and kisses for the meantime. Konting tiis muna. Para sa panahon na matapos na ito, mas mahigpit na yakap ang maibibigay natin sa ating mga mahal sa buhay,” she added.
Stronger Together: QC teams up with Manila Water, PCCI to step up fight against pandemic
The Quezon City government teamed up with private corporations and non-government organizations (NGOs) to ramp up its fight against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) through proper hygiene.
“The city is facing a long war with COVID-19. We have survived the first six months under lockdown, and we have done well in controlling its spread and protecting our people. But we intend to do better. It is reassuring that we have the support of groups like the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industries – Quezon City (PCCI-QC) and corporations like the Manila Water Foundation (MWF),” Mayor Joy Belmonte said.
On September 4, Mayor Joy Belmonte led the inauguration of MWF’s four new hybrid handwashing facilities strategically located in various areas around the city. These are on top of the two facilities that were rehabilitated as part of Manila Water’s “WASH in Pandemic” project, which aims to promote handwashing as a primary defense against the spread of the virus.
“These hybrid facilities were specifically designed for current conditions: there is a one-meter distance between faucets; the faucets can be turned on through lever by hand or elbow or through a foot pedal; and they are accessible to both PWD and children,” the MWF explained.
Meanwhile, PCCI-QC joined Mayor Belmonte in the distribution of face masks to senior citizens, who are considered at higher risk due to their age and lingering illnesses.
“We see in Mayor Belmonte a leader who never gets tired of fighting for the safety of her people. Likewise, QC residents are willing to fight COVID-19. Kailangan nila ng tulong, and we want to help in our small way,” the PCCI-QC said.
The PCCI-QC has already substantially donated in QC’s fight against COVID-19. The PCCI-QC donation has formed part of the pool of funds that helped the creation of QC mobile testing centers, acquisition of six (6) testing booths, purchase of face masks, and the operation expenses for hospital on wheels for three (3) months.
Humanitarian group Tzu Chi, on the other hand, plans to give jeepney drivers a monthly relief pack of 20 kilos of rice and groceries for the next three months. Beneficiaries are chosen from the list submitted to them by the QC Task Force on Transport and Traffic Management.
“We are thankful for these supports and efforts for QC residents. They give us strength. They give us hope. Together, we will win the war against COVID-19 hopefully soon,” Belmonte said.
Contact tracing platform reveals increasing number of youth at risk of COVID-19 infection in QC households
The Quezon City government has observed an increase in the number of youths infected with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) due to close contact with positive adults in households as indicated by data from its artificial intelligence (AI)-based platform.
The increase was mentioned during the presentation of the accomplishment report on BantAI COVID, a monitoring and contact tracing platform it developed in partnership with the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) and the Vireo Loadworks Inc.
Quezon City Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit (CESU) head Dr. Rolly Cruz said almost 8,000 patients have been enrolled as of last count since the platform's implementation on July 29, 2020.
“Sa nasabing bilang, napansin natin na may naitalang 920 close contacts na nasa edad 0 hanggang 10 taon habang nasa 995 naman ang itinuturing na adolescent o nasa pagitan ng 11 hanggang 18 anyos,” Cruz said.
He added the data supported the theory that further transmission of COVID-19 occurs within the households of patients.
“The children and adolescents are currently confined within their homes due to the quarantine and their exposure to the virus is due to the adults,” Cruz said, noting that BantAI COVID has 5,186 enrolled patients between 19 tO 59 years old.
He also mentioned that around 895 senior citizens are also in danger of acquiring other diseases after being infected with the virus.
“This information shows the need to practice minimum health standards even at home to counter the spread of the virus within the household,” Cruz pointed out.
With the help of BantAI COVID, Mayor Joy Belmonte said the city government can craft new policies and strategies to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 within the communities.
“Malaking tulong ang mga impormasyon mula sa BantAI COVID upang maiakma natin ang mga plano at programa sa kasalukuyang sitwasyon,” said Belmonte.
“Bukod pa rito, mapapaigting pa natin ang pagsusulong ng mga kailangang pag-iingat, tulad ng pagsusuot ng face mask sa lahat ng panahon at ngayon face shield sa mga workplace, palengke, public transport at commercial establishments,” she added.
BantAI COVID is an SMS platform that utilizes AI and text messaging though mobile phones to enhance contact tracing and daily monitoring of symptoms for all in-home quarantined suspected and probable COVID-19 cases.
Using BantAI COVID’s data analytics, the local government is provided with a real-time picture of the pandemic situation, enabling them to maximize resource allocation and decisions.
Through the system, enrollees receive regular text messages reminding them of social distancing, hand washing and personal protection. The platform also has an interactive question and answer function, eliminating the need for face-to-face interviews with close contacts.
QC establishes TWG to coordinate ‘Oplan Kalinga’ implementation
The Quezon City Government, through Executive Order No. 39 s-2020 issued recently by Mayor Joy Belmonte, has established a technical working group (TWG) to work with the National Government in their implementation of Oplan Kalinga and other similar programs. The objectives of the TWG are to enhance the City's coordination with the concerned National Government Agencies and the Barangays, and to ensure that safeguards are in place prior to each implementation of the said National Government initiatives.
The Oplan Kalinga program, led by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, seeks to provide isolation and quarantine facilities for possible and confirmed COVID-19 patients from Cities and Municipalities that can no longer provide the same for their constituents. The program uses hotels and other accommodation establishments in Quezon City and other Cities in Metro Manila for these purposes. Similar National Government efforts include those currently undertaken by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Department of Health-Bureau of Quarantine, and the Department of Tourism catering to repatriated Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).
However, it was noted that the programs have not been sufficiently coordinated, hence resulting in situations where patients have been monitored leaving the hotels and mingling with the community, thus increasing the possibility of infection.
In addition, the Quezon City government also discovered during various surprise inspections of hotels already utilized for these National Government programs that several of these hotels were found non-compliant with a number of City regulations.
Nonetheless, according to the lady Mayor, “Inspite of the situation, the Quezon City Government remains committed to support the National Government in its endeavors, provided that proper coordination and safeguards are in place to ensure the safety and well being of the people of Quezon City." Hence the creation of this technical working group, which the Mayor herself will Chair.
The Assistant City Administrator for Operations will serve as Vice Chair of the TWG, which is tasked to inspect all Quezon City hotels that have been selected by the concerned National Government Agency, and determine if they are compliant with existing local guidelines. The TWG will also coordinate with regard to schedules as to when hotels in Quezon City will be utilized as isolation or quarantine facility for any of the aforementioned National Government programs.
In addition, the TWG is also tasked to review other arrangements such as security, transportation, food provision and other essential needs of the patients, infectious waste management and disinfection. The TWG will also monitor the conduct of final medical assessment and issuance of medical certificate before guest-patients can be "discharged" from their hotels.
The head of the City Tourism Office will serve as the TWG’s Action Officer while the members are the heads of the City Health Department, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Business Permit and Licensing Department, Department of Public Order and Safety, Task Force Transport and Traffic Management, Department of the Building Official, Task Force Solid Waste Management, City Legal Department, Public Employment and Services Office, Barangay and Community Relations Department, Public Affairs and Information Services Department, and the District Director of the Quezon City Police District.
Quezon City awards supply contract for 176,000 tablets for distance learning
After a rigorous bidding process, the Quezon City government has awarded the contract for the supply and delivery of tablets for the newly adopted distance learning modality of the Department of Education for the school year 2020-2021.
Local contractor Trireal Enterprise who won the contract will provide 176,000 Samsung tablets worth P1.2 billion to Grade 7 to 12 public school students for their distance learning.
During the granting of notice of award, Mayor Joy Belmonte said Trireal Enterprise, along with its joint venture partner Radenta Technologies Inc., was selected after going through the proper bidding procedures.
The Mayor also expressed admiration to Samsung for their commitment to educating our youth during these trying times by tailor-fitting their devices to address learning needs. They also lowered the unit price of their tablets to Php 6950 from the suggested retail price of Php 7990 to meet the city’s budget of Php 7000 per unit, without sacrificing the hardware specifications set by the city government.
“Samsung is one of the leading global brands when it comes to cutting-edge gadgets and electronics. We are fully aware of its outstanding track record and we are confident that they can provide good quality tablets to our students that will last for years,” Belmonte said.
Samsung’s Galaxy Tab A has met the required tablet specifications published by the city government, which include a quad-core minimum operating system (Android 9), an internal memory of 32GB ROM + 2 GB RAM, a minimum microSD storage capacity of up to 256GB, at least 5-megapixel rear camera, and 2-megapixel front camera.
The tablets must also have WiFi or WLAN connectivity.
“Our goal for this project is to ensure that the gadgets of our public school students are at par with those of their private school peers,” Belmonte added.
Special safety features have been installed by Samsung to ensure that students will only use the tablet for their learning purposes and will not have access to unsafe websites and applications.
The funds for the project were allocated from the Special Education Fund as approved by the city’s Local School Board in support of the Quezon City Schools’ learning continuity program.
QC government acquires lots to be distributed to informal-settler families
As part of its efforts to provide security of tenure to informal settlers, the Quezon City government on Friday has officially acquired several parcels of land that will be distributed to various urban poor associations.
Mayor Joy Belmonte, on behalf of the city government, signed two deeds of sale for the purchase of lots owned by Tofemi Realty Corporation and Kanejin Corporation.
“Ito’y umpisa ng hangarin nating mabigyan ng katiyakan sa paninirahan ang mga informal settlers sa ating siyudad,” said Belmonte.
When she was elected as Mayor, part of Belmonte’s 14-point agenda is to address the concerns of the city’s informal settlers, including their aspirations to have their own homes or own the land on which their homes are erected.
The city purchased from Tofemi seven parcels of land located at Area 3, Sitio Veterans in Barangay Bagong Silangan worth around P110 million.
With a total land area of 36,651 square meters, the parcels of land will have 530 families from six homeowners associations as beneficiaries.
The beneficiaries are Sacred Heart of Jesus Homeowners’ Association, Inc., Fortune Homeowners’ Association, Inc., Almighty Homeowners’ Association, Inc., Rising Land Homeowners’ Association, Inc., Blessed Land Homeowners’ Association, Inc. and SagradaFamilia Homeowners’ Association, Inc.
In 2021, the city government intends to purchase another parcel of land from Tofemi consisting of 100,619 square meters with 1,270 families from 10 homeowners associations as intended beneficiaries.
Kanejin Corporation, for its part, offered two parcels of land located in Brgy. Payatas to the city government with a total area of 76,787 square meters.
Under the agreement, only 65,025 square meters will be purchased by the local government for P195 million while the remaining 11,762 square meters will be donated by the company.
Around 1,200 families, represented by eight homeowners associations, will be the intended beneficiaries. Among them are Mt. Apo Homeowners’ Association, Inc., Molave and Sierra Madre Homeowners’ Association, Kanejin Homeowners’ Association, Centro Homeowners’ Association, Inc., Mayon&Bulusan Homeowners’ Associaiton, Inc., Buklod ng Kapatiran Homeowners’ Association, Inc., Banahaw Kanejin Homeowners’ Association, Inc. and Sto. Niño Homeowners’ Association, Inc.
The city government has initiated a Direct Purchase Housing Program in order to expedite the process of providing security of tenure to intended beneficiaries.
Under the said scheme, the local government will buy the property from the land owner in order to award these parcels through a Direct Sale Program to intended beneficiaries.
“The intended beneficiaries can only secure their individual title after payment of their respective lots,” Belmonte explained, saying it is a win-win-win situation for the city government, the land owners/sellers, and the informal settlers.