COVID-19 What you need to know!
MY RANGGO has gathered together current statements and infographics about COVID-19 and the measures that Government Departments and businesses are implementing. These measures are in place to try to protect the people of Luzon and beyond.
We would encourage you to follow the Facebook Page of your Local Government Unit for updates relevant to your provinces.
COVID-19 Budget Announcement
As of 16 March 2020: The Duterte Administration’s Economic Team announced a P27.1 Billion spending plan to manage and halt the spread of COVID-19 (the latest coronavirus strain) and provide economic relief to the Philippine sectors and employees most affected by the pandemic.
The Spending Plan is as follows:
- An additional ₱3.1 billion has been assigned directly to Department of Health for efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, including the acquisition of test kits. These particular funds have come from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR), the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB)
- An initial ₱2.0 billion is assigned to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for social protection programs for vulnerable workers, to be used for wage subsidy/financial support to COVID-19 affected establishments and workers
- An existing ₱1.2 billion, allotted to the Social Security System (SSS), to cover unemployment benefits for dislocated workers
- The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA)’s Scholarship Programs ₱3.0 billion will support affected and temporarily displaced workers through up-skilling and re-skilling
- ₱14 billion from the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) to the Department of Tourism to support various programs and projects needed to support the tourism industry
- ₱2.8 billion will be given to the Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Credit Policy Council (DA-ACPC) for their Survival and Recovery (SURE) Aid Program. This program provides zero-interest loans, up to ₱25,000, to smallholder farmers and fisherfolk affected by calamity. There will also be a one-year moratorium, without interest, on the repayments of outstanding loans given to small farmers and fisher folk, under the ACPC Credit Program amounting to ₱2.03 billion
- ₱1 billion has been allotted by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for its Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-Asenso (P3) Microfinancing special loan package of the Small Business Corp. (SBC). This will be for affected micro entrepreneurs/micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). The DTI will provide ongoing assistance in sourcing new supply sources, as well as non-traditional markets for those industries affected by supply chain disruptions. Trade and investment missions will be conducted, to support the continued operation of industry
COVID-19 and DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment)
As of 16th March 2020 a ₱2-billion fund has been set aside to assist workers displaced by travel restrictions to and from Metro Manila, and other provinces, towns, and cities. It is also available to employees of businesses forced to downscale or close temporarily, due to the community quarantine imposed in select areas. Workers in the informal sector, such as drivers of Jeepneys and UV Express, can also apply for the relief.
Pay Covered for Employees who are out of Paid Leave Credits – Secretary Bello of The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has said DOLE will cover the pay for employees in community quarantine, where they have already used up their leave credits. Bello clarified if you have 5 days paid leave left but need to be in quarantine for 14 days, DOLE will pay for 9 days of your leave.
Non-Regular Employees – DOLE will apply the Emergency Employment Program for non-Regular employees, for example day-to-day or “no work-no pay” workers. This program provides employment at minimum wage.
TUPAD (Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged /Displaced Workers) Program: TUPAD grants emergency employment for displaced and seasonal workers, and the underemployed, for between 10 to 30 days based on the nature of work undertaken. However, as many people are told to self-quarantine, this may not be something that will be activated during the Enhanced Community Shut Down.
Unemployment Insurance Subsidy: Employees who have made 36 monthly contributions to SSS, 12 months of which must be within 18 months preceding their unemployment, are entitled to receive their Unemployment Insurance Subsidy from the Social Security System (SSS). This is not a loan but a one-off payment. As an example if a worker’s AMSC is ₱20,000, he or she gets a one-time jobless insurance benefit of ₱20,000.
The Employees Compensation Commission (ECC): The Agency attached to DOLE, advises that employees who actually contract COVID 19 whilst at work, are entitled to Employees’ Compensation (EC) Benefits. The EEC was established to provide employees with income in case of work-connected sickness, injury or death. You can get further information here
COVID-19 and the Department of Tourism
The Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) states that it is committed to ensuring the health and safety of its travelers domestic and international.
Hotels: Hotels and similar establishments shall remain closed under the guidelines of the Luzon-wide, and local Enhanced Community Quarantine, except for the following:
- Those with foreign guests that have existing booking accommodations as of March 17, 2020. These hotels may now also except existing foreign nationals who need to move to alternative accommodation because their hotel is closing or they can not afford to stay there for the duration of the quarantine. They can also accept Foreign Nationals in transit (traveling in to the area for a flight out);
- Those with checked-in guests on long-term leases;
- Those accommodating employees from exempted establishments under the provisions of the March 16, 2020 Memorandum from the Executive secretary; Front Line Staff, Essential Staff and ‘Distressed OFW’s’.
Hotels and similar establishments except for those classified in #1 and #3 above are not allowed to accept new bookings.
Please check out our article COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Updates for more detailed information and advice for Hotels and Accommodation Establishments.
Flights & Travel
- All land, domestic air and domestic sea travel to and from the NCR are restricted.
- All persons (foreign nationals, OFWs, balikbayans), regardless of nationality, except for Filipino tourists, may now fly out of the country at any time provided they travel only to the airport within 24 hours of the date and time of their departure. Outgoing passengers must provide documents of their departure, such as an electronic ticket or flight itinerary.
- Outbound passengers may be accompanied only by one companion to and from the airport, who shall likewise carry a copy of such e-ticket or itinerary.
- Inbound flights will only be for repatriating Filipino’s who will be subject to quarantine procedures if they come from a country with existing travel restrictions imposed by the IATF.
- Only repatriating Filipinos, their spouses and children where they are travelling with their Filipino Spouse, holders of a Permanent Resident Visa and foreign diplomats will be allowed entry into the Philippines from an inbound flight.
- All Pre-arranged Temporary Visitor and Tourist Visa’s for foreigners visiting the Philippines have been cancelled and no on-entry visa’s will be issued, as Foreign Nationals will not be allowed entry to the Philippines (other than those above), from 12am 22nd March.
- The Bureau of Immigration’s latest advisory is that any foreigners whose current Visa expires during the quarantine period, will not be penalized as long as they applied for renewal with 30 days of the end of the quarantine.
- All travel restrictions previously issued shall remain in effect. Current travel restrictions imposed are on foreign travel to and from China, including Hong Kong and Macau, and the North Gyeongsang Province of South Korea, including Daegu and Cheongdo.
- Travellers from Iran and Italy (except Filipino citizens, including their foreign spouse and children, holders of a Permanent Resident Visas or 9(e) Diplomatic Visas issued by the Philippine Government) shall be required to present a medical certificate issued by competent medical authorities within forty-eight (48) hours immediately preceding departure, signifying that they have tested negative for COVID-19.
- The various LGU’s throughout the Philippines are required to abide by the directives of the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in the imposition of general community quarantine guidelines in their respective jurisdictions.
- Some local destinations may already restrict tourists from entering in order to contain and prevent further spread of the virus.
Stranded Foreign Tourists
Any Foreign National Tourists experiencing difficulty in trying to reach, or depart from, an International Airport in the Philippines, should go to the following link and send their complete name, exact location and preferred destination:
Please press the messenger icon to send your information.
This information will then be forwarded to the regional offices of the Department of Tourism (DOT) who are coordinating with local government units to provide help for help foreign travelers.
The Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) requires tourism stakeholders to implement safety protocols and precautionary measures set by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Department of Health (DOH), and to promote habits that the public can adapt to contain the spread of the COVID-19.
For more information on COVID-19 situation in the Philippines, you may click here
Please visit the official Philippines travel advisory website for more updates here.
Department of Tourism COVID-19 Budget
- ₱14B has been alloted to the DOT, from TIEZA (Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority) for various quick tourism recovery projects, in light of COVID-19 economic impact
- These funds are from the share of the travel tax and income generated by TIEZA, prior to the COVID Emergency.
- Some of the projects are existing on-going projects, others are in various stages of pre-procurement and procurement.
- There will be ₱5 billion worth of infrastructure projects for Bohol, Iloilo, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Corregidor Island. Other tourist destinations will be implemented within the year and are expected to create thousands of jobs.
- ₱1.2 Billion will be used for the rehabilitation of tourist sites such as the Burnham Park in Baguio City and including the construction of sewer treatment plants in Coron and Puerto Galera.
- ₱1.022 Billion has been approved by TIEZA for Regional Tourism Development Plans and Masterplans, identifying tourism infrastructure needed for sustainable development as well as promoting the disaster resilience of tourist areas.
- ₱1.78 Billion is allotted for the Department of Transportation (DOTr) for the night rating of airports so that the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) may waive its collection of landing fees from airlines. This can help offset their operational losses due to travel restrictions and cancelled flights
- ₱800 million has been budgeted to improve the roads to access the tourism sites in partnership with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for the next three years.
COVID and the Department of Transport (DOTr)
- “FREE Bus Ride for Health Workers” implemented, to transport Front-line health workers amid the Enhanced Community Quarantine being observed in Luzon. There are nine routes to transport passengers at 5 a.m., 1 p.m., 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Buses are regularly sanitized and disinfected between trips
- MRT-3, LRT-1, LRT-2 and PNR shall suspend its operations
- Operations of transport such as public utility buses, jeepneys, taxis, Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS), FX, UV Express, Point-to-Point (P2P) buses and Motorcycle Taxis shall be suspended
- Personal Use of Motorcycle is allowed, as long as it complies with the social distancing measures required by the Department of Health.
- Motorcycle Taxi Services (Angkas, Joyride, MoveIt etc) are suspended as public transportation.
- Land, air and sea travel of uniformed personnel for official business, especially those transporting medical supplies, laboratory specimens related to the COVID-19, and other humanitarian assistance, shall be allowed.
- Media vehicles and reporters shall be allowed to travel within the community quarantine area, provided that they secure a special media pass from the PCOO
Permits/Licenses/Franchise Applications & Renewals
- The Land Transportation Office (LTO) and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) have been told to extend the deadline for the renewal of permits, licenses, and franchises to April 2020.
- LTO Regional Directors have been ordered not to collect penalties for late registration of motor vehicles, or for the renewal of driver’s licenses that will expire during the enhanced community quarantine period. The validity of all student permits will also be extended.
- All PUVs with plate numbers ending in 3 and 4 will be allowed to confirm their units until 15 May 2020 with all penalties being waived.
- The insurance policy under the Personal Passenger Accident Insurance Program (PPAIP) will also be automatically extended until 15 May 2020 without any additional fees on the part of the operators.
- Applications for Extension of Validity for Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) expiring between 17 March to 15 April 2020 can be filed until 15 May 2020, without penalties.
- Provisional Authorities (PA) and Special Permits (SP) issued to TNVS, PUBs, TH, Taxi, and UV Express, with expiry dates covering the period of 17 March 2020 to 15 April 2020, will be extended until 15 June 2020 with waiver of fees.
- The Compliance Orders, Resolutions, and Decisions which direct operators to comply within a certain period and that fall between 17 March 2020 until 15 April 2020, will be allowed to comply until 15 May 2020 with waiver of penalties, if there is any.
International Airports – DOTr advises that Clark International Airport (CRK) continues to provide travelers to, from and within the Philippines with a seamless travel experience. They advise it is vital that CRK remain operational, even with the COVID-19 situation. Inbound flights with repatriating Filipino’s will continue and arrivals will be subject to quarantine measures, depending on their country of origin. (see also DOT section above)
- The LGU covering the Province of Bohol has suspended domestic air travel starting from March 16 to March 20;
- The LGU of Puerto Princesa City suspended domestic air travel to and from the city from March 15 to April 14;
- The Province of Batanes is restricting all tourists (foreign and local) and non-Batanes residents/employees from entering the province from March 16 to April 16;
- The Province of Cebu has prohibited the entry of domestic air travel from Clark International Airport, Legazpi City, Cagayan de Oro, and Dumaguete City from March 14 to April 14; and
- Zamboanga City suspended incoming air transport effective March 16 and until further notice.
- Caticlan and Kalibo, Aklan both offer daily domestic flights but these are generally being cancelled.
DOTr encourages passengers to check with their airlines, in case of any changes to their flight details, prior to proceeding to the airport.
Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) –
- Malasakit Help Desks have been stationed at the departure areas of Domestic Airports, to address the influx of stranded passengers in its airports.
- Passenger Terminal cleaning protocols have been tightened and multi-surface cleaning agents, for effective sanitation against viral infections are being used.
- Domestic Terminal Helpdesks have been set up along with prepared snacks, drinks, and other amenities for stranded passengers trying to get to Manila.
- CAAP has extended the validity period of airmen licenses and certificates, for those expiring on/after March 15, 2020.
- Process for applying for initial or renewal licenses/certificates is temporarily suspended until further notice.
- Pending applications for airmen licenses and certifications before the Authority will be processed accordingly.
The Philippine Ports Authority:
- All passenger ships shall not be allowed entry in ports
- Cargo entry withdrawal permits (CEWP) are suspended, to ensure unimpeded entry of cargoes to and from Luzon
- Trucks carrying cargoes from one port to another in Luzon, which will not require traversing a body or bodies of water shall be allowed continuous access. Carrying of empty containers for withdrawal or re-positioning shall also be allowed.
- Trucks carrying cargoes which will require traversing body or bodies of water or from one island to another shall be required to unload cargoes in the next port of call and transfer it to another truck or vehicle for continued movement of cargoes to their final destination.
- Truck drivers and helpers shall be subject to strict health screening at ports before being allowed to enter or exit ports and proceed to their destinations.
- “No Sail Policy” for the whole of Luzon except for cargo, fishing, and government vessels from 18 March 2020.
- Crew of cargo vessels are allowed to disembark for the purpose of ships operations, not beyond 50 meters from their ship.
COVID-19 and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)
On the 16th March 2020, the DTI released a Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 20-04, Series of 2020, prescribing the implementing guidelines for business operations. This follows the previously issued Resolution No. 12 by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
This Memorandum covers all business establishments in the National Capital Region (NCR) and states that all manufacturing, retail, and service establishments are to remain in operation, subject to certain restrictions.
Mass gatherings such as large meetings and conferences, non-essential work-related gatherings, general assemblies and outdoor events that attract large crowds, shall be restricted.
Flexible working arrangements are to be implemented including telecommuting, working from home, reduction of work days/hours, rotation of workers, and forced leave etc.
- Malls to operate on a limited capacity; only businesses offering basic goods and services; groceries and supermarkets, banks, pharmacies, health clinics, bookstores, and hardware stores will be allowed to open. BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) offices located inside malls are still allowed to operate. Food stalls and restaurants inside shopping malls are allowed to offer take-out and delivery services only.
- Night clubs, bars, taverns, cocktail lounges, discotheques, beer parlors, pubs and other leisure and entertainment businesses where crowds are confined in a specific area are strictly prohibited from operating. Also banned are arts, entertainment, live performances, events or exhibits, art galleries, concerts, and opera or dance production, and gambling facilities such as casinos, bingo halls, and video gaming terminals as well as lotteries and off-track betting.
- Rental fees and charges shall be waived by the lessors, and owners of business spaces, for all affected business establishments forced to close for the duration of the 30-day General Community Quarantine in NCR.
- Guidelines for retail establishments, except those not allowed to open, include only one (1) person per square meter of space to be allowed inside the retail establishments. This will mean limited entry and access.
- Non-retail businesses such as agriculture, manufacturing, construction, and services companies will be allowed to operate provided they strictly observe social distancing and implement sanitary measures. They are required to inform and educate their employees/staff of these measures, to reduce and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- Owners of manufacturing, construction and services companies are encouraged to provide temporary housing for any of their employees who are live outside of NCR. This measure is to ensure their employees safety, and ease of travel to and from their place of work.
- Prices of basic necessities shall not increase in the retail market for any reason, or for any purpose, in the next 60 days or until 15 May 2020
COVID-19 and Government Payment Schemes and Loans
COVID-19 and Food Delivery Services
After initial suspensions being applied GRAB EXPRESS, GRAB ASSIST, GRAB FOOD, FOOD PANDA, LALAMOVE and LALAFOOD are operational again – more to follow
COVID-19 and Utilities & Telecommunication Bills
COVID-19 Banks, Loan and Insurance Agency Advisories
COVID- 19 Announcements and Statements from OTA’s (Online Travel Agencies) to Partners
more to follow