Press Briefing

Inter-Agency Task Force Briefing with Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles

Mga kababayan, magandang gabi po sa inyong lahat.

Bago po ang lahat, samahan po ninyo ako sa pagbibigay-pugay at parangal sa mga tunay na bayani ng bayan – ang ating mga manggagawa sa larangan ng kalusugan.

Sa ating mga health professionals mula sa mga doktor, mga nurse, mga medical technologist, mga laboratory workers hanggang sa mga maliliit na manggagawa ng ating mga ospital at iba pang pasilidad, sumasa-inyo po ang paghanga ng isang bansang nagpa[garbled] inyong paglilingkod.

Hayaan din po ninyo akong umpisahan natin ang briefing na ito sa pamamagitan ng pagbasa sa mga pangunahing nilalaman ng pinakahuling resolusyon ng Inter-Agency Task Force. Pagpasensiyahan ninyo na lang po at medyo mahaba po itong babasahin natin.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, as it is hereby resolved that the IATF approves the following:

A. Subject to guidelines to be issued by the Department of Interior and Local Government or DILG, the local government units in the provincial, city, municipal and barangay levels as well as those in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao are hereby directed to identify government facilities that may be temporarily converted into isolation or quarantine facilities. The same directive shall apply to Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations.

The Department of Tourism and other government agencies are likewise directed to coordinate with entities under their respective regulatory authorities as applicable in identifying facilities that may be temporarily designated for isolation or quarantine purposes; Provided that all identified facilities shall be reported to the National Incident Command of the National Task Force on COVID-19 and the Task Group on Resource Management and Logistics; Provided further that the latter shall classify, identify facilities into those that can be utilized for the isolation of [garbled] and those where positive COVID-19 cases with mild symptoms may be managed; Provided finally that the Department of Public Works and Highways is directed to conduct site inspections and commence works on the identified facilities as approved by the NTF. For this purpose, the DPWH shall accredit construction workers who will work on the facilities identified for purposes of quarantine or isolation. Such accredited workers shall be exempted from the strict home quarantine requirement.

B. The Joint Memorandum Circular of the DILG, Department of Budget and Management, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Trade(?), Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Agriculture, Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Finance providing for special guidelines on the provision of social amelioration measures is hereby approved by the IATF. Government agencies and LGUs are directed to submit their existing beneficiary databases to the DSWD, copy furnishing the Department of Finance. The DSWD is further directed to host the database for the COVID-19 Social Amelioration Program of the government.

C. Establishments involved in the production, manufacturing, packaging, processing and distribution of food may operate at a maximum of 50% of their respective workforces. Unless the supply level of a basic food product warrants a higher capacity, in which case the DTI is hereby authorized to approve the increase of workforce capacity temporarily; Provided that in all cases, all establishments shall be subject to strict social distancing requirements. Law enforcement agencies and LGUs are directed to allow the unimpeded movement of food supply chain workers to and from their places of work subject to existing identification requirements; Provided further that the food industry is strongly encouraged to provide onsite accommodation for their workers.

D. With a strong imperative to ensure the availability of essential goods, in particular, food and medicine and other basic commodities, the IATF directs all the corresponding importers, consignees, truckers, shipping lines and concerned government regulators, such as but not limited to, the Bureau of Customs, Philippine Ports Authority, DTI, DA including its bureaus and attached agencies to [garbled] and withdraw immediately all refrigerated containers [garbled] as well as all dry vans and for port operators to release the same expeditiously. The agencies above shall issue a Joint Memorandum Circular on the specific guidelines that will implement this directive.

E. The Rapid Pass System as presented is hereby approved. A technical working group to be chaired by DICT and composed of DOST and other appropriate agencies is hereby created to develop the necessary accreditation and authentication guidelines to implement the Rapid Pass System.

Siguro po in the near future, ie-explain po natin sa publiko itong Rapid Pass System po na ito.

F. To encourage the voluntary coordination with Epidemiology and Surveillance Units or ESUs of closed contacts of patients who tested positive for COVID-19 and subject to the rights of patients to withhold consent, all health facilities whether public or private are hereby directed to request for the consent of said patients for the public disclosure of their identities.

So pakiusap po, para matulungan iyong contact tracing sa lahat ng mga public health facilities, paki-ask po ng permission ng mga COVID-19 patients if they are willing to disclose their identities to the public.

G. The National Task Force organizational structure as amended is hereby approved. The chief implementor of the National Policy on COVID-19 is hereby designated as the Head of the National Incident Command. In addition to the members of the NTF task groups as previously approved by the IATF, DICT shall form part of the task group on strategic communication and, the DFA, the Philippine Coast Guard and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources shall be part of the Task Group on Resource Management and Logistics.

The Heads of the following agencies or offices are likewise designated to lead the task groups of the NTF respectively:
1. Department of Health for Task Group on Response Operations;
2. Department of Social Welfare and Development for task group on Resource Management and Logistics; and,
3. Office of the Cabinet Secretary for Task Group on Strategic Communications.

The Regional Task Force COVID-19 and the Local Task Force COVID-19 organizational structures are likewise approved and adopted.

H. A separate IATF Technical Working Group for Anticipatory and Forward Planning is hereby created. It shall be composed of among others, the National Economic and Development Authority or NEDA as Chair; and the DA, DTI, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency as members. NEDA is directed to propose the inclusion of agencies or offices in this IATF TWG subject to the [garbled] by the IATF. This IATF TWG is also directed to develop detailed recommendations in the rebuilding of consumer and business confidence and the resumption of a new normal state of economic activities including strategic stockpiling.

I. The recommendations of the Department of Agriculture as presented are hereby approved. The specifics of which are the following:

1. The DA including the DOF and the DTI shall work with Association of South East Asian Nations or ASEAN trading partners and encourage them to refrain from imposing trade restrictive measures to ensure that existing supply contracts are prioritized.

2. If necessary, the importation of an additional 300,000 metric tons of rice through government-to-government arrangements with ASEAN trading partners and/or from all sources including India and Pakistan at the ASEAN level tariff.

3. Reiteration of compliance by LGUs to the IATF Resolution No. 15 Series of 2020 to the following: Allow farming and fishing activities to continue. Allow the free movement of all supplies used for agriculture including food packaging and manufacturing materials. And, reactivate the Local Price Coordination Council and for the LGUs and market masters to strictly implement the price freeze and suggested retail price compliance based on MC No. 77.

4. DA’s Ahon Lahat, Pagkain Sapat or ALPAS Kontra sa COVID-19 or Plant, Plant, Plant Program popularly called as 4Ps in Agriculture shall be provided the necessary budgetary allocations amounting to 31 billion pesos in order to implement, expand and increase food adequacy in the country.

J. IATF Resolution No. 13 dated March 17, 2020 Section B.1. is hereby further amended and be read as follows: “Overseas Filipino Workers, permanent residents of foreign jurisdictions and stranded foreign nationals leaving for abroad through any of the ports in Luzon shall be allowed to leave the Philippines without any impediment; Provided that this provision shall not be interpreted to allow outbound travel to jurisdictions where travel restrictions are in place; Provided further that departing passenger may only be accompanied by not more than one person when travelling to any international port; Provided finally that the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration is hereby directed to provide transportation services to OFW intending to leave for abroad.”

And here is the amendment or the new paragraph to read as follows:

“For this purpose, the IATF hereby ratifies the necessary measures implemented by the Department of Tourism for the efficient departure of the remaining foreign nationals in the country including the procurement of and payment for sweeper flights but authorizes the same only until 27 March 2020.”

K. With respect to the transportation of OFWs to and from Ninoy Aquino International Airport in accordance with IATF Resolutions No. 13 and 15 Series of 2020, the OWWA is hereby authorized to seek the assistance of the Department of Transportation, the Philippine National Police, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council to facilitate the travel of the OFWs to their respective destinations. And finally, the DBM shall hereby form part of the expanded membership of the IATF.

Approved during this 17th Inter-Agency Task Force Meeting, this 27th day of March 2020.

Mga kababayan, ang giyerang ito ay ating susuungin sa lahat ng direksiyon at aspeto at malaking bahagi nito ang inyong kooperasyon at suporta upang sugpuin ang COVID-19 at magligtas ng buhay. Ang tunay na kalaban dito ay ang virus na ito at mas malaki ang ating tsansa na talunin kung sama-sama tayo at itinataguyod natin ang isa’t isa.

This is a time that calls for [garbled] and for unity. [Garbled] magtatagumpay. Together, we can beat COVID-19. Together, we heal as one.

Kaya’t uulitin ko po ang ating pakiusap sa lahat ng ating mga kababayan, bahay [garbled], bahay muna. Maraming salamat po and may God bless you all.

SOURCE: PCOO-NIB (News and Information Bureau-Data Processing Center)