THREE EXISTING multi-purpose buildings in Iligan City, which has the highest number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in Northern Mindanao at 186, have been converted into isolation facilities. The completed projects have a total capacity of 120 beds, which will free up hospital beds for moderate, critical or severe COVID-19 patients, said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in a statement on Thursday, following the formal opening of the facilities. DPWH implemented the conversion in partnership with the city government. The facilities will be operated by the city health office for the isolation of probable COVID-19 cases and returning residents. Of the total cases in Iligan, 33 are in hospital, 121 in isolation, 24 recoveries, and eight deaths. Cagayan de Oro City, the Northern Mindanao regional center, previously offered the use of some of its isolation units to Iligan City. The entire region had 1,222 cases as of August 26, including 669 recoveries and 20 deaths. Majority of the cases at 855 are returning residents from overseas or other parts of the country.
Toll road operators ordered to go on full cashless system by Nov. 2
ALL TOLL roads will be required to have a full cashless system by November 2 as part of measures to avoid coronavirus transmissions. “Magiging (It will be) cashless, contactless na transaction ang toll ways, no later than November 2, 2020 ayon sa DOTr (according to the Department of Transportation),”
Palace Spokesperson Harry L. Roque said on Thursday. Existing toll roads operated by private firms are all in Luzon, located in surrounding areas north and south of the capital Metro Manila. One of the operators, San Miguel Corp. (SMC), said they support and are ready for this measure to ensure the safety of both motorists and their employees. “We have completed the reconfiguration of these cashless lanes to help ensure a smooth transition and hopefully, minimal delays for motorists. Implementing this measure is a priority for us because it is in line with government health regulations and it will better protect both our motorists and expressway employees,” SMC president Ramon S. Ang said in a statement.— Gillian M. Cortez
Elite police team to be deployed to Jolo
THE PHILIPPINE police chief, Gen. Archie Francisco F. Gamboa, has rejected calls to sack the entire police force of Jolo, Sulu following the deadly twin explosions that killed at least 14 people and wounded at least 75 others on Monday. Instead, Mr. Gamboa ordered the deployment of one Special Action Force (SAF) battalion. The SAF commandos, considered as the the elite police unit, will help local security forces in hunting down members of the Abu Sayyaf, the Islamic State-linked group that has claimed responsibility for the bombings. “Unless there is sufficient evidence establishing criminal involvement or administrative lapses leading to the attack, the PNP (Philippine National Police) maintains full confidence in our ground personnel,” Mr. Gamboa said in a statement on Thursday. The additional 284-man SAF contingent will augment 60 others who were posted in Sulu prior to the bombings. — Emmanuel Tupas/PHILSTAR