Nationwide round-up (04/14/21)

2GO lures passengers with promo fares; hopes non-essential trips will be allowed by May 1

SEA travel provider 2GO is luring passengers with promo fares amid the ongoing restrictions being implemented in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, anticipating that non-essential travel will be allowed starting May 1. In an e-mailed statement, the company said it expects the ban on non-essential travel to be lifted by next month. The company said passengers can already book tickets and travel later from Batangas to Caticlan and Roxas for P299 one-way. Trips from Manila to Bacolod, Cebu, Coron, Iloilo, Dumaguete, Puerto Princesa are priced at P399, while Manila to Butuan, Iligan, Ozamiz, Zamboanga, and Cagayan De Oro are at P499 per ticket. The promo fares are available until April 20 for May 1 to Dec. 15, 2021 trips, it said. For now, only health and emergency frontline services personnel, government officials and government frontline personnel, authorized humanitarian assistance actors, persons traveling for medical or humanitarian reasons, overseas Filipino workers leaving for work abroad, and overseas Filipinos, and anyone crossing zones for work or business or going back home are allowed in and out of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal until April 30. “In the event that there are changes in travel guidelines on May 1st onwards, 2GO Travel extends free unlimited rebooking of tickets; therefore, our passengers can rebook their tickets without penalties,” the company said. — Arjay L. Balinbin

Local governments mandated to have cooperative dev’t officer

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte on Wednesday signed into law a measure that requires all local government units to have an officer focusing on the development of support for cooperatives. Republic Act No. 11535 amends the Local Government Code of 1991 to make the position of a cooperatives development officer mandatory in every municipality, city, and provincial government. The law tasks the co-op officers to take the lead in identifying groups, sectors, or communities that can be transformed into cooperatives, which will serve as “vehicles in poverty reduction, job creation, and socioeconomic development” of the locality. Local governments may appoint a full-fledged cooperative officer or merge such position to an existing one in a related local office. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

Hiring for contract tracers opens Saturday

THE Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) announced it will start accepting applications for contact tracers under its emergency employment program beginning Saturday. Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns Director Karen Perida-Trayvilla, in a briefing on Wednesday, said the department will undertake the hiring along with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG). “As agreed upon, we will blast these notices of hiring in the social media accounts of DILG, DoLE, and MMDA,” she said, adding that the application period will be until April 22. Applicants should be at least a high school graduate and with basic knowledge on using a cellphone and internet. The department is targeting to hire 5,000 tracers who will be deployed in Metro Manila, the country’s coronavirus epicenter. — Gillian M. Cortez

House committees OK amnesty bill

TWO House of Representatives panels on Wednesday approved committee reports on the proposed amnesty grant to members of rebel groups. The House committees on justice and national defense approved the reports on Concurrent Resolutions 12, 13, 14, and 15, which will grant amnesty to members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Moro National Liberation Front, Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade, and the Communist Terrorist Group. “It is crystal clear that an amnesty program will promote a climate of peace and reduce conflicts in order to build a culture of confidence.” IIoilo City Rep. Raul C. Tupas, who heads the House’s national defense panel, said in Wednesday’s hearing. The resolutions are in response to the proclamations issued by President Rodrigo R. Duterte granting the amnesty to strengthen peace efforts. — Gillian M. Cortez

Guevarra vows to keep lobbying for prisoners’ vaccination

JUSTICE Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra assured that he will continue to push for the inclusion of inmates in the priority list for vaccination against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). “The DoJ (Department of Justice) will argue on the basis of greater COVID risk due to overcrowding,” Mr. Guevarra told reporters on Tuesday. The group Kapatid, which represents families of political prisoners, has appealed for the vaccination of 215,000 inmates in the country’s crowded jails. — Bianca Angelica D. Añago