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Regional Updates (12/01/20)

Gov’t gears up for influx of returning overseas workers

THE Department of Transportation is preparing for the influx of returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) for the December holidays by expanding its one-stop shop for coronavirus testing and the passenger capacity at three international airports. “We added more swabbers and other partner agencies who will service our OFWs,” Transportation Undersecretary Raul L. Del Rosario said in Filipino during a briefing on Tuesday. He added that they are also increasing the number of accredited hotels for the mandatory 14-day quarantine and more vehicles for land transport. The airports currently operating with international flights are the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Clark, and Mactan-Cebu. Mr. Del Rosario said about 500,000 Filipinos have returned to the country so far since the one-stop shop was set up in April. — Gillian M. Cortez

Palace to leftist groups: Denounce armed rebellion

MEMBERSHIP to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) is not illegal but involvement with its armed faction, the New People’s Army (NPA), is a “crime,” Palace Spokesperson Harry L. Roque said on Tuesday. “The crime is… a crime of rebellion, taking up of arms against the government, killing civilians and soldiers,” he said during a briefing. “What’s difficult about them is you cannot separate the CPP from the NPA… if you are a member of CPP, you can be legal if you renounce your use of arms,” he added. Mr. Roque’s statements came after President Rodrigo R. Duterte slammed leftist groups on Monday evening during a televised speech, accusing opposition lawmakers and party-list groups of being tied to the armed conflict. — Gillian M. Cortez

98 found COVID positive after mass testing at Batasan Complex

A TOTAL of 98 persons were found positive of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) after mass testing was conducted by the House of Representatives at its headquarters, the Batasan Complex, in Quezon City. House Secretary General Mark Llandro L. Mendoza said nearly 5% of the 2,000 lawmakers and employees who underwent RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) testing came out positive for the virus. “Because it was mass testing for all officials, employees and guests entering the Batasan Complex, we caught even the asymptomatic cases who could be transmitters if we didn’t find out they were COVID positive,” he said in a statement. Those who tested positive have been directed to self-isolate while the House administration is now coordinating with the Quezon City government for a more extensive contract tracing, Mr. Mendoza said. Before Nov. 10, the House already registered more than 80 COVID-19 cases, including two lawmakers and three employees who died. Mr. Mendoza said the House will continue to operate under strict health and safety protocols. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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