Taguig to establish safe zones for kids, seniors
Taguig City set protocols to carve out “safe spaces” during the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) for all residents, including children and the elderly.
Under Advisory No. 4, released on May 16 by the newly established Safe City Task Force, the city laid down rules through which barangays and private residential establishments can get common areas declared as safe zones, or places where people of all ages may be allowed to go during the MECQ.
Community spaces that can be applied for clearance include open spaces, gardens, multipurpose courts, walkways and similar places in barangays and residential areas like condominiums, villages and subdivisions. Pools, gyms, playgrounds and other leisure facilities will remain closed.
“We designed this policy to strike a balance between people’s need for a sense of normalcy and the health and safety policies to avert COVID-19 infections, including protocols on social distancing and wearing of face masks,” said Mayor Lino Cayetano. “We really have to head towards the ‘new normal’ slowly, carefully and cautiously, otherwise everything we had worked to achieve up to this point in our COVID-19 response would ultimately amount to nothing.”
The guidelines were released by the Safe City Task Force, a localized interagency team mandated to ensure that national measures are implemented well on the local context, and that important updates are cascaded to stakeholders and citizens at the grassroots level.
The task force is headed by lawyers Clarence S. Santos and Maricar L. Sarmiento as chairperson and co-chairperson, respectively. The rest of the team are the Business Permits and Licensing Office, Market Management Office, City Planning and Development Office, Local Building Office, Public Order and Safety Office, Traffic Management Office and Barangay Affair Office.
Before being declared safe zones, common areas need to undergo inspection and clearance by the Safe City Task Force or its duly authorized representatives. Applications can be made through taguiginfo.com/safe-city
When the task force receives the request, they will schedule an onsite inspection. The applicant or an authorized representative should explain during a walkthrough how minimum public health standards and other protocols would be observed. They must also ensure that the location is equipped with CCTV cameras, so the city government may pull footage if the need arises.
Once a common area passes the process, it will be allowed to open from 5 am to 8 pm. The area would be regulated by a barangay official, homeowner’s association president, property manager or administrator, or safe zone administrator. They must ensure that residents would always observe social distancing protocols; wear face masks; and not use the spaces for eating, loitering or any social gatherings.
The safe zone administrator must also conduct body temperature checks on people entering and send home all those who are feverish. Moreover, the administrator must maintain a logbook or any registration system that obtains a visitor’s name, age, address and time of entry and exit.
Children age 12 and below can visit the common areas but accompanied by an adult. Senior citizens would be provided with a schedule when they could exclusively use the safe zones. Residents can also walk their pets or take them while they go biking, jogging or running. Mingling among neighbors will be prohibited.
For outdoor exercises, in compliance with the advice of CEDSU, everyone must maintain a distance of at least 5 meters with other individuals. Group exercises and workout sessions will be prohibited.
The advisory follows guidelines clarifying policies in time for the National Capital Region’s easing into the modified enhanced community quarantine. Among these is Executive Order No. 7, which Mayor Lino Cayetano signed on May 12, to specify guidelines and requirements for businesses that had been allowed to reopen by the national government.
Among others, the order noted that workplaces must adjust to accommodate less face-to-face communication, better observance of hand hygiene among employees and more intense efforts to disinfect common areas, and the promotion of a healthier lifestyle.
Employers also need to ensure that workers are provided safe shuttle services, personal protective equipment, free medicines and vitamins, a trusty healthcare plan and referrals to specialists for mental health for those who may need them. Workspaces also need to adapt to social distancing protocols.
Companies also must prepare an Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan which should specify how management can prevent transmissions, handle suspected cases and report to CEDSU or the COVID-19 hotline.
A “Safe City Seal of Compliance” awaits businesses who would follow the city’s comprehensive guidelines. Meanwhile, those who fail to meet the requirements may result in the suspension or revocation of permits and licenses or the closure of an establishment.
All the issuances may be accessed through the Safe City Facebook page and the Safe City page of the Taguig Public Information Portal (taguiginfo.com/safe-city).