The Pasig government is ramping up its efforts to revive the local economy of the city and provide jobs for its residents affected by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
In a Facebook live Friday, Mayor Vico Sotto said the city government is now implementing its Tulong at Pampuhunang Ayuda sa Taga-Pasig (TAPAT) program which offers financial loans to job seekers, entrepreneurs and business starters in the city.
Sotto said the loan program is offered “first come, first serve” basis for those who can comply with the requirements.
The TAPAT program offers small loans, urging the interested city residents to apply via online through pasig.accessleap.com.
He said applicants may also visit the TAPAT Help Desk located at the Career Center, GAD Compound, Pasig City Hall.
Under TAPAT program, the three types of loans with zero interest rate include Balik Negosyo, Bagong Negosyo and Balik Trabaho, he added.
Sotto said the Balik Trabaho offers a PHP5,000 loan to displaced workers or to workers who were laid off due to Covid-19 crisis.
On the other hand, he said the Bagong Negosyo is for displaced workers who wish to start a small business during the pandemic, offering loan of PHP10,000.
The Balik Negosyo, he said, also offers PHP10,000 loan for the city entrepreneurs who are in need of financial resources to modify their micro, small and medium enterprises.
The loan can also be used by the business owners, he said, to comply with the required city government’s minimum health standards and safety measures to halt the spread of Covid-19.
“Pwede mong buksan ‘yung negosyo mo at mag-a-adjust ka ang ng konti sa tinatawag na new normal (You can reopen your business and slightly adjust to the new normal),” he said, urging the residents to be creative in modifying their business, especially in these trying times.
Sotto said payment will start on the second year upon the approval of the loan to give the borrowers enough time to pay settle their obligations with no interest rate.
He said, however, a 3 percent interest rate will be charged if borrowers fail to pay within the allowable payment period.
Stringent measures vs. Covid-19
Meanwhile, Sotto urged market vendors and other businesses in Pasig to comply with the minimum health standards like wearing face masks, physical distancing and proper hygiene or washing of hands.
“Mula nang mag-GCQ [general community quarantine] tayo medyo nag-spike ang bilang ng kaso ng Covid-19 pero hindi natin kailangan mag-panic basta tayo ay nag-iingat at ginagawa natin ang kaya (Since we had GCQ, the number of Covid-19 cases has slightly increased but we do not need to panic as long as we are careful and do what we can.) Let’s be vigilant,” he said.
Stressing the need to open the Pasig mega market, Sotto said strict implementation of health protocols is needed to contain the local transmission of the virus.
“Bukas ang palengke. Hindi ‘yan magsasara pero pwede tayong magpasara ng mga stalls. ‘Yung medyo matigas ang ulo at ayaw sumunod, asahan po ninyo na sa mga susunod na araw ay pahigpit tayo ng pahigpit sa mga stall holders (The market is open. It will not be closed but we can shut down stalls. Those who are hard-headed and don’t want to comply, please expect that in the next few days we will be more stern to stall owners). We need to take care of the market-goers and the vendors themselves,” he said.
He said there is a high risk that the coronavirus could spread since residents from 30 barangays in the city and its neighboring cities visit the Pasig mega market to buy essential products.
Sotto warned that market vendors will face one-week business suspension if they will violate health protocols.
Contact tracing, testing capacity
Sotto, meanwhile, announced the Pasig government is now accepting application as contact tracers of the City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit’s (CESU).
“We are hiring right now. We are accepting applications for the healthcare staff who could fit in contact tracing, preferably Pasig residents. We are also accepting applicants from other places because we need more workforces for contact tracing,” he said.
Sotto said the electro-chemiluminescence immunoassay (ECLIA), a method used in the antibody test for Covid-19 in the city is already operational.
The Pasig health centers have also started accepting “walk-in clients with symptoms” for Covid-19 testing, he added.
Sotto said there are 42 health centers in the city that could conduct Covid-19 tests for the walk-in clients.
“We are always trying to improve our testing capacity,” he said
He clarified that the local government will no longer put up testing facilities since testing could be done in the health centers.
Coronavirus patients, recoveries
Meanwhile, Sotto said the Pasig government on July 23 discharged 12 more patients who recovered from Covid-19.
“We are also preparing new buildings as we ramp up our efforts to pull out Covid-positive Pasigueños with no/mild symptoms [will make a new call for more healthcare HR soon],” Sotto said.
He said the local government is also trying its best to isolate asymptomatic Covid-19 patients away from their community to avoid further transmission.
“Bawat tao na maipasok natin sa centralized quarantine facility, maaring isang daang buhay ang mai-save natin (For every person admitted in the centralized quarantine facility, might save a hundred lives),” he said.
Pasig targets to increase the city’s healthcare capacity to treat Covid-19 patients, he said.
Sotto said two more buildings at the Pasig’s Centralized Quarantine Facility will start operation in the next two days (July 27 and 28) with the capacity to accommodate at least 87 asymptomatic and mild patients.
He added that all buildings in the centralized quarantine facility will be operational and functional by August 2.
Sotto reminded anew the public of their responsibilities and contributions to the government’s response against the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Let’s all do our part to save as many lives as we possibly can and the local government unit will always do its part. Let’s all do our part to make sure that this fight ends as soon as possible and we will win against Covid-19,” Sotto said. (PNA)