GOOD news from Muntinlupa City. The city continues to record a steady decline in the local Covid-19 active cases. From October 1 to November 18, the number of active cases dropped by 93 percent from 988 to 68.

To date, there have been 27,554 confirmed cases in Muntinlupa City with 26,909 recoveries, 577 reported deaths, 65 suspect cases, and 484 probable cases.

Last week, the City Government started the vaccination of minors. As of Nov 17, 14,924 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been given to minors aged 12 to 17 years old in Muntinlupa.

Of the total, 14,624 minors received their first dose and while 300 got their second dose, making them fully vaccinated. The first-dose recipients are equivalent to 26 percent of the total population of 55,391 of minors 12 to 17 years old in Muntinlupa.

A total of 31,124 minors ages 12 to 17 have registered with MunCoVac. They represent 56 percent of the total population for the age group in the city.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for use in people 12 years old and above.

Last Friday, the City Government also started administering booster shots. However, due to the limited availability of vaccines, the boosters were initially limited to frontline health workers.

Despite the decline in Covid cases, Mayor Jaime R. Fresnedi reminded residents not to let their guards down and to continue to observe basic health protocols -- like frequent washing of hands, wearing face masks and observing physical distancing.

Emergency employment opportunities

Labor Secretary Bello III recently turned over to the Muntinlupa city government personal protective equipment and tools to reduce work-related hazards during the conduct of various community-based projects. The donated items consisted of 50 wheelbarrows, 250 pick mattocks, 250 shovels and 500 hard hats.

The donations were in line with the Department of Labor and Employment's (DOLE) Tulong Pangkabuhayan para sa mga Displaced/Disadvantaged Persons (Tupad) -- a community-based program that provides emergency employment for vulnerable individuals affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The employment usually lasts for a minimum period of ten days.

Present during the turnover were Muntinlupa Mayor Jaime Fresnedi, Congressman Ruffy Biazon; Muntinlupa City Administrator, Engr. Allan A. Cachuela; Muntinlupa City Peso Manager Glenda Zamora-Aniñon, DOLE-Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns Director, Atty. Ma. Karina Perida-Trayvilla; DOLE-NCR Regional Director, Atty. Sarah Buena S. Mirasol; and DOLE-NCR MUNTAPARLAS Field Office Director Leonides P. Castillon, Jr., NPU Director Ramon Navarra from the Office of Senator Risa Hontiveros, and other local officials.

Simultaneous with the ceremony, an orientation for the 45 beneficiaries of the Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES) and 236 beneficiaries of Tupad was facilitated by Peso Manager Glenda Z. Aniñon. The activity was part of the pre-employment requirement to prepare the program recipients for eventual deployment.

In aid of the country’s economic recovery

In a determined effort to boost social enterprises (SEs), the Ayala group recently inaugurated the Alagang Ayala Land Center at the Trinoma. The center will showcase the “Sinag Sari-Sari Social Enterprise Store”. This joint project of Alagang Ayala Land and BPI Foundation, together with Bayan Academy, aims to support the growth of social enterprises, create livelihood and jobs and aid in the country’s recovery. BPI Foundation and Bayan Academy organized the participating BPI Sinag merchants, who are social entrepreneurs helping local and marginalized communities. Alagang Ayala Land provides market access in rent-free spaces in more than 30 Ayala malls across the country.

Ayala Malls President Chris Maglanoc, ALI Board Director Tony Aquino, ALI President/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bobby Dy, Ayala Corporation Chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, BPI President/CEO TG Limcaoco, Bayan Academy Chairman/President Professor Jay Bernardo, BPI Chief Customer and Marketing Officer Cathy Santamaria, and BPI Vice President and Deputy Head of Marketing Mariana Zobel de Ayala graced the center’s opening last November 11.

SSS unemployment benefits

The Social Security System (SSS) has granted P869.99 million worth of unemployment benefits to 67,937 members for the period January to September 2021. This was announced by SSS President and CEO Aurora C. Ignacio.

The benefit is in addition to the SSS-administered programs as mandated under Republic Act No. 11199 or the Social Security Act of 2018. This covers employees including kasambahays and OFW members who were separated from their respective employments.

Members affected by involuntary separation due to the installation of labor-saving devices, redundancy, retrenchment or downsizing, business closure or cessation of operations, and disease/illness of the employee whose continued employment is prohibited by law or is prejudicial to his or his co-employee’s healthy may apply for this benefit. Economic downturn and natural or human-induced calamities/disasters such as the Covid-19 pandemic are also considered as involuntary separation.

A member must have paid at least 36 monthly contributions, 12 months of which should be within the 18-month period preceding the involuntary separation. A member should not be over 60 years at the time of involuntary separation. A lower age limit is provided for mineworkers (50) and racehorse jockeys (55).