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The office of Pateros Mayor Miguel “Ike” Ponce III was temporarily shut down on Jan. 4 after several employees tested positive for coronavirus disease, according to a report by Manila Bulletin.

“Dahil po ilan sa mga empleyado ng tanggapan ng Punong Bayan ay nag positibo sa COVID-19 virus ngayong araw na ito, ang nasabing tanggapan ay pansamantalang isasara simula bukas, Enero 5, 2022, upang obserbahan at dumaan sa RT PCR (swab test) ang lahat ng nagtatrabaho dito at upang isailalim ang tanggapan sa disinfection (Because several employees of the Office of the Mayor tested positive for COVID-19 today [Jan. 4], the said office will be temporarily closed starting tomorrow, Jan. 5, 2022, so that all employees will be observed and undergo RT-PCR (swab test) and to disinfect the office),” according to an announcement by the Pateros municipal government.

It added that all transactions under the mayor’s office have been transferred and will be done at the Office of the Municipal Administrator.

Mayor Ponce held his regular live broadcast on Facebook on Jan. 4 outside his office. He usually holds his livestream inside his office.

The positive cases in the mayor’s office are an addition to the rising number of cases in Pateros. As of Jan. 4, the municipal government reported that seven new COVID-19 cases have been recorded to bring the total active cases to 63, an increase of 66 percent from 38 active cases last Dec. 31.

In his live broadcast, Ponce said most of the new cases occurred in families, saying, “the virus now spreads faster, which we assume was brought by the Omicron variant.” The Department of Health recorded 14 cases of Omicron in the country.

Ponce issued Executive Order No. 1 (series of 2022) “setting and defining the rules, policies and guidelines to govern and to be implemented in the Municipality of Pateros under the General Community Quarantine Alert Level 3 and providing for restrictions on unvaccinated persons starting January 3, 2022 and for other purposes.”

Metro Manila is under Alert Level 3 from Jan. 3 to 15 due to the threat of the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus.

In his executive order, “Unvaccinated individuals shall be required to undergo a RT PCR (swab) test every two (2) weeks at their personal expense and present a COVID-19 negative result prior to being admitted for work on site (MMC Resolution # 001, Series of 2022).”

He also imposed a curfew on all minors aged 17 years old and below “except when they are vaccinated and are accompanied by their parent/s or when attending to work or business.”

The Pateros Municipal Council will enact an ordinance to implement the rules and impose penalties.


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