CSC to roll out work guidelines for gov’t employees in view of the ‘new normal’

Marje Pelayo   •   May 4, 2020   •   1657

MANILA, Philippines — The Civil Service Commission (CSC) will be releasing guidelines on alternative work schemes for government workers amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Mayroon tayong pino-propose na [We are proposing for] work-from-home, skeleton workforce, 4-day work week, standard working hours, and other alternative work arrangements,” said CSC Commissioner Aileen Lizada.

These are just among the arrangements included in the interim guidelines of the CSC which are being finalized and will later be imposed in government agencies in the country. 

Alagaan po natin ang empleyado ng gobyerno kasi tuloy-tuloy pa rin ang [kanilang] paninilbihan, [We should also take care of our government employees because work in the government continues],” Lizada said.

Such adjustments are necessary given that work-from-home arrangements may not be applicable to certain functions.

“Parang sa finance, ilan lang ba dapat ang pumunta dyan sa isang araw, to handle the payroll, to handle ang babayaran? Then doon sa admin, ilan lang ba dapat? So, meron silang shifting hindi lahat present doon, [For instance in finance, how many employees must come to the office daily to handle the payroll, to handle the collections? Then administrative functions, how many? So they may opt to schedule shifts so that not all of them are present all at the same time,]” explained CSC Commissioner Aileen Lizada.

President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the extension of the ECQ for 15 more days until May 15 due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in several urban areas in the country. 

Meanwhile, quarantine measures have been relaxed in moderate and low-risk areas or places with low to no cases of infection. 

Some rules like restriction on mass gatherings remain but slight changes were made to regulations on business and other sectors as well as government work that were allowed to resume functions. MNP (with inputs from Rosalie Coz)

Cebu City hospitals in critical level amid surge of COVID-19 cases – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   July 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Some hospitals in Cebu City are already in critical level amid the surge of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the city, the Department of Health (DOH) said Thursday.

In a televised press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Cebu City’s overall health capacity has reached a critical point as many hospitals in the city are already swamped with patients.

“They’ve reached about 80 percent and even more—80 percent last week, pero napababa nila iyon nung nag meeting kami nung Sunday. Parang bumaba ng konti, although nasa critical level pa rin,” Vergeire said.

“So, ngayon pag nakakita tayo ng ganito, binabantayan kaya nga ang decision sa kanila they continue on with enhanced community quarantine,” she added.

The DOH official also noted there are only a few tertiary level hospitals in Cebu City and many are level one facilities that do not have intensive care units.

“’Yung iba pang malalaking ospital sa Cebu ay nandun na sa critical. Marami nang naka-admit, pati mechanical ventilators nila marami na ring gumagamit,” she said.

She cited Chong Hua Hospital, as an example, which is already occupied by 98 percent.

She said that aside from taking care of over 200 COVID-19 patients, at least 238 of its health workers are also currently under quarantine.

Due to this, Vergeire said the DOH is facilitating the augmentation and deployment of additional health workers, including infectious disease consultants, nurses, and military doctors, to Cebu Province to help attend to the burgeoning number of virus-infected patients. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

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Antipolo City market on lockdown as 18 tenants, vendors contract COVID-19

Marje Pelayo   •   July 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Antipolo City government has ordered the lockdown of the city’s public market after 18 of its tenants and vendors tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The lockdown, which started on Tuesday (June 30), would be in effect for two weeks, according to Antipolo Mayor Andrea Ynares.

The patients are now in isolation for mandatory quarantine while disinfection procedures are currently being undertaken within the market’s premises. 

Meanwhile, the local government unit has started distributing relief goods to other tenants and vendors affected by the closure. 

“Ang amin pong paulit-ulit na panawagan sa atin pong mga kababayan ay sana po sumunod tayo sa mga umiiral na batas ngayon, mga alituntunin,” appealed Relly Bernardo Jr. of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO).

[We constantly appeal to our constituents to follow health regulations, follow the law.]

“Siguraduhin po na nakakasunod po tayo sa mga protocols gaya ng pagsusuot ng mask, regular hand sanitation, at physical distancing,” he added.

[Always make sure that we are following protocols like wearing of masks, regular hand sanitation, and physical distancing.]

Likewise, the LGU is asking for help from the private markets in the city to conduct COVID-19 tests among their tenants.

The LGU added that private market owners can request from the city hall should they lack funds. —MNP (with details from JP Nunez)

3 options being considered for Duterte’s SONA, Sotto says

Robie de Guzman   •   July 1, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Congress is considering three scenarios for President Rodrigo Duterte’s 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 27, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said.

In an online press conference, Sotto said the Senate and the House of Representatives have been discussing options on how to hold the SONA this year amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Option number one involves conducting a traditional SONA in the Batasang Pambansa, with the president and several members of the legislative branch in attendance but without guests.

Option number two is to have the president deliver his speech at the Malacañang while lawmakers convene in Batasang Pambansa.

Option number three will see the President staying in Malacañang while senators and members of the House convene in their respective session halls.

Sotto believes the Palace will prefer that the address be made in Malacañang to ensure the president’s safety amid the threat of coronavirus pandemic.

“Kung ano ang safest sa pangulo ang primary consideration sa pag-decide sa SONA setup,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

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