Duterte assures stronger gov’t response to COVID-19 crisis with new special powers

Marje Pelayo   •   March 25, 2020   •   410

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte expressed gratitude to Congress for granting the Executive branch special powers to strengthen the national government’s response to the current crisis on coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

On Wednesday (March 23), President Duterte signed into law the “Bayanihan to Heal as One” Act which will grant him authority to reallocate government savings to programs related to combating COVID-19.

“To the members of both houses of Congress who sponsored and voted for this measure, I express my sincerest gratitude to all of you for granting our most urgent requests,” the President said.

“Finally, the Executive Department can move, decide and act freely for the best interest of the Filipino people during this health crisis,” he added.

Under the new measure, the national government will allocate emergency monthly subsidy for the 18 million informal sector families in the country on the duration of the crisis.

Likewise, there will be ‘COVID-19 special risk allowance’ for all public health workers on top of their hazard duty pay, compensation for public and private health workers who contacted the disease while on duty, and for the relatives of health workers who died of COVID-19.

“Supplies of food, water and other essentials will be provided to you throughout this ordeal,” the Chief Executive stressed.

“Financial assistance will also be extended especially to those in the margins and the vulnerable groups,” he added.

Meanwhile, concerned agencies like the Health, National Defense, the Interior and Local Government and the Social Welfare and Development Departments are directed to collaborate for the implementation of the government’s national action plan against COVID-19.

Thus, the Chief Executive called for cooperation from all government employees on the matter.

“To my fellow public servants, let us set aside our differences and work in solidarity to overcome this pandemic. We only have one common enemy and that is COVID-19,” the President appealed.

“Our transparency, integrity, accountability and responsiveness are needed and I expect all of you to exercise all these in safeguarding our fellow Filipinos,” he concluded. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

PNP to implement 50-50 work scheme due to COVID-19

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 6, 2020

The Philippine National Police (PNP) will implement a 50-50 work scheme among personnel who are based at the national headquarters in Camp Crame.

This is due to the rising number of PNP personnel who have become patients under investigation (PUI) and persons under monitoring (PUM) of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) threat.

The 50-50 work scheme would use 50 percent or the first batch of personnel to go on duty at the administrative office until April 19 while the second batch will go on duty from April 20 to May 3.

According to a memorandum issued on April 4, the heads of offices/units with essential functions shall determine the work scheme applicable to the personnel, as long as they should observe a 14-day self-quarantine/isolation as part of the PNP’s health protocol.

“Maaaring magpatupad sila ng kani-kanilang scheduling para hindi naman maapektuhan ang ating normal functions,” said PNP Spokesperson Bernard Banac.

Meanwhile, police personnel who are aged 45 years old and above will have to be pulled out from the checkpoint areas.

“Mas vulnerable sila sa COVID-19 (They are more vulnerable to COVID-19),” Banac said.

The PNP will also launch Admin Support to COVID-19 Task Force (ASCoTF) to ensure an organized and speedy logistics, response, and development of frontliners.

The PNP has already recorded 19 police personnel that tested positive for COVID-19 with two deaths.

The total number of persons under monitoring (PUMs) in the PNP has already reached more than 1,300. — AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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UK PM Johnson admitted to hospital as Britain enters third week of lockdown

UNTV News   •   April 6, 2020

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was in hospital in London on Monday (April 6) suffering persistent coronavirus symptoms 10 days after testing positive for the virus, but Downing Street said he remained in charge of the government.

Johnson, 55, had been isolating in Downing Street after testing positive for the virus last month, was taken to hospital on Sunday night because he still had a high temperature and his doctors felt he needed additional tests.

Meanwhile, Britain entered its third week in lockdown with authorities warning they will have to impose further restrictions on outdoor exercise if people continued to flout rules designed to curb transmission of the virus.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it was “unbelievable” to see a small minority flouting the government’s advice to maintain social-distancing.

Hancock said if people did not follow the rules, which allow people to walk, run or cycle outdoors once a day but not sunbathe, he would have to ban exercise of all forms outside the home.

He said the timetable to ease restrictions – the lockdown exit strategy – could only be agreed once the spread of the coronavirus had been brought under control.

Other European countries such as Italy and France have imposed tougher restrictions on people leaving their homes. (REUTERS CONNECT)

(Production: Gerhard Mey, Ben Makori.)

Frontline health workers to receive Special Risk Allowance

Marje Pelayo   •   April 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Frontline health workers will now receive an extra financial aid from the government as additional compensation for their service in the fight against coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

President Rodrigo Duterte, through Administrative Order Number 28, directed all government agencies, government-owned or controlled corporations and the local government units (LGUs) to provide public health workers with one-time COVID-19 Special Risk Allowance equivalent to 25% of their basic salary.

Those qualified for the said benefit include public health workers who are in active service under the enhanced community quarantine – regular, contractual, casual or part-time health workers; those under contract of service or job order arrangement like barangay health workers who are assigned in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

The one-time special risk allowance will be prorated based on the number of days a health worker has served starting March 17, 2020. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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