PH gov’t task force rolls out national action plan vs COVID-19 pandemic

Robie de Guzman   •   March 25, 2020   •   557

MANILA, Philippines – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on Wednesday presented the government’s National Action Plan (NAP) which is aimed at arresting the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, who serves as the task force’s spokesperson, revealed the action plan against COVID-19 pandemic at a news conference in Malacañang.

Under the plan which is contained in the March 24 resolution, the IATF will serve as the policy-making body of the operations while the national task force (NTF-COVID-19) shall serve as the operational command to be headed by the Secretary of the Department of National Defense.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council shall determine and identify the agencies that will belong to the proposed NTF-COVID-19.

The task group on response operations will be led by the Department of Health with support from other national government agencies to address enforcement and security, food security, disaster risk management, and labor issues.

The IATF also said that a task group on resource management and logistics shall ensure that critical needs of all concerned agencies will be met, while another task group will be in-charge pf communications.

The day-to-day concerns in relation to the pandemic will be managed by National Incident Command.

The IATF also directed the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) to transfer more than P420 million fund to the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) to be used for the latter’s COVID-19 packages.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development will lead the Technical Working Group for Social Amelioration to identify beneficiaries of the government’s social amelioration program.

The IATF also said endorsed the proposal of the Department of Labor and Employment to immediately release the P1.5 billion worth of financial aid for Filipino migrant workers.

The Office of the Civil Defense (OCD), meanwhile, is designated as the main coordinating body for all domestic donations relative to the management of COVID-19, while international financial donations will be subject to the evaluation of a technical working group composed of the Department of Foreign Affairs, OCD, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Finance and the Department of Budget and Management.

The action plan was released a week after the Philippines was placed under a state of calamity, and a 30day enhanced community quarantine was implemented in the whole of Luzon to combat the spread of the virus.

The Philippines has so far recorded 636 confirmed cases with 38 deaths and 26 recoveries.

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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