Bill mandating employers to offer work from home set up filed in Senate

Robie de Guzman   •   June 29, 2020   •   361

MANILA, Philippines – A bill seeking to make work from home arrangement a mandatory option offered to employees has been filed in the Senate.

In filing Senate Bill No. 1448, Senator Imee Marcos noted that alternative working arrangements are becoming a new normal in offices due to the continuing threat of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Marcos said her bill proposes to introduce amendments to the Republic Act 11165 or the Telecommuting Act to make working from home a mandatory option for employees whose physical presence in the workplace is not necessary for the completion of his or her job, and who have been in the company for at least a year.

“Should the physical presence of the employee be necessary for a particular task, the employer may require his/her attendance in the workplace, within office hours and during weekdays, but not more than twice a week,” Marcos said in her proposal.

Telecommuting is defined in the present law as a work arrangement that allows a worker to perform his or her tasks from an alternative workplace with the use of telecommunication and/or computer technologies.

“Various sectors, including the labor sector, have to make major modifications in their policy to ensure compliance with social distancing measures,” Marcos said in the explanatory note of the bill.

“This bill, this seeks to strengthen the Telecommuting Law by making it mandatory, and not merely optional, for employers to offer telecommuting as an alternative to employees whose physical presence in the workplace is not absolutely essential to the performance of their functions,” she added.

The measure also states that a contract of employment should clearly indicate the eligibility of a given position for telecommuting.

“Clearly, a ‘new normal’ of social distancing, new hygiene standards and limited physical contact shall prevail into the future,” Marcos said.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Telecommuting Act on December 20, 2018, after Senator Joel Villanueva pushed for its passage in the previous Congress.

Some senators opt out of COVID-19 testing

UNTV News   •   March 20, 2020

Senate of the Philippines facade

Although Senate Majority Leader Miguel Zubiri has announced he tested positive for COVID-19 despite being asymptomatic, some senators have opted not to undergo a COVID-19 test.

Senators Risa Hontiveros and Kiko Pangilinan have decided not to go through COVID-19 testing, saying they are not manifesting any symptoms and are strictly following protocols given by the DOH.

Some of their co-lawmakers have already taken the test including Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senators Grace Poe, Imee Marcos, Pia Cayetano, Ramon Revilla Jr., Francis Tolentino and the first two senators who initiated to undergo self-quarantine, Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Nancy Binay.

Senator Christoper Bong Go has also undergone COVID-19 testing with President Rodrigo Duterte who came out negative. — by Harlene Delgado

Imee Marcos wants Manila Water, Maynilad held liable to service disruption

Robie de Guzman   •   October 24, 2019

Senator Imee Marcos (C)

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Imee Marcos on Thursday said that concessionaires Manila Water and Maynilad should be held accountable for implementing rotational water service interruptions which are seen to inconvenience millions of its customers.

In a statement, Marcos said water concessionaires in Metro Manila should have implemented countermeasures to prevent water shortage amid declining water level at Angat and Ipo dams.

Marcos said this is not the first time that Metro Manila and nearby provinces have experienced water shortage this year, recalling the time when water concessionaires also implemented operational adjustments due to low water supply in March.

“Di ba nasabon at binalaan na sila ni Pangulong Duterte na ite-terminate ang concession agreements noong Marso dahil sa kapalpakan nila, pero ngayon wala pa rin silang solusyon sa problema sa tubig,” Marcos said in a statement.

Alam naman nila na may kakulangan sa suplay nito. Bakit ang mga tao ang babalikat ng sakripisyo,” she added.

She said the Senate could review the existing agreements between the concessionaires and the government.

Manila Water and Maynilad both announced earlier that they will implement daily rotational water service interruptions in several areas starting Oct. 24.

The water companies cited the declining water level in Angat dam and Ipo dams as the reason for the supply adjustment.

As of 6 a.m. Thursday, the water level in Angat Dam is at 185.87 meters while the Ipo dam is at 100.37 meters.

The dams’ water elevation has consistently declined in the past few weeks due to a lack of heavy rainfall that could raise its reserves.

Marcos pushes for Citizen Program Bill seeking choice of military, civic training for students

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 25, 2019

A proposed bill has been filed in the Senate which offers a choice of military or civic training for students.

Senate Bill 413 will push Citizen Service Program from grade school to college. According to Senator Imee Marcos, who filed the bill, “there are other ways to love and serve our country besides fighting wars.”

“[The bill] still accommodates President Duterte’s call for military training for the youth but allows college students the choice of training instead in community service, disaster preparedness, and environmental protection to develop a sense of ‘bayanihan’, which is embodied in Filipino culture and history,” she adds.

The bill also ensures free health insurance and medical services to students who opt for ROTC training, while officers will earn stipends.—AAC

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