Employers group asks IATF to provide decent transport service to commuting workers

Marje Pelayo   •   June 3, 2020   •   213

MANILA, Philippines – The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) has asked the Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 to provide decent transport service to employees or workers whose employers cannot afford them shuttle service to their workplaces. 

Days after the national government eased quarantine restrictions to general community quarantine (GCQ), still hundreds of workers struggle to get a ride to work due to the limited number of transport vehicles as well as the limited capacity in mass transport service in consideration to the social distancing protocols to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In an interview on the program Get It Straight with Daniel Razon, ECOP President Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. said that although they acknowledged that companies have the obligation to provide their employees with transport service under the guidelines of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), there are small scale businesses that cannot provide their workers with such service due to their limited resources.

Given such a situation, their workers are the ones who suffer waiting for long hours for a chance to get a ride to work and back home. 

This prompted ECOP to suggest to the government to provide bus units to workers whose companies are unable to provide them company service. 

Ang bus companies na naka-standby lang naman iyan [Bus companies are just on stand by, anyway],” Ortiz-Luis said.

“Mag-assign ka. Kung gusto nyong ma-control, lagyan ninyo ng pulis lahat ng sasakyan. Sana naiwasan hirap ng nga tao, [Assign some units. If you want control, deploy a cop in each of the bus units. That could ha ve eased the commuters their burden],” he added.

ECOP also noted that the work-from-home scheme may not apply to all employees and their nature of work, that’s why it is inevitable that a number of workers still need to come to their workplaces. 

The employers group appealed to IATF to come up with a concrete plan as to how it will support all concerned workers. 

“Kapag sinabi mo na itong one million, these can go to work now, dapat i-anticipate paano sila papasok, [If you say that these one million can go back to work now, anticipate how they will be able to do so],” Ortiz-Luis said addressing his statement to the IATF.

“Tulungan mo hindi iyong bahala na sila sa buhay nila, [Help them. Do not abandon them],” he added. MNP (with details from Joan Nano)

Government to formulate common ordinance on face masks for LGUs

Marje Pelayo   •   July 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The national government is formulating a common ordinance on wearing face masks to be imposed by all local government units (LGU) across the country.

This was among the issues discussed at a recent meeting between the Inter-Agency Task Force and the Council of Metro Manila Mayors.

The said ordinance will set guidelines for law enforcers on accosting violators.

Iminumungkahi na po na magkaroon ng common ordinance para magpataw po ng parusa sa mga taong hindi nagsusuot ng masks sa mga pampublikong lugar (There have been proposals for a common ordinance to penalize individuals who refuse to wear a mask in public places) ,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

Magkakaroon po iyan ng common ordinance, (There will be a common ordinance),” he assured.

The plan was prompted by an incident where journalist Howie Severino, a COVID-19 survivor, was accosted by authorities after pulling down his mask to take a drink during an early morning bicycle ride in Quezon City.

The city implements Ordinance No. 2936 which requires the use of face masks or other face-covering when in public places. MNP (with inputs from Rosalie Coz)

IATF expands services in salons, barbershops amid COVID-19 pandemic

Maris Federez   •   July 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 has expanded the services allowed in salons and barbershops in areas under the general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

Aside from haircut services, hair treatments are now allowed in salons under the GCQ areas; while nail care, basic facial care services, and basic personal care services will be allowed in areas under MGCQ.

Nevertheless, minimum public health standards will be strictly implemented in both GCQ and MGCQ areas, such as strict protocol on hand sanitation, face mask and face shields, gloves, and sterilized equipment.

The operating capacity in salons and barbershops will also be expanded to 50 percent in GCQ areas and 75 percent in MGCQ areas starting July 16, 2020. —(with details from Rosalie Coz) /mbmf

Religious gatherings up to 10% of venue capacity to be allowed in GCQ areas after July 10 – IATF

Robie de Guzman   •   July 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Friday announced that religious gatherings involving attendees of up to 10% of the venue capacity will soon be allowed in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ).

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said this is based on the latest resolution approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases following calls for the partial reopening of places of worship.

Roque said the new policy will take effect next Friday, July 10.

“Magkakaroon muna po tayo ng dry run na 10% itong darating na linggo, pero yung 10% po na allowed na ang lahat ay magsisimula po ng July 10,” he said in a televised press briefing.

The Palace official stressed that public health standards such as physical distancing, wearing of face mask, disinfection and hand hygiene, should be strictly followed.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier announced that the following areas will be under GCQ from July 1 to July 15:

  • National Capital Region
  • Cavite
  • Benguet
  • Rizal
  • Lapu-Lapu City
  • Mandaue City
  • Talisay City
  • Towns of Minglanilla and Consolacion in Cebu Province
  • Leyte
  • Ormoc
  • Southern Leyte

Roque also announced that operation of travel agencies in GCQ areas will also be allowed but only limited to a skeleton workforce.

The Department of Trade and Industry will also release a set of guidelines on additional services that will be allowed in salons and barbershops.

The latest IATF resolution also states that practice and conditioning sessions for professional basketball and football teams will also be permitted.

Roque said the move comes after a joint administrative order was signed between the Philippine Sports Commission, Games and Amusements Board, and the Department of Health to allow limited physical activities amid the community quarantine. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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