IATF: 50% of office-based workers may resume in areas under GCQ

Marje Pelayo   •   April 24, 2020   •   2221

MANILA, Philippines – About 600,000 office workers across Luzon may resume office work in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ), a labor group said.

Alliance of Labor Union – Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) explained that a large number of these employees work in banks and other financial services as well as in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.

On Friday (April 24), President Rodrigo Duterte approved the extension of the ECQ until May 15, 2020, in the National Capital Region (NCR) and further expanded to several provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao.

All other areas, meanwhile, will be placed under GCQ depending on the rate of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection.

According to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID), 50% of employees in areas under GCQ may resume office work while the other 50% must opt for work-from-home (WFH) setup.

As a standard measure, ALU-TUCP Spokesperson Allan Tanjusay said establishments should disinfect and ensure the safety of offices before employees come in.

He also urged employers to provide hazard pay for their workers, and those who will be picked for home-based works should be provided with the necessary gadgets like laptop and Internet access for them to efficiently accomplish their workloads.

According to ALU-TUCP, about 2 million from the 5-million workforce in Luzon are office-based workers and have been affected by the ECQ.

Most of them are working in business districts like Makati, Ortigas, and Taguig.

Meanwhile, the labor group is also requesting the government to provide additional compensation for workers who will not be able to come to work due to the extension of ECQ. MNP (with inputs from Rey Pelayo)

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)

Duterte extends ECQ in Cebu City; GCQ in Metro Manila until July 15

Marje Pelayo   •   July 1, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has decided to extend the implementation of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Cebu City until July 15, 2020.

The President noted the “stubbornness” of its residents despite strict government protocols to curb the spread of COVID-19. He cited the situation in Talisay City where people tend to ignore social distancing protocols, with some even engaging in drinking sprees and gambling.

Ayaw ninyo maniwala, bakit marami? One of the reasons — even without consulting the Body— because you did not follow rules,” President Duterte said.

“You have the highest. Cebu is now the new hotspot for COVID-19. Bakit? Marami sa inyo ay hindi sumusunod,” he added.

The President expressed concern over the situations in Cebu City which he hopes will improve through the supervision of Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu.

Meanwhile, Metro Manila and the following areas will remain under general community quarantine (GCQ) until July 15:

  • Cavite
  • Rizal
  • Benguet
  • Lapu-Lapu City
  • Mandaue City
  • Leyte
  • Ormoc
  • Southern Leyte
  • Talisay City, Minglanilla and Consolacion Municipalities in Cebu Province

The President commended the response of residents in the said areas to the government-imposed protocols which helped slow down the rate of COVID-19 infection.

You know Manila, maraming tao but because sumunod nila — with few violations thereabout— we here in Manila have a good chance of at least avoiding it,” he said.

To save the economy, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguz recommended to the President the further relaxing of quarantine measures in Metro Manila and the CALABARZON region. 

The rest of the country, meanwhile, will remain under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) specifically those identified as moderate and low risk areas where localized community quarantine and minimum health standards may strictly be observed. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

IATF okays gradual reopening of dine-in services in GCQ areas

Marje Pelayo   •   June 11, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 has approved gradual reopening of dine-in services of restaurants in areas under the general community quarantine (GCQ).

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez announced that starting June 15, restaurants may allow dine-in services limited to 30 percent dining capacity.

Lopez said the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) already issued safety protocols last week to allow food establishments to prepare for the resumption of dine-in services in their respective businesses.

These protocols include placement of markings to ensure 1.5 meter distance between diners.

There should also be acrylic or clear glass partitions installed to separate diners.

The DTI will conduct random checking of all food establishments once they reopen to ensure compliance to the agency’s protocols.

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