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

Marje Pelayo   •   April 24, 2020   •   2735

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)

IATF to study mayors’ bid to retain Metro Manila under GCQ after Sept. 30 – Año

Robie de Guzman   •   September 25, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Most mayors in the National Capital Region (NCR) are in favor of extending the general community quarantine (GCQ) being implemented in the region, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said on Friday.

Año said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) will meet on Sunday, Sept. 27 to discuss the recommendation of the Metro Manila Council on the next quarantine status in NCR by October.

“Maraming mga mayors ng NCR ang gusto pa rin mag-GCQ pero depende pa rin sa usapan sa Sunday,” he said.

Metro Manila is under GCQ until Sept. 30 as earlier recommended by the IATF and approved by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Año said they will thoroughly discuss the Metro Manila mayors’ proposal in order to balance the factors of public health and economy which has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Dalawa ‘yan: mahigpit na MGCQ o maluwag na GCQ. Kapag titignan mo mas maganda talaga na naka-GCQ tayo kahit magluwag ka ng konti pero meron kang talagang mas mataaas na panuntunan kaysa yung nag MGCQ ka pagkatapos hihigpitan mo,” he said.

The Department of Trade and Industry earlier said that Metro Manila could be placed under modified GCQ as this would allow the reopening of more industries to help revive the economy.

The IATF is also set to meet with Duterte on Sunday night to discuss the next quarantine classifications in NCR. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

Boracay Island to open on Oct. 1 for residents from GCQ areas

Marje Pelayo   •   September 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force has approved the proposed reopening of Boracay Island starting October 1 following recommendation from the Department of Tourism (DOT).

Such a move is part of the government’s recovery efforts from the impact of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The resumption of tourism in Boracay would mean residents from areas under general community quarantine, including Metro Manila will soon be allowed to enter the island.

However, the government reminds the public of the strict health and safety protocols that go with the reopening of the famous tourist destination.

One of which is mandatory swab testing for all visitors before they can be allowed entry.

“Isa sa mga requirements na pinag-uusapan iyong RT-PCR (test) bago pumasok doon sa isla (One requirement under discussion is the RT-PCR test before entering the island),” noted Tourism Undersecretary Benito Benzon.

“Mayroon pa ring pagmomonitor ng movements ng mga turista pagpasok sa Boracay, so kailangan may pre-arranged reservations ,may QR code iyan para namomonitor lahat ng pumapasok (Monitoring the movement of tourists inside Boracay remains in place so they need to have pre-arranged reservations, QR code, to monitor every person that comes in),” he added.

For his part, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año assured that Boracay is now prepared to accept visitors. 

If in any case, a COVID-19 positive slips into the island, the agency has prepared enough facilities for isolation.

“Doon mismo sa Boracay ay mayroon tayong COVID isolation facility doon. Kung mayroong mag-positive or suspected, dadalhin agad sa mainland [Aklan] (There is a COVID isolation facility inside Boracay. In case someone tests positive or suspected of having the disease, the patient will be transferred immediately to the mainland [Aklan]),” the official said.

Well in place ang nakita namin preparations nila (Their preparations are well in place),” he assured. MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

IATF, maglalabas ng guidelines para sa ‘staycation’ sa GCQ areas

Robie de Guzman   •   September 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Tiniyak ng Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-MEID) na maglalabas ito ng guidelines para sa pagpapatupad ng ‘staycation’ sa mga lugar na nasa ilalim ng general community quarantine.

Binabalangkas pa sa ngayon ng Department of Tourism (DOT) ang panuntunan para dito matapos payagan ng IATF ang kanilang rekomendasyon.

Paglilinaw naman ni Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, limitado lang ang ‘staycation’ at papayagan lang ito sa mga taong nakatira mismo sa siyudad, lalawigan at rehiyon na maaari nang tumanggap ng hotel bookings o reservation.

“A staycation shall involve a minimum overnight stay for leisure purposes in a DOT-accredited Accommodation Enterprise located in proximity with one’s residence. For instance, residents of the NCR can staycation within NCR subject to the requirements of the Local Government Unit,” ang pahayag ni Romulo-Puyat.

Kailangan din aniya na masunod ang mga patakarang ipinatutupad ng lokal na pamahalaan na nakakasakop sa isang hotel.

Pabor naman sa ‘staycation’ ang mga alkalde sa Metro Manila pero kailangan anilang matukoy muna kung aling mga hotel sa Kalakhang Maynila ang papayagang tumanggap ng mga bisita lalo’t ginagamit ang ilan sa mga ito bilang quarantine facilities.

“Papayagan naman yung staycation pero hindi pwedeng magsama ang positive quarantine place sa staycation, that is why we need to identify which hotels are allowed and not allowed,” ang wika ni Jojo Garcia, ang general manager ng Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.

Una nang inaprubahan ng IATF ang panukalang staycation sa mga hotel bilang bahagi ng mga hakbang para makabangon ang ekonomiya at sektor ng turismo sa bansa lubhang naapektuhan ng COVID-19 pandemic. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Joan Nano)

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