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

Marje Pelayo   •   April 24, 2020   •   2428

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)

Metro Manila may ease to GCQ after August 18 – Lorenzana

Robie de Guzman   •   August 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who also serves as the chairman of the National Task Force on COVID-19, on Monday expressed confidence that the National Capital Region (NCR) will be placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) after August 18.

Lorenzana said that recent data on COVID-19 cases show that Metro Manila is ready to loosen its coronavirus lockdown after its two-week return to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) restriction.

He said the trend is “going down” after the Department of Health reported around 3,000 additional cases on Sunday.

Lorenzana said this number is lower compared to the 6,000 increase in recent days.

Metro Manila, as well as Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite and Rizal were placed under MECQ until August 18 after medical workers appealed for a “timeout” amid rising COVID-19 cases.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año also expressed optimism that the re-imposition of a stricter quarantine measure, coupled with the observance of health protocols, will slow down the transmission of coronavirus disease in the country

“Titingnan natin yung figures pero ako, I am optimistic na with the 15 days MECQ, bababa yan. Ang kailangan lang ay sumunod. Huwag na tayong maging pasaway, stay at home,” he said.

He also reiterated his appeal to the public to be responsible and strictly follow advise to only leave their homes for essential needs.

“With 15 days staying at home marami tayong virus diyan na mapapatay kasi incubation period or 14 days talaga namang mamamatay yung virus. Bago pa makalipat sa ibang tao mamatay na yung virus. So please do your partnering,” he said.  – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

Duterte extends GCQ anew in Metro Manila until August 15

Marje Pelayo   •   July 31, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Friday (July 31) that he is again extending the implementation of  general community quarantine(GCQ) in Metro Manila starting August 1 to 15.

Aside from the National Capital Region, the following areas are also placed under GCQ until August 15:

  • Bulacan
  • Batangas
  • Cavite
  • Laguna
  • Rizal
  • Cebu Province
  • Lapu-Lapu City
  • Mandaue City
  • Talisay City
  • Minglanilla
  • Consolacion
  • Zamboanga City

Meanwhile, the rest of the country are placed under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

Duterte to announce new quarantine status; not sure of MGCQ for Metro Manila

Marje Pelayo   •   July 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is set to meet with members of the Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 on Wednesday evening (July 15) to discuss the next steps with regard to the implementation of community quarantine in different parts of the country. 

He is expected to decide on the new quarantine status that will take effect on Thursday, July 16. 

According to Malacañang, there was no mention in the previous IATF meeting about easing quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila.

Specifically, there was no discussion about the shifting from general community quarantine (GCQ) to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) in the National Capital Region considering the increase in the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases and the full utilization of the region’s critical care capacity. 

“Hindi ko po alam dahil sa huling meeting ng IATF talagang hindi po na-discuss ang MGCQ for Metro Manila (I have no idea because in the previous IATF meeting there was no discussion about MGCQ for Metro Manila),” noted Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque. 

The Philippines has entered the fourth month since the government imposed community quarantine orders due to the outbreak of COVID-19. 

Roque assured, meanwhile, that the NCR’s hospitals have enough beds for COVID-19 patients despite the announcement of Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega that the region’s intensive care system has now reached the danger zone. 

“Ang pakiusap lang natin sa mga pasyente, makinig lang po tayo kung saan tayo dapat pumunta at huwag na tayong mag-insist (We only ask that patients listed [to authorities] where they are supposed to go and not insist [on what they want]),” Roque stressed.

“Huwag na tayong mag-worry kung puno ang isang ospital, ire-refer naman po kayo sa iba pang ospital, (Do not worry if the hospital is full because you will be accommodated in other hospitals),” he added. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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