IBP offers free legal aid amid COVID-19 community quarantine

Robie de Guzman   •   April 7, 2020   •   579

MANILA, Philippines – The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) has offered to provide free online legal assistance to the public amid the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a Facebook post on Monday, the national organization of lawyers said it will give free legal advice to those who have concerns related to the enforcement of the community quarantine.

“Kabilang nito ang mga katanungan na may kinalaman sa pag-aresto kaugnay ng curfew, diskirminasyon sa mga health workers, at iba pa,” the IBP said.

The agency said questions and messages may be sent to its official Facebook page at 𝗳b.𝗰𝗼𝗺/𝗜𝗕𝗣𝗡𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹𝗖𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗟𝗲𝗴𝗮𝗹𝗔𝗶𝗱 or via email at 𝗹𝗲𝗴𝗮𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗱@𝗶𝗯𝗽.𝗽h or via text 𝟬𝟵𝟬𝟲𝟬𝟳𝟵𝟵𝟮𝟮𝟲 (Atty. Eric C. Alajar).

The IBP earlier called out undue discrimination against medical personnel and other workers on the frontline of the COVID-19 fight, as well as individuals who showed symptoms and tested positive for the virus.

It urged the public not to succumb to fear that diminishes humanity, and to show support for the victims and frontliners amid the public health crisis.

“Precautionary measures are understandable and desirable but they should remain reasonable and within the bounds of law,” IBP National President Atty. Domingo Egon Cayosa said in a separate statement.

The Magna Carta of Patient’s Rights and Obligations, Magna Carta of Public Health Workers, and other laws or regulations remain effective and must temper and guide the actions and initiatives of everyone,” he added.

Palace unconvinced PH has higher COVID-19 cases than Indonesia

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 7, 2020

Malacañang is not convinced that the Philippines has surpassed Indonesia in the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

During a press briefing on Friday (August 7), Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Philippines is conducting more COVID-19 tests which resulted in more confirmed cases.

Ibig sabihin po dahil mas maigiting ang ating pagte-test hindi totoo na mas marami tayo kaso kaysa sa Indonesia. Hindi lamang nalalaman ng mga Indonesian kung sino-sino ang mga umiikot na mayroong sakit at least tayo alam kung sino po sila (It means we are conducting more tests. It is not true that we have more cases than Indonesia. The Indonesians don’t know who are sick at least, on our case, we know),” he said.

The Department of Health (DOH) has previously explained that the COVID-19 situation in the Philippines cannot be compared to other countries because of the population difference and health care system.

Meanwhile, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said no country can say they have been successful in their fight against COVID-19.

“No country could ever say they are successful. Look at Japan, look at Italy, even Vietnam, and Singapore,” he said. “We focus on what we are doing is appropriate, proper, and practical rather than everyday compare yourself.” -AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

QC gov’t seeks complete info from DOH for contact tracing

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 7, 2020

The Quezon City local government has appealed to the Department of Health (DOH) to ensure complete information of all coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) positive individuals to hasten its contact tracing efforts.

QC Mayor Joy Belmonte said the agency’s failure to provide complete information in some cases delays contact tracing by days.

Due to this, she said frontliners are forced to spend valuable time looking for the needed information from other possible sources including social media.

“The lack of available information from the outset, specifically addresses and contact numbers, amounting to half of all cases reported, delays contact tracing by days,” she said.

Belmote said 573 or 47% out of the 1,224 COVID-19 cases from Aug. 1 to 2 have no addresses or contact numbers, forcing the City Epidemiology and
Surveillance Unit (CESU) to label them as ‘unknown’.

“With that, we appeal to your good office as Secretary of Health to set the vision and direction in improving data quality for rapid contact tracing,” she added. -AAC

Gov’t offices under lockdown reach 153; over 10K gov’t workers, COVID-19 positive

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 6, 2020

Government offices that have been put under lockdown now reached 153, while over 10,000 government employees tested positive for COVID-19.

Among the offices include the Government Service Insurance System office in Pasay City and Quezon City which will remain closed until Friday (August 7). However, the GSIS advisory states that its online facilities will still remain open for members and pensioners.

The main office of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Intramuros, Manila will remain closed until August 16 for extensive disinfection and decontamination.

GOVERNMENT OFFICES UNDER LOCKDOWN

NCR – 108
Region IV – 16
Region VII – 11
Region I – 5
Region V – 4
CARAGA – 3
Region IX – 2
CAR – 1
Region II – 1
Region XI – 1
Region XII – 1

TOTAL: 153

Civil Service Commission (CSC) Commissioner Atty. Aileen Lizada advised that the head of department or agency should have a concrete internal protocol to prevent the further spread of the virus. This includes swab testing, disinfection, and other health protocols.

So we need to see, dapat meron kayong ganoong internal protocol para ho na everyone is guided accordingly (So you should have internal protocols so that everyone is guided accordingly),” she said.

Meanwhile, a total of 10,344 government employees tested positive for COVID-19 as of August 5.

Lizada said employees will have free medical services if they wish to be treated in government facilities and hospitals.

She also calls on head of the agencies to continue providing salaries to Job Orders.

“Although there is no employer-employee relationship, I personally believe that the head the agencies must continue paying the salaries of JOs and COS. They were forced to not work because of this virus,” she said. -AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

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