Some lawmakers withdraw support for ‘Better Normal’ bill
Marje Pelayo • August 15, 2020 • 156
MANILA, Philippines — Several members of the House of Representatives (HOR) oppose a provision in House Bill 6864 that prohibits mass gatherings.
Section 6 of House Bill 6864 or the Better Normal of Workplace, Communities and Public Spaces Act of 2020 states that public gatherings are prohibited subject to the exceptions as may be provided under the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Act.
The proposed legislation was approved in the lower chamber last Monday (August 10).
Among the 242 solons who voted ‘yes’ were the six members of the Makabayan Bloc. But after reviewing the bill’s final version, they withdrew their votes.
One of them was Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Carlos Zarate.
“Sa tingin natin ito ay taliwas sa nakasaad sa ating Konstitusyon na ginagarantiyahan ang karapatan ng mamamayan na magpahayag, i-address ang gobyerno sa kanilang mga hinaing (I believe it is contrary to the provisions of the Constitution that guarantee the people’s right to self-expresseion, to address their grievances against the government), even during the time of health crisis,” he said.
The bill primarily aims to mitigate the transmission of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in workplaces, communities and public places. The public would be mandated to wear a face shield; a face mask or an ear loop mask when they go outdoors.
Physical distancing of at least one meter would be observed.
The Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) would be tasked to formulate a flexible learning program.
The bill shall improve the information and communications technology which is much needed especially this time of pandemic.
Workplaces in industrial and commercial establishments would be made to submit a management plan to their local government unit to ensure that safeguard measures are properly enforced.
Flexible working schedules would also be implemented while maintaining the 8 hours a day or 48 hours a week work setup.
Passengers of public transport would also be required to use hand sanitizers or disinfectant before entering a vehicle.
Violators of the provisions of the act shall be fined with P1,000 to P100,000 or and may be imprisoned from one to six months depending on the offense. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)
MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) is now requiring facility-based isolation for confirmed asymptomatic and mild coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases through IATF Resolution 74.
The new policy however, exempts patients who are considered vulnerable or having comorbidities and their home meets the conditions specified in the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Joint Administrative Order 2020-0001.
Likewise, another exception is when the Ligtas COVID-19 Centers within the region are fully occupied and the local government unit does not have sufficient isolation facilities.
MANILA, Philippines — Iloilo City has been placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) effective September 25 until October 9 due to the increasing number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the city.
According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque the new measure is based on the issued Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Resolution 74 which also requires facility-based isolation for confirmed asymptomatic and mild COVID-19 cases.
However, the resolution exempts patients who are considered vulnerable or having comorbidities as confirmed by the local health officer.
Another exception would be when the Ligtas COVID-19 Centers within the region are fully occupied and the local government unit does not have sufficient isolation facilities.
On Tuesday (September 22), 33 employees of the Iloilo City Hall tested positive for COVID-19 prompting the three-day temporary closure of the establishment beginning Wednesday (September 23) as declared by Mayor Jerry Treñas in Executive Order No. 215-A.
Prior to that, 13 barangays in the city were placed under total lockdown due to the increase in community transmission of COVID-19.
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday said it will do away with deadlines and instead continue to hire contact tracers until their target of at least 50,000 is reached.
In a statement, DILG spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said the agency’s provincial and city field offices will continue to accept applications until the slots allocated to them have been filled up.
The department earlier announced that the submission of applications for contact tracers is only until Sept. 23.
“What’s important to us is to fill up the slots and recruit the most number of Contact Tracers as provided in the Bayanihan 2 law so those who meet the deadline will immediately be processed but we will continue to accept applications until we have met our targets,” he said.
Malaya said that some 10,000 individuals have already applied in Metro Manila but many have incomplete documents so they are giving more time for them to complete the requirements on a first come, first served basis.
“As soon as they are deemed qualified by the selection board, they will be hired, trained, and deployed to the various LGUs,” he added.
The DILG official said the first batch of DILG-hired contact tracers will be deployed to the local government units by first week of October.
The department earlier said that local and overseas Filipino workers whose service have been recently terminated or their employment contracts were not renewed amid the pandemic will be given priority in the hiring process.
To qualify, the applicant must have a Bachelor’s degree or college level in an allied medical course or criminology course.
Aspirants must also be skilled in data gathering and have assisted in research and documentation; able to interview COVID-19 cases and close contacts in order to gather data; possess the ability to advocate public health education messages; and have investigative capability.
“While our first preference is college graduates or college level of allied medical courses or criminology, we are also open to graduates or college level of any course. So, we urge them to apply and help the country defeat COVID-19,” he said. Malaya said applicants are required to submit an application letter, Personal Data Sheet, National Bureau of Investigation clearance, diploma or transcript of record, and drug test result to the nearest DILG provincial or city field office.
Contact tracers will earn a minimum of P18,784 per month in a contract of service status.
Their responsibilities include conducting interviews, profiling, and perform an initial public health risk assessment of COVID-19 cases and their identified close contacts; refer the close contacts to isolation facilities; conduct enhanced contact tracing in collaboration with other agencies and private sectors; conduct daily monitoring of close and general contacts for at least 14 days, and perform such other tasks in relation to the COVID response.
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