Palace orders up to 50% workforce in gov’t offices in GCQ areas

Palace orders up to 50% workforce in gov’t offices in GCQ areas

MANILA – Malacañang on Friday directed all offices under the executive branch in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) to require just 50 percent of their workforce to physically report for work to stop the further transmission of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the country.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, by authority of President Rodrigo Duterte, signed Memorandum Circular (MC) 85, directing all government agencies and instrumentalities of the executive branch located in GCQ zones to adopt a skeleton workforce up to a maximum of 50 percent operational capacity.

All government offices, including government-owned or -controlled corporations, are required to observe a minimum of 30 percent up to a maximum of 50 percent operational capacity from March 22 to April 4.

“There is a need to lay down the work arrangements that should be observed In government offices during these critical times to address the current surge in Covid-19 cases while ensuring the continuous delivery of public services,” MC 85 read.

The memorandum was issued following the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to reduce the on-site capacity in government offices in GCQ zones to address the current surge in Covid-19 cases.

Government agencies providing health and emergency front-line services, border control, and other critical services may operate at a higher operational capacity, according to MC 85.

It also proposes alternative work arrangements for government workers, so long as they ensure that the delivery of their respective services is not hampered or impaired.

In case a government agency or instrumentality needs to close its premises due to the overwhelming number of Covid-19 cases among its workforce, the head of the agency is mandated to submit to the Office of the President a request for clearance, indicating the duration of the proposed temporary shutdown supported by verified data.

“No closure shall be implemented until such clearance is obtained from the Office of the President,” the MC said. “Any violation of this directive, including misrepresentation as to the data in support of the request for clearance, shall subject the head of agency to administrative sanctions.”

The requirements for the temporary closure of premises apply also to government offices located in areas under modified GCQ (MGCQ).

The guidelines for the temporary shutdown will take effect beyond April 4, based on MC 85.

“The offices of the legislative and judicial branches of government, independent constitutional commissions, and bodies, and local government units in areas under GCQ, are strongly urged to adopt the provisions of this Circular,” the memorandum circular, which takes effect immediately, said.

On Friday, the Philippines saw its highest single-day number of new Covid-19 cases at 7,103.

This brings the total number of cases in the country to 648,066. (PNA)

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