DOST hikes personnel in Q2 to address Covid-19

By Ma. Cristina Arayata

July 31, 2020, 6:26 pm

MANILA -- In response to President Rodrigo Duterte's order to hire more personnel as the country deals with the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) had an additional 2,088 personnel in the second quarter of 2020.
Earlier in April, President Duterte instructed the DOST and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to put additional manpower and employ as many as they can, so that work can be done day and night.

Data sent to the Philippine News Agency on Thursday night bared that as of April, the DOST had 1,714 personnel under four categories: health, livelihood, law and order, and "future". This figure rose to 3,802 by June 30.

"In response to the outbreak and to President Duterte's directive, the DOST continues to increase the human resources working on Covid-19 related activities," Secretary Fortunato dela Peña told the PNA in a message.

From 1,378 workers in the health category as of April, the total rose to 2,050 by June. Similarly, from 189 workers in the livelihood category, it increased to 479 by the second quarter.

There were 110 workers in the law and order category during the first quarter. The figure slightly increased to 149 by June. Data also showed only 37 workers in the "future" category as of April, but this has increased to 1,124 by June.

Dela Peña said among those included in the "future" category are people involved in the DOST's programs, projects, activities on education, such as the MD PhD Scholarship Program, as well as the DOST Philippine Science High School Learning Guides Development.

"Their role is to check how we can make use of remote learning in the absence of face-to-face classes," he said.

Meanwhile, with regard to President Duterte's instruction to work 24/7, dela Peña said this has been applied in monitoring the global developments related to Covid-19, as well as to the work of project personnel directly involved in clinical trials.

He added that the 24/7 work has also been applied to the PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration) and Phivolcs (Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology) personnel monitoring the weather, volcanic and seismic activities.

Dela Peña said the DOST will continue to increase its human resources in the last two quarters of 2020, to deliver necessary interventions to the public via the agency's programs and projects for Covid-19. (PNA