Gov't should remain fully operational despite rise in infections

By Azer Parrocha

January 11, 2022, 12:00 am

<p>President Rodrigo Roa Duterte <em>(File photo)</em></p>

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (File photo)

MANILA – Despite soaring Covid-19 infections among government workers, the national government should remain fully operational to ensure the effective delivery of public service, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday.

Duterte made the remark amid an uptick in Covid-19 cases among government personnel, including healthcare workers in public hospitals and members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG).

“Alam mo, kung bawalan tayo tapos lahat sa gobyerno kasi opisina ‘yan. Opisina por opisina por opisina. So kung may asymptomatic diyan talagang mahahawa. Ngayon if bawalan mo lahat magtrabaho (You know, if we are prohibited from working it would affect other offices. If there is an asymptomatic worker then others will really be infected. Now, if you prohibit us from working) then the machinery of government will stop to grind,” he said in a prerecorded public address.

He did not elaborate which government agencies he was referring to, but it seemed like he was also referring to his experience in his own office.

As the country’s top official, Duterte said he needed to continue holding regular public address to “communicate to the people what government is doing.”

He said part of being a civil servant was the risk of contracting Covid-19.

“Now, if ma-compromise tayo (if we are compromised) that’s part of the game. ‘Yan ang trabaho namin. Ngayon, kung magka Covid kami (If we get Covid), then so be it. Kasali sa trabaho ‘yan e. Now, kung mamatay ako (It’s part of our job. Now if I die) then so be it,” he added.

On Saturday, Malacañang has issued a memorandum circular (MC) enumerating requirements and procedures for reducing the on-site workforce in government offices below the minimum that was set under the Alert Level System (ALS).

Under Alert Level 4, government agencies will remain fully operational with at least 20 percent on-site capacity for workers; at least 30 percent on-site capacity for Alert Level 3; and at least 50 percent on-site capacity for Alert Level 2.

On January 6, PSG commander Col. Randolph Cabangbang bared that a total of 15 personnel of the PSG tested positive for Covid-19.

He, however, assured that the personnel “are not in any way” detailed to the President.

Cabangbang also assured that the rest of the PSG personnel remain fit and able to protect the President.

The Philippine General Hospital (PGH) on Saturday said it is now operating in a “crisis mode” as nearly 40 percent of its Covid-19 healthcare workers are either infected with Covid-19 or are now in quarantine after being exposed to the virus.

PGH spokesperson, Dr. Jonas Del Rosario, said healthcare workers who were quarantined for testing positive for Covid-19 shall report back to work as long as they are asymptomatic.

The PGH currently has around 2,000 healthcare workers and ancillary staff members involved in Covid-19 operations.

Of this figure, 310 of them tested positive for Covid-19 during the past week. (PNA)