SC further reduces workforce amid MECQ in Metro Manila, rise in COVID-19 cases

SC further reduces workforce amid MECQ in Metro Manila, rise in COVID-19 cases
This file photo shows the Supreme Court.
Philstar.com / Erwin Cagadas

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court is further reducing its workforce reporting physically to the office during the modified enhanced community quarantine enforced in Metro Manila to 15% amid a rise in COVID-19 cases.

“In view of the alarming number of recent COVID-19 infections and the extension of the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine status of Metro Manila from September 1 to 7, there is a need to reduce to the barest minimum the number of employees reporting to the Supreme Court,” Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo said in his memorandum.

The number of workforce to report physically at the SC is “just enough to keep the vital functions of the different offices and services, except the offices of the Chief Justice and Associate Justices, operational,” he added.

Gesmundo said only essential staff of up to 15% of the office’s total number of personnel shall be allowed to physically report to the offices. Their official time period will be from 9:00 a.m to 3:00 p.m.

The SC during the previous MECQ status in Metro Manila in late August was operating with 25% of total staff reporting to their offices.

Gesmundo, however, said that the Medical and Dental Services, Security Division and Maintenance Division may be allowed to have a greater number of staff coming to the offices physically.

The chief justice stressed that those who will report physically to the offices shall do so on a rotation basis.

“Their individual health condition will be thoroughly checked upon entering the Court’s premises. They must not have even the slightest symptoms. They shall be monitored from time to time to ensure that they have no symptoms of COVID-19 infection,” Gesmundo added.

The remaining staff of offices will render duties from their home and are advised to refrain from going out except for necessities.

All other courts in the National Capital Judicial Region and other areas under MECQ meanwhile shall remain physically closed until September 7, but will continue to operate online and conduct videoconferencing trials.

Metro Manila and the provinces of Laguna and Bataan will be under MECQ until September 7, as the country continues to grapple with fast-rising cases of COVID-19 infections and the threat of the more contagious Delta variant.

Health authorities on Tuesday logged 13,827 new infections, pushing the national caseload to 1,989,857. Of these, 148,594 are deemed as active cases. — Kristine Joy Patag

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