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Trial courts under Alert Levels 1, 2 on skeleton workforce from July 5 to 8

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Trial courts under Alert Levels 1, 2 on skeleton workforce from July 5 to 8
This photo release shows the set up for the oral arguments on the anti-terrorism law petitions in February 2021, conducted following safety protocols amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Supreme Court Public Information Office / released

MANILA, Philippines — Trial courts in areas under Alert Level 1 and 2 are required to maintain a workforce of at least 50% to 70% from July 5 to July 8, the Supreme Court announced Tuesday.

In a circular dated July 4, the Office of the Court Administrator said this directive is due to the continued increase in COVID-19 cases and to address any possible surge or rise therein.

“The skeleton workforce that a branch or judicial office will maintain for the above period will be subject to the discretion or determination of the concerned executive judge, presiding judge, and/or acting or assisting judge,” the circular read.

The Philippines is seeing a renewed increase in COVID-19 cases, which is driven by the presence of more transmissible variants, increased mobility, and waning COVID-19 vaccine immunity.

The Department of Health recorded 7,398 additional cases, or an average of 1,057 infections a day, from June 27 to July 3. The figure was 60% higher than the cases logged from June 20 to 26.

OCA also said that judges are allowed for the same period to conduct fully-remote videoconferencing hearings, regardless of their location, with notice to the Office of the Court Administrator.

“Unless otherwise subsequently directed, the required workforce and in-person or face-to-face hearings as provided for in OCA Circular No. 159-2022 will again be observed and complied with on 11 July 2022 until further orders of the court,” it said. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

COVID-19 PANDEMIC

SUPREME COURT

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