THE national government wants local government units especially in Metro Manila to consider cutting their jurisdictions’ curfew hours to accommodate shifting or staggered work schedules and further open up the economy, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles has said.
Nograles, concurrent chairman of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), in his Karlo Nograles Live program over Facebook on Saturday night, said businessmen had been appealing for shorter curfew hours to enable their employees – who work in shifts – to go to their workplaces or return home at different hours to avoid commuting and traffic rush hours.
Nograles said Metro mayors can cut short their curfew period like starting at 12 midnight or 1 a.m., adding that some malls or establishments may also need to consider additional work hours to enable shoppers to do their shopping at their convenient hours.
Some malls open between 9 am to 11 am, while some establishments open as early as 7 am or 8 am.
“Metro Manila mayors are right when they say that the curfew is there to ensure the protection of the people, but I think, and this is the appeal of the business community and the mayors are also okay with it, if we want to maintain a curfew, I think it shouldn’t be that early,” Nograles said.
Most cities and municipalities observe a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew but some work shift hours are from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. and from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Metro Manila, still under the general community quarantine (GCQ) category until October 31, observes the 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew period.
Nograles, in the same program, said the IATF had approved in principle the outbound travel of Filipinos planning to visit their foreign partners abroad.
He said the task force is just finalizing the details like the guidelines on where coronavirus disease testing can be done, if securing a certification for the complete test is enough, and coordinating with airports and other basic issues.
He said coordination with other concerned agencies like the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI), as well as the countries where Filipinos are planning to go to determine their requirements and other protocols are also being done.
Nograles likewise appealed to LGUs to consider purchasing their palay and rice requirements, especially those are distributed for relief programs and aid to constituents, directly from farmers to help them augment their income.
Nograles said at present the national government agencies like the Department of Health (DOH) and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) are already doing this under the Enhanced Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (EPAHP) program, which LGUs may want to consider.
Under EPAHP, rice and other produce requirements of agencies procured directly from farmers. DOH uses the food items it purchases in feeding patients in government hospitals, while the BJMP uses the food supplies to feed detainees.
“This is what we are doing now under EPAHP, in feeding programs and the BJMP: we buy direct from farmers. Farmers are shortchanged because of middlemen because there are lots of issues there. Instead, we cut out the middlemen and buy from farmers, farmers’ groups accredited by government agencies,” Nograles said.
He said the Department of Agriculture (DA) has been proactively addressing the plight of farmers by directing the National Food Authority to procure palay from farmers at good prices.
NEW NAPOLCOM PROCEDURES
The National Police Commission has allowed applications for death, total disability and scholarship benefits through electronic mail or email amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The NAPOLCOM is cognizant of the limitations on the mobility of our clientele during the existence of the community quarantine,” said NAPOLCOM vice chairman and executive officer Rogelio Casurao.
“As such, the commission has to adapt to the new normal by using technology at our disposal to reconfigure our mode of service delivery to reduce the risk in face-to-face transactions while still maintaining adequate service levels,” he added.
Casurao said supporting documents may also be submitted through email, except receipts, the original copy of which must still be presented.
In case there is a question on the authenticity of the documents during the evaluation process, NAPOLCOM said the applicants would have to submit the original copy of the document in question.
It said it was going to create a dedicated email address or addresses where the applicants can submit their applications.
NAPOLCOM will also adopt video conferencing in proceedings that require the attendance of the applicants.
In case physical appearance cannot be avoided, minimum standards prescribed by the Department of Health will have to be observed. – With Victor Reyes