MANILA - Senate employees “will no longer go to work” in their respective offices while Metro Manila is under an “enhanced community quarantine,” Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Monday.
Sotto confirmed the suspension of work in the Senate headquarters in Pasay City shortly after President Rodrigo Duterte placed the capital region and the rest of Luzon under enhanced community quarantine to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“We follow. Senate employees will no longer go to work in the meantime... Office of the sergeant-at-arms and security guards will remain in a skeletal number only,” Sotto said in a text message.
He said the Senate will unlikely hold emergency sessions, when asked if the chamber is preparing to hold online sessions in case the executive branch requests for a supplemental budget.
“Executive department has more than enough... There are so many budgets available [stet],” he said.
Other policies that may be needed during the month-long quarantine may either be legislated by local councils or implemented by executive agencies, Sotto said.
“Late filing of taxes can be waived. Curfew can be imposed by local government units,” he said.
Several areas have declared a state of calamity to tap additional funds for the procurement of supplies during the quarantine period.
The Philippines is under a state of public health emergency over the disease that has infected 140 people in the country, of whom 12 have died.
The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 as a pandemic, with more than 150,000 people infected and over 5,000 deaths.