MANILA - Is the court nearest you physically open?
The Supreme Court on Tuesday launched an online tracker to inform the public about the quarantine status of the trial courts, providing for the first time a centralized, go-to portal, that is accessible anytime.
Using Google Calendar, the high court plotted which courts are currently on quarantine and until when.
"This will show which courts are 'physically closed' and the duration of the lockdown," SC spokesperson Brian Keith Hosaka told reporters in a message.
For example, 12 courts are physically closed on Tuesday, July 14. These are:
- Carcar City, RTC Branch 77 (July 2-16, 2020)
- Naga, Cebu Hall of Justice Building (July 6-19, 2020)
- Taguig City, RTC Branch 271 (July 6-19, 2020)
- Toledo City Palace (Hall) of Justice (July 6-19, 2020)
- Pasay City, RTC Branch 112 (July 7-20, 2020)
- Pasay City, MeTC Branch 46 (July 9-21, 2020)
- Quezon City Hall of Justice Main and Annex (July 11-17, 2020)
- Manila City, RTC Branch 31 (July 13-26, 2020)
- Manila City, MeTC Branch 30 (July 13-24, 2020)
- Manila City, OCC at Parkview Plaza (July 13-22, 2020)
- Muntinlupa City, RTC Branch 205 (July 13-15, 2020)
- Muntinlupa City, Hall of Justice and 3rd floor Resiliency Building (July 13-14, 2020)
The entries are supported by copies of the memoranda issued by the respective courts.
The online portal only covers lower courts -- regional, metropolitan and municipal courts.
The Supreme Court had previously announced closure of courts through its Twitter page and press releases to the media.
The latest announcements came from the executive judges of Quezon City, Manila, Muntinlupa and Pasay courts.
The Office of the Court Administrator recently amended its guidelines on closing courts due to the coronavirus crisis.
In a circular issued on July 1, Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez said "courts or halls of justices shall not be closed or locked down on the basis solely of the results of the rapid antibody test."
He cited updated guidelines from the Department of Health (DOH), which requires that rapid antibody-based test kits should not be used as standalone tests but should be coupled with reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test or more popularly known as swab test.
"Once the confirmatory RT-PCR (swab) test yields a positive result, the concerned court which was exposed to the confirmed COVID-19 case shall be closed for 14 days and shall be immediately disinfected," he said.
All physically closed courts may still be reached through their hotlines and emails, the Supreme Court Public Information Office clarified.