House suspends plenary sessions during ECQ

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 02 2021 10:15 PM

MANILA - The House of Representatives is suspending plenary sessions upon the reimposition of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from August 6 to 20 in Metro Manila.

House Secretary General Mark Llandro Mendoza issued Monday a memorandum suspending regular office work in the House starting August 5 on the instructions of Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.

The memo stated that from August 3 to 4, office hours will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with sessions starting from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m.

The House leadership cited the "heightened restrictions being imposed due to the surge of COVID-19 cases, and for the health and safety of our House members and employees."

The following shall be strictly observed during the ECQ period:

  • Plenary session shall be suspended
  • All meetings shall be held via videoconferencing only
  • Only Secretariat personnel with extremely essential tasks shall be allowed to report physically to the office
  • All congressional offices shall be closed
  • Antigen testing shall be made available for those reporting physically for work
  • Should there be available vaccines, vaccination shall proceed and concerned individuals shall be notified accordingly
  • Offices of attached agencies are requested to adopt a lean workforce

The House Legislative Security Bureau has been tasked to strictly implement the memorandum.

Velasco said the measures are needed to curb the spread of the deadly COVID-19 Delta variant.

"By suspending regular office work and other preventive measures, we hope to contribute to the government’s effort in preventing a surge of infection that could possibly put our health care system in serious jeopardy," he said.

Velasco assured the public that the chamber will keep working despite the measures.

"Vital measures can still be tackled as committee hearings will still be held via remote," he said.