Employed senior citizens who are considered as part of essential workforce will now be allowed to go out and work, following the recommendations of the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
In a press briefing in Malacañang on April 30, Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr. presented the Omnibus Guidelines for the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines that will be implemented in areas that will be placed under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and the general community quarantine (GCQ).
Included in the omnibus guidelines is a provision that allows senior citizens who form part of the essential workforce of industries or offices that are allowed to operate, to go out and work, even in areas under the ECQ, like in the National Capital Region (NCR).
“Sa mga lolo, lola hindi naman po kayo completely kulong… Pwede lang po kayong lumabas para kumuha ng essential goods and services o para magtrabaho sa mga pinapayagang mga industriya,” said the Palace Spokesman.
The same holds true for qualified senior citizens in GCQ areas. “Hindi po kayo pinipigilan, basta allowed na yung inyong trabaho pupwede po kayong magtrabaho, mga seniors,” Secretary Roque stressed.
Meanwhile, according to the omnibus guidelines, under ECQ, “mass gatherings, defined as a planned or spontaneous event where the number of people attending the event exceeds ten (10) persons, shall be prohibited. It includes movie screenings, concerts, sporting events, and other entertainment activities, community assemblies, and non-essential work gatherings.”
Secretary Roque also disclosed that humanitarian activities are allowed as long as individuals or groups doing relief operations are authorized by appropriate government agency or local government unit. These include humanitarian assistance personnel from civil society organizations, non-government organizations, and United Nations-Humanitarian Country Teams, including individuals doing relief operations to augment the government’s response against COVID-19 and other disasters or calamities that may occur.
In the same press briefing, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rolando Bautista gave updates to the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP). Secretary Bautista reported that as of April 29, 98.8 percent of the allotted budget for SAP implementation has already been distributed to local government units (LGUs), which is PhP80.8 billion for 1,515 LGUs. More than 5.7 million low income non-Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries have benefitted from the SAP amounting to PhP33.3 billion.
More than PhP16 billion have already been distributed to 3.7 million 4Ps cash card beneficiaries and PhP36.4 million for 7,874 4Ps beneficiaries without cash cards. Meanwhile, more than PhP323.3 million have been given to 40,418 TNVS and PUV drivers in NCR. In total, more than PhP50 billion has been given to more than 9 million beneficiaries of SAP for the first tranche.
On the request of some mayors to extend the deadline for the payout of SAP to beneficiaries, Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said that they will allow extension for NCR and other areas with high density population of urban families. A 7-day extension will be given to LGUs particularly in NCR, the provinces of Cavite, Rizal, Laguna, Bulacan, Cebu City, and Davao City. Other LGUs with problems in SAP distribution will be given a 4-day extension.
Secretary Año said that the extension was given as acknowledgment to LGUs who are really working hard to implement the SAP in their localities but are really having a hard time to do so because it is physically challenging. However, the Interior Secretary reminded LGUs to liquidate immediately so that the DSWD can prepare for the second tranche of the SAP. ### OPS-PCOO