MANILA, Philippines — There are at least 29 COVID-19 active cases among members and staff of the House of Representatives as of Tuesday, March 16, Secretary General Mark Llandro Mendoza disclosed.
Llandro said the count only includes those who tested positive for COVID-19 in the testing being conducted in the House and does not those who were tested outside Batasan Pambansa.
Despite this, Llandro said they do not see any need to put Batasan Pambansa under lockdown.
“No need, ni-reduce na natin ‘yung workforce sa House. We’re operating at 30 percent already as of today. At the same time, nag-order din si Speaker [Lord Allan Velasco] ng mas mahigpit na implementation ng safety protocol sa House,” Llandro said.
“No need for a lockdown kasi controlled naman natin,” he added.
Currently, committee hearings are being conducted online or through a hybrid set-up where some members are physically present in Batasan while others are attending through videoconferencing.
Meanwhile, sessions are being conducted under a hybrid set-up where a small number of members are physically present in the plenary hall while the remaining House members attend and vote through videoconferencing.
Llandro said House members have agreed to continue with this set-up until Congress’ scheduled Holy Week break.
Nonetheless, Llandro said Velasco has instructed that work hours in the lower chamber—including session—should not go beyond 6 p.m.
Meanwhile, the Senate was placed under “complete lockdown” on Tuesday, March 16, after an employee, who reported for work on Monday morning, tested positive for COVID-19.
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