By Martin Sadongdong
The Department of National Defense (DND) announced Friday that it will maintain a skeletal civilian workforce for its frontline services and other critical office functions as work in the government sector gets paralyzed by the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will continue its operations, including its support to the ongoing measures to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.
“The AFP shall assist the Philippine National Police in implementing the community quarantine in certain areas, and will help ensure the availability of units and personnel, critical logistics and supplies, as well as emergency medical teams, among others,” Lorenzana stressed.
President Duterte, in a public address on Thursday night, raised the COVID-19 alert system to Code Red Sublevel 2 due to continuous and increased transmission of the disease in the country.
Among the measures to be implemented to prevent the spread of the disease under the Code Red Sublevel 2 include a community quarantine of Metro Manila from March 15 to April 14.
Meanwhile, Lorenzana encouraged other DND civilian bureaus to adopt their own workforce measures “to ensure the continuity of frontline and essential services, such as the processing of veterans claims and production of materiel.”
It includes the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, Office of Civil Defense, National Defense College of the Philippines and Government Arsenal.
The Defense Chief likewise directed the DND bureaus to implement the guidelines issued by the Interagency Task Force on Managing Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) including social distancing measures, enforcing proper workplace hygiene, and early medical treatment when symptoms manifest in the workforce.
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