By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senator Joel Villanueva welcomed on Friday the issuance of a joint circular assuring job order (JO) and contract of service (COS) workers in government that they would still be receiving their salaries despite the month-long enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) implemented in Luzon and other parts of the country.
Villanueva, chair of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, said in a statement: “Higit sa 660,000 na mga JO at COS na manggagawa po ang matutulungan natin sa hakbang na ito. Mapapanatag ang kalooban ng ating mga kasamahan na JO at COS dahil makakaya nilang tustusan ang pangangailangan ng kani-kanilang mga pamilya habang umiiral ang quarantine dito sa ating bayan.”
(Over 660,000 JO and COS workers will benefit from this move. They will feel relieved that they will be able to sustain the needs of their families during the quarantine),
He said the move will also help the government encourage workers to stay in their homes.
The senator earlier appealed to the government to continue paying their ‘no work, no pay’ employees despite the suspension of work and the ECQ implementation.
“This circular provides relief for our JO and COS workers and eases their concerns of providing for their families. This gesture truly is a step in the right direction as we need the entire government to move in unison to manage the impact of COVID-19 to our country,” Villanueva said.
The Commmission on Audit (COA) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released on Friday Joint Circular No. 1 that covers all JO and COS workers engaged by “Departments, Bureaus, Offices, and Agencies of the National Government, including Constitutional Offices, [State Universities and Colleges], [Government-Owned and -Controlled Corporations], [Local Water Districts], for the duration of the State of Calamity and Community Quarantine due to COVID-19.”
Local government units are also encouraged to adopt the circular.
Citing data from the Civil Service Commission, Villanueva said over 660,000 workers of the 2.4 million workers in government fall under the JO and COS categories.
Some 360,000 government contractual workers are in Luzon, which was placed under an ECQ until mid-April due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier, Villanueva thanked the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for coming up with programs to assist affected workers in the private sector, as well as those in the informal sector.
He also cited the Bureau of Internal Revenue for extending the deadline for filing income tax returns and other liabilities in consideration of the Luzon-wide ECQ.