Marcos laments ‘double standard’ in allowing gov’t workers to travel

Published February 6, 2021, 3:18 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senator Imee Marcos on Saturday assailed the supposed “double standard” in the government’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) control measures after it exempted public officials and employees from testing and quarantine protocols when travelling for officials business.

Senator Imee R. Marcos (Senate of the Philippines / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Marcos described as a “special treatment” of government employees the Interagency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases’ (IATF) decision to let government workers skip the mandatory testing and quarantine.

She said the policy will make it more difficult for local government units (LGUs) to control the spread of novel coronavirus and discourage the cooperation of the public.

“This is outrageous and dangerous. Why should anyone, least of all government employees who should be exemplars, be exempted from quarantine and health protocols?” she said in a statement on February 6.

“It defies logic, to say the least. Exempting government officials and employees from testing and quarantines ‘in the line of duty’ won’t sit well with ordinary people,” she added.

Marcos said the decision may have been a result of the exhaustion of the IATF’s members.

“Kailangan magpahinga rin ang IATF, matulog at magrelax. Nakaka- burnout trabaho niyo (The IATF also needs to take time off to get enough sleep and relax. Your work makes you prone to a burnout),” she said.

She asked the IATF to comply with its own “Test, Trace and Treat” campaign especially the government’s vaccination program has yet to implemented on a large scale due to the lack of global vaccine supply.

LGUs, she said, “know best the situation on the ground”. “The testing and quarantine protocols that each LGU has put in place should be respected,” she said.

The IATF Resolution No 98-A states that “government officials/personnel on official business shall be allowed unimpeded travel to their place of destination and shall not be required to undergo mandatory testing and/or quarantine protocols of the local government units of destination.”

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque explained that the government employees should present valid IDs and the travel authority or order issued by their agency. They should also undergo symptom checks in their destination and comply with minimum health standards.