If Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benhur Abalos would have his way, he would have Filipinos work from home for the next two weeks as a way to halt the spread of the highly-contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
"This is my personal opinion, we should encourage people now to work from home, at least for these next two weeks," Abalos said during a virtual press briefing Thursday, July 29.
Abalos noted during the presser that as per health experts' projections, new daily cases of COVID-19 in the National Capital Region (NCR) alone could hit 11,000 by the end of September. This would have a crippling effect on the country's healthcare system.
"For example sa government, ini-encourage na kung pwede gawin yung paperwork sa bahay, doon na muna (For example, if government workers can accomplish their paperwork at home, then just do it there)," he said.
The easing of quarantine restrictions during the previous weeks have reportedly put an end to telecommuting or working from home among some Filipino employees.
"This is just my own personal appeal, hindi po sa mayors ito. Na-survive naman natin ito. Nakita naman natin yung mga bagay-bagay na pwedeng gawin sa bahay, you could be productive. Nakaiwas ka pa sa sakit, na-proteksyunan mo pamilya mo (this is not from the mayors. We survived this before. We can still do a lot of activities at home, you could be productive. Not only did you avoid sickness, but you also protected your family)," Abalos said, referring to the time last year when there was still no vaccine against COVID-19 and telecommuting was more commonplace.
"Siguro pwedeng i-discuss muna ito ng mga businessmen (Maybe the businessmen can discuss this first) on their own to also protect the population. I'm sure they could come up with good working relations with their employees kung saan for the meantime, two weeks lang naman po ito (this will only be for two weeks)," he said.
"What is important at this time is pagtutulungan ng bawat isa (What is important at this time is to help each other)," stressed the MMDA chief.
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III said earlier this month that employers may still have their employees work from home if they deem it necessary.
Bello described working from home as a special work arrangement.