Reduced number of on-site court workers in 14 areas also placed under COVID-19 Alert Level 3

Published January 7, 2022, 5:40 PM

by Rey Panaligan 

Trial Court

Trial courts in 14 more places in the country will have to reduce their personnel reporting physically for work starting Monday, Jan. 10, after these areas were also placed under COVID-19 Alert Level 3 until Jan. 15.

These courts are those in Baguio City in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR); Dagupan City in Region 1; City of Santiago and Cagayan in Region 2; Angeles City, Bataan, Olongapo City, Pampanga and Zambales in Region 3; Batangas and Lucena City in Region 4-A; Naga City in Region 5; Iloilo City in Region 6; and Lapu-lapu City in Region 7.

In a memorandum issued by Deputy Court Administrator Raul Bautista Villanueva with the approval of Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo, the trial courts in these 14 areas should maintain a skeleton force of at least 30 per cent to a most 50 percent of all personnel working on-site.

Saturday duty is suspended until Jan. 15.

Last Thursday, Jan. 6, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) approved the recommendation of its sub-technical working group on data analytics to escalate the 14 areas to Alert Level 3.

Earlier placed under Alert Level 3 are the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna.

In NCR, work in trial courts were suspended until Friday, Jan. 7, due to rising incidents of COVID infections among personnel.

The SC had also suspended work until Saturday, Jan. 8. Starting Jan. 10, SC officials and employees will have work on three shifts weekly as a move to thwart COVID infections among personnel.

Work at the Court of Appeals in Manila had been suspended until Friday, Jan. 7.

Just like his memorandum to trial courts in areas first placed under Alert Level 3, Villanueva reminded court officials and employees to observe the safety and health protocols mandated under various resolutions issued by IATF.

“All other directives, such as the conduct of in-court hearings, the filing or service of pleadings, motions, and other court submissions through allowable modes, or the non-suspension of the period to file or serve the same, and the continued operation of night courts… including the safety and health protocols… shall be strictly observed,” Villanueva’s memorandum also stated.