‘New normal’: House resumes session with strict health protocols
MANILA, Philippines — After nearly two months, the House of Representatives resumed its session Monday afternoon, but with stringent health protocols in place.
Based on the guidelines on operations amid the coronavirus crisis released by the House of Representatives, only 25 members of the House, at most, are allowed to be physically present at the session hall.
The rest shall attend the session through video conferencing.
As earlier announced by Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, procedures during the historic March 23 special session, wherein most of the members were present through video conferencing as part of measures to prevent the spread of the virus, will be used during the plenary session.
Only 25 House members will be allowed inside the plenary hall as House resumes session amid the coronavirus crisis. The rest of the congressmen will be present through video conferencing. This will be the House's first session since its Lenten break. @inquirerdotnet pic.twitter.com/VhlmWbeP1w
— Neil Arwin Mercado (@NAMercadoINQ) May 4, 2020
To recall, during the special session wherein House approved Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, congressmen were allowed to deliver their speeches, debate about the measure, and vote through video conferencing.
The guidelines likewise stated that committee hearings, technical working group meetings, administrative meetings, political caucuses, and press conferences shall be conducted through videoconferencing.
Physical meetings, or a combination of physical and online meetings, may be allowed by the House Secretary General.
The number of members physically present, however, shall be limited depending on the prescribed occupancy limit of the venue used.
Physical distancing shall be observed during sessions and meetings, the guidelines noted.
Those who are physically present will be subjected to health screening and disinfection before they are allowed to enter the building.
This includes checking of body temperature, mandatory usage of face masks as well as alcohol and sanitizers, and disinfection of footwear, among others.
As of May 3, there are 9,223 COVID-19 cases in the country, with the death toll at 607 and recoveries at 1,214.
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