Velasco assures work at House to continue despite 4-day lockdown
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives would continue operating, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco assured Thursday, even as he ordered its four-day lockdown due to the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila.
According to Velasco, House employees and lawmakers would have access to livestreaming platforms for the meetings and hearings that would be done during the lockdown period.
The four-day lockdown started today, March 18, and will end on Sunday, March 21. Within the legislative body, there are 33 employees who have tested positive for the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes respiratory ailment COVID-19.
“The House Members and the employees concerned will have access through the usual Zoom and livestreaming platforms during the scheduled committee meetings, public hearings, and other events in the House of Representatives during the four-day lockdown,” Velasco said in the announcement.
Velasco said the spike in COVID-19 cases and the House lockdown stress the need to strictly observe health protocols to avoid further infections.
“Now, more than ever, it is important to continue to maintain proper physical distancing, and practice good hygiene, as well as wear face mask and face shield,” Velasco said.
“These are small steps that will surely help us in a big way to protect ourselves and our loved ones from contracting the virus as we continue the battle against this deadly disease. So please don’t let your guard down,” he added.
The House of Representatives is one of several government institutions that have opted to place their premises on lockdown in order to curb the spread of the new coronavirus. Earlier, the Department of Social Welfare and Development central office, which is just across the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City where lawmakers hold offices and conduct sessions, also enforced a lockdown.
The Senate was also placed on lockdown until March 24 after 24 of its employees reportedly tested positive for the virus.
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