Gov’t agencies can use budget for COVID home care kits, tests – CSC
MANILA, Philippines — Government agencies can use their budget to conduct COVID-19 testing and provide pandemic home care kits to their sick personnel, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) said on Monday following reports that state workers were among those getting infected in the recent rapid spread of the virus.
CSC Commissioner Aileen Lizada urged the heads of agencies to take care of their workers, saying the Department of Budget of Management has a circular allowing them to use their maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) for health protocols.
She stressed that they could use the MOOE, subject to availability of funds, to implement COVID-19-related programs at no cost to the employees.
“What does this mean? We could make home care COVID kits for our employees. Let’s take the funds from the MOOE,” she said at the televised Laging Handa briefing.
“I am reminding the heads of agencies, take care of government workers under your care, under your respective offices,” she added.
Lizada said giving the workers the tools to manage their illness at home would prevent congestion in health centers.
The workers would also have less stress and worry if they knew that their government agencies were also taking care of them.
Lizada said the agencies could also use the MOOE for COVID-19 testing.
“If you have teams, team A or team B, you could conduct testing, let’s say every two weeks, during the turnover for the next team,” she said.
She said this would be preventive and protective and would assure workers that all those in their bubble were safe.
“And we know that when we report for work, our workmates in the office are also safe and we will be able to serve better when our frame of mind is in that way,” she said.
Lizada urged agencies to use alternative work arrangements provided by the CSC to prevent infections among their staff.
“We need to serve the public continuously, but likewise hand in hand, we also have to protect our government employees,” she said.
COVID deaths up
Deaths attributed to COVID-19 already reached 75,285 during the first 10 months of 2021, almost triple the level in 2020 and ranking the virus second among the major causes of deaths in the country, according to data released on Monday by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
While COVID-19 “with virus identified” logged 51,514 deaths, another 23,771 had also been attributed to the coronavirus but “not identified.”
National Statistician Dennis Mapa explained that these “not identified” deaths were those not reported by the Department of Health (DOH) in its daily tally as these were not tested for the disease.
Identified and unidentified COVID-19 deaths as of end-October 2021 jumped 195 percent from 25,519 in the same period in 2020.All COVID-19 deaths accounted for 12.5 percent of the 604,329 registered deaths from January to October last year. These were exceeded only by those that were due to heart diseases, which reached 110,332 as of end-October 2021.
While COVID-19 deaths were on the rise, the PSA noted that “deaths due to some specified respiratory diseases decreased from the previous year.”
“Registered deaths attributed to pneumonia recorded a substantial decline, from 29,718 in January-October 2020 to 26,328 in the same period in 2021. Similarly, deaths due to respiratory tuberculosis decreased by 15.4 percent during the same period in 2021 (from 15,688 in 2020 to 13,265 in 2021),” the PSA noted.