Business as usual – almost – in Senate

SENATE President Vicente Sotto III yesterday said work will continue at the Senate regardless of President Duterte’s decision to put Metro Manila under community quarantine.

Sotto said it will be business as usual at the Senate, but work will be done by skeletal staff who will need to strictly adhere to precautionary measures set in place to ensure that the chamber stay COVID-free.

“I wish to assure our people that the Senate will continue to function and there will be no disruption in our mandate as public officials,” Sotto said.

The Senate leader required heads of departments to ensure continued operations of their respective offices and ordered that all pending work be completed without delay.

Sotto gave his colleagues a freehand in enforcing safety measures in their offices, but reminded them that committee hearings are recommended suspended until Metro Manila restrictions are lifted.

Meanwhile, Senator Ping Lacson said the Metro Manila “lockdown” or “community quarantine,” or whatever the authorities may call it, is one decisive action taken by the government that needs the support of the people, no matter the sacrifices or inconvenience it brings.

But he insisted that government must lose no time in coming up with practical but effective ways of implementing the quarantine to serve its real purpose of helping the country survive the unprecedented crisis it is facing.

For its part, the Department of Health’s Inter-Agency Task Force (DOH-IATF) should issue clear, simple and concise guidelines on dealing with COVID-19 to prevent confusion among the public, as so many doctors and medical experts have been expressing different opinions on it, particularly on its transmission.

“One example involves former DOH Sec. and now Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin being quoted as saying COVID-19 is infectious only when the patient is symptomatic, and that quarantine should be mandatory only for those who had direct contact with positive patient, on the one hand; and on the other, Chinese researchers reportedly confirmed a case of asymptomatic transmission where a woman from Wuhan passed it to five kin but never got physically sick herself,” he said.

Lacson added that self-quarantine is not for oneself but for the sake of other people as he further said that insisting to work or move around in spite of full knowledge of interaction with a possible COVID-19 carrier is not a laudable act and is in fact damnable.

“Citizens must also do their part by practicing self-discipline and self-control against thoughtless acts such as hoarding and profiteering at the expense of fellow Filipinos,” he said.

“This is not the time to argue and fight. Instead, we should all unite to get over this plague,” Lacson said.