HOUSE Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez on Tuesday lauded law enforcement frontliners for their continued commitment to carry their mandate of protecting the Filipino people during the implementation of the extended enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
Romualdez made his acknowledgement during Tuesday’s Defeat COVID-19 Committee (DCC) technical working group (TWG) meeting on the Peace and Order Cluster that he presided in to help President Rodrigo Duterte formulate strategies aimed at eliminating the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Before we begin, let me extend our appreciation to the men and women in uniform who are frontliners in the maintenance of peace and order. Saludo po kami sa serbisyong ipinapakita ninyo. Dahil sa pagbabantay ninyo, mahimbing po ang tulog ng aming pamilya. Alam namin na sa bawat oras, nakabantay kayo para sa aming kaligtasan,” stressed Romualdez, DCC co-chairperson with Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, as he expressed gratitude to members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
“Mabuti po at naririyan ang ating mga pulis para magpatupad ng batas. Natutuwa tayo at kaagapay nila ang ating mga sundalo sa panahong ito. Alam natin na hindi sila nagpapabaya sa kanilang tungkulin,” Romualdez, chairman of the powerful House committee on rules, pointed out.
During the meeting, DCC’s Peace and Order Cluster, co-chairpersons and Representatives Narciso “Bong” Bravo, Jr. of Masbate, chairman of the House committee on public order and safety; Raul “Boboy” Tupas of Iloilo, chairman of the House committee on national defense and security; and Jesus “Bong” Suntay of Quezon City, chairman of the House committee on human rights presented their recommendations before the Romualdez panel.
Interior and Local Government Sec. Eduardo Año, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa, PNP Deputy Chief for Operations Gen. Lorenzo Eleazar, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and Chief Implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) COVID-19 Carlito G. Galvez, and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) Director Allan Iral also joined the meeting and presented their programs and accomplishments to further strengthen government’s resolve to fight the deadly virus.
“The measures we have been discussing are designed to preserve public order and safety,” said Romualdez. “Mga kaibigan, ang pamahalaan po ay patuloy na maglilingkod upang ipatupad nang maayos at mapayapa ang enhanced community quarantine at general community quarantine sa malaking parte ng ating bansa. Subalit kailangan po natin ng pakikipagtulungan ng ating mga kababayan.”
In a related development, Quezon City Rep. Precious Castelo proposed the grant of a tax holiday to tens of thousands of health workers helping in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Her proposal is contained in a bill she filed last Tuesday with the House of Representatives. She called the measure as the Health Workers’ Tax Holiday Act of 2020.
In filing the bill, Castelo said Congress, recognizing the danger health workers are facing in the anti-Covid-19 war, has given them a “special risk allowance” under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Law the legislature passed last March 23.
“Understandably so, since they are highly vulnerable to infection, being directly exposed to the virus as frontline workers. These heroes are willingly putting themselves in harm’s way to safeguard public health. Thus, it is but right and just to reward them if only to show the nation’s gratitude and appreciation for their service,” she said.
She noted that worldwide, the coronavirus has infected more than three million individuals, of whom over 200,000 have died.