No House plenary sessions during ECQ vs deadly Delta variant

August 2, 2021 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 232 views

THE House of Representatives will not hold plenary sessions once Metro Manila is placed under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from August 6 to 20.

On the instructions of Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, House Secretary General Mark Llandro Mendoza issued Monday a memorandum suspending regular office work in the House starting August 5, Thursday.

From August 3 to 4, office hours will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with sessions starting from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m., the memo stated.

In issuing the memo, the House leadership cited the “heightened restrictions being imposed due to the surge of COVID-19 cases, and for the health and safety of our House members and employees.”

During the ECQ period, the following shall be strictly observed:

* Plenary session shall be suspended.

* All meetings shall be held via videoconferencing only.

* Only Secretariat personnel with extremely essential tasks shall be allowed to report physically to the office.

* All congressional offices shall be closed.

* Antigen testing shall be made available for those reporting physically for work.

* Should there be available vaccines, vaccination shall proceed and concerned individuals shall be notified accordingly.

* Offices of attached agencies are requested to adopt a lean workforce.

The House Legislative Security Bureau has been tasked to strictly implement the provisions contained in the memo.

Velasco said such measures are necessary as authorities try to contain a fast-spreading outbreak of the highly infectious Delta coronavirus variant in Metro Manila.

“The threat of this Delta variant is real, as evidenced by the surge in cases in certain regions around the world,” Velasco said.

“By suspending regular office work and other preventive measures, we hope to contribute to the government’s effort in preventing a surge of infections that could possibly put our health care system in serious jeopardy,” the House chief added.

Velasco assured the public that these measures will not prevent the chamber from performing its task of crafting laws that will help the country deal with the ongoing pandemic.

“Vital measures can still be tackled as committee hearings will still be held via remote,” he said.