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Gov’t offices ordered to operate on reduced capacity



Malacañang has ordered government offices to reduce the number of employees physically reporting to work in areas under general community quarantine due to “alarming increase” in Covid-19 cases.

Under Memorandum Circular No. 85, offices under the Executive branch, including government-owned or -controlled corporations, should only allow 30 percent to 50 percent operational capacity from 22 March until 4 April.

The memo exempted agencies providing health and emergency frontline services, border control, and other critical services.

Other branches of government, independent commissions and bodies, and local government units under general community quarantine areas are “strongly urged to adopt” the order issued by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.

Offices that will limit their “operational capacity” should come up with alternative work arrangements to ensure unhampered public service, Medialdea said in the memorandum.

The same memo circular stated that the heads of agencies should seek the Malacañang’s approval before placing their offices on lockdown, a rule that would take effect beyond April 4 unless lifted.

Currently, agency heads can order the temporary closure of their offices by themselves.

“The head of agency shall submit to the Office of the President a request for clearance to shut down their premises, including the duration of such measure, which must be supported by verified data,” the Palace said.

No closure shall be implemented until such clearance is obtained from the Office of the President, according to the memorandum.

Any violation of such order could lead to administrative sanctions for the agency head.

The memorandum came amid the recent daily surge in coronavirus infections in the country, which reported on Friday an all-time high 7,103 new Covid-19 cases.

The figure eclipsed the previous record-high single-day tally of 6,958 cases on August 10 last year and raised the nationwide tally to 648,066