File photo of President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday signed an administrative order (AO) granting a Covid-19 hazard pay to government personnel who physically report for work in areas under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and modified ECQ (MECQ).

AO 43 amends AO 26 granting a Covid-19 hazard pay at the rate of PHP500 per day to government workers who physically report for work.

“National government agencies (NGAs) including state universities and colleges (SUCs) and government-owned or –controlled corporations (GOCCs) are authorized to grant Covid-19 Hazard Pay to personnel who physically report for work during the implementation of an enhanced community quarantine and modified enhanced community quarantine in their respective work stations, in an amount not exceeding PHP500 per day per person,” the AO read.

Under the AO, the heads of government agencies may grant the Covid-19 hazard pay to their personnel without the need for further approval of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), provided the personnel have been authorized to physically report for work at their respective offices or work stations on the prescribed official working hours by the head of agency or office during the period of implementation of ECQ and MECQ measures in the area of such office or work station.

For GOCCs, the funds needed for the grant of Covid-19 hazard pay shall be charged against their respective approved corporate operating budgets (COBs) for the current fiscal year.

Should a GOCC have insufficient funds to fully cover the Covid-19 hazard pay at PHP500 per day per person, a lower but uniform rate may be granted for all qualified personnel.

For local government units (LGUs), including those in the barangays, who physically report for work shall be determined by their respective Sanggunians (councils) depending on the LGU’s financial capability, at rates not exceeding PHP500 per day per person.

Except for the foregoing amendments, all other provisions of AO No. 26 shall remain unchanged.

The AO takes effect immediately upon its publication in the Official Gazette or a newspaper of general circulation.

On Tuesday, Duterte also signed AO 42 allowing the continued grant of a PHP5,000 per month Covid-19 special risk allowance to private and public healthcare workers with direct exposure to Covid-19 patients.

Duterte signed the AO “to recognize the heroic and invaluable contribution of our health workers throughout the country, who bravely and unselfishly risk their lives and health by being at the forefront of national efforts to respond to the pandemic.”

Under AO 42, the grant of the Covid-19 SRA shall be pro-rated based on the number of days that the frontline health workers physically report for work in a month, as certified by the head of the hospital, laboratory, or medical and quarantine facility, or his/her authorized representatives, reckoned from Sept. 15, 2020 until June 30, 2021.

On Monday, Duterte placed NCR Plus areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) with restrictions until June 15.

Baguio City, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Abra (CAR), Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino (Region 2), Batangas, Quezon (Region 4-A), Iligan City (Region 10), Davao City (Region 11), and Lanao del Sur and Cotabato City (BARMM) are also under GCQ.

Areas put under MECQ include Santiago City, Cagayan (Region 2), Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao (CAR), Puerto Princesa City (Region 4-B), Iloilo City (Region 6), Zamboanga City, Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga del Sur, and Zamboanga del Norte (Region 9), Cagayan de Oro City (Region 10), and Butuan City, Agusan del Sur (Caraga).

The rest of the country will be under the least restrictive modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) for the whole month of June. (PNA)