COVID-19 ‘manageable,’ no need to give hazard pay to gov’t employees, says Roque

The Philippine government will no longer give hazard pay to its employees who will report for work during the general community quarantine (GCQ) because COVID-19 is supposedly spreading at a slower rate, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque announced today in a virtual presser.

Civil Service Commission Chief Aileen Lozada announced on Friday that hazard pay will only be given to government workers if an area is under the extreme community quarantine (ECQ). If a place, such as Metro Manila, is downgraded to the GCQ, civil servants are no longer eligible for the additional amount unless they are healthcare workers or law enforcers.

President Rodrigo Duterte authorized giving hazard pay to government workers in March when the ECQ was first implemented in different parts of the country.

Roque said in English and Filipino, “The threat [of COVID-19] is still there but it has become manageable because the doubling rate [of infection] has become longer and we have increased our capacity to provide critical care. So the threat is no longer as bad, although we still have to be careful.”

The spokesman added that they no longer have the budget because government funds are now being used to combat the coronavirus.

“You know, that has been budgeted and all of our budget is for [eradicating] COVID-19. So I’m sorry to our government workers,” he explained.

While lockdown rules have been eased throughout the country, the Philippines is far from flattening the curve. But the government said that it was necessary to downgrade the quarantines to allow the economy to recover and let people go back to work. At present, at least two million Filipinos have lost their jobs due to the lockdown and countless people have gone hungry.

This article, COVID-19 ‘manageable,’ no need to give hazard pay to gov’t employees, says Roque, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!