Pres. Duterte Grants Allowance To Volunteers Working At Swabbing Centers

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President Rodrigo Duterte has authorized the grant of duty allowance to government personnel who volunteer to work in the country’s coronavirus disease (Covid-19) mega swabbing facilities.

Signed by Duterte on June 15, the Administrative Order No. 31 entitles each volunteer personnel to a Covid-19 duty allowance of PHP500 a day plus a maximum of 25 percent of monthly basic salary (MBS) during the quarantine period.

The maximum of 25 percent of MBS per person will be pro-rated based on the number of days that a government personnel is deployed in the designated facility during the quarantine period.

Personnel who are already entitled to hazard pay and other similar benefits such as public health workers, public social workers, science and technology personnel, and military and uniformed personnel, will continue to be entitled to such benefits or the Covid-19 duty allowance, whichever is higher.

“The period within which the government personnel shall be required to undergo mandatory quarantine after their respective deployment to the mega swabbing facilities or other swabbing or test result processing facilities, pursuant to approved protocols, will be on official time,” the order read.

Those entitled to Covid-19 duty allowance are personnel occupying regular, contractual or casual positions, or engaged through contract of service (COS), job order (JO), or other similar schemes.

The rate of duty allowance will be based on the number of days an employee is deployed for work or the requisite training, as certified by the head of the designated facility or the supervising officer of such work station.

As for fund sources, the national government agencies will charge the amount required for personnel against their available released personnel services allotments while the amount for COS or JO workers will be charged against their available maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) allotments.

For government owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs), the amount required will be charged against their respective approved corporate operating budgets for fiscal year 2020.

“The grant of Covid-19 duty allowance will be effective from the beginning of operations of the mega swabbing facilities and other designated swabbing and test result processing facilities,” the order read.

Currently, there are four swabbing centers in the country located at the Philippine Sports Stadium inside the Philippine Arena in Bulacan, the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Enderun Colleges in Taguig City, and the Palacio de Maynila Tent in Roxas Boulevard, Manila.

In a virtual presser on Thursday, National Policy Against Covid-19 deputy chief implementer Vivencio “Vince” Dizon said the country’s testing capacity has exceeded 50,000 as of June 19.

There are now a total of 66 laboratories that can conduct Covid-19 tests, including 41 in the public sector, 24 in the private sector, and one public-private initiative at the De La Salle University in Dasmariñas, Cavite, he said. (PNA)