Senators push for rent moratorium, hazard pay for frontliners

A MORATORIUM on rental fees, one-month reprieve on the payment of utility bills, and hazard pay for frontliners are among the measures proposed by senators amid the community quarantine imposed in Metro Manila. Senator Christopher Lawrence T. Go on Monday recommended that rental fees as well as bills from basic utility providers be waived to cushion the impact on those most affected by the quarantine. As of Monday, telecommunications companies PLDT, Inc., and its wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc., and Globe Telecom, Inc. have announced a 30-day payment extension period. Globe will also provide free and unlimited internet connection through its GoWiFi services in select hospitals in Metro Manila, including the Chinese General Hospital, Metropolitan Medical Center, Philippine General Hospital and Manila Doctors Hospital. Sky Cable Corp. also extended the bill payment for its cable and internet services for 30 days.

Senator Risa N. Hontiveros-Baraquel, for her part, called for the immediate grant of hazard pay for health workers, government employees, military, and the police, among other frontliners. Ms. Baraquel said the law provides that public health workers exposed to danger and high risks are entitled to additional hazard pay of as high as 25% of their monthly basic salary. She also recommended that additional pay be considered in the private sector, which is not covered by the law. — Charmaine A. Tadalan

Night patrol


Members of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) patrol the waters around Bohol all night to prevent the entry of boats from other provinces. Bohol has declared a community quarantine from March 15–20, subject to extension, which prohibits the entry of all non-residents via all modes of transportation.

Cagayan de Oro maintains no lockdown policy

“WE SHALL not lockdown Cagayan de Oro but instead, remove the non-essential reasons of the people to enter the city.” This was the message of Mayor Oscar S. Moreno on Monday during a press conference amid localized community quarantine declarations by most local governments around the country. City Health Office head Lorraine J. Nery, in the same briefing, said enough measures have been taken by the city’s COVID-19 Task Force, which includes the suspension of classes in all levels, disinfection of churches, offices including city hall, markets, establishments and terminals. Mr. Moreno has also ordered the closure of all shopping malls — except supermarkets, pharmacies and other essential services — as well as the four night markets in different parts of the city. The mayor said a lockdown is “not easy to impose” and “not practicable as Cagayan de Oro serves as hub for Northern Mindanao catering to patients especially those referred to Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC), the ports and other agencies.”