Council wants hazard pay for frontliners, mass testing in Cebu City
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu City Council wants all frontliners serving amidst the fight against the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) to have hazard pay.
Vice Mayor Michael Rama delivered a privilege speech on Wednesday, April 1, 2020 during the first online session asking the city executive department to provide for the frontliners in the city.
The council approved the motion asking for hazard pay worth P10,000 to P20,000 to the frontliners subject to Commission on Audit (COA) guidelines.
The request will be forwarded to Mayor Edgardo Labella as the final decision will be his.
Rama said this is important because the frontliners including doctors, nurses, laboratory scientists, other medical professional, staff, government employees, even barangay workers are risking their lives to serve the public in a bid to stall the spread of the virus.
“It is imperative to provide assistance to those who are in the forefront in this battle against an invisible molecular enemy which has changed the lives of the people throughout the world,” said Rama.
The council has given the perogative to the mayor to identify these frontliners should he agree to provide them hazard pay.
Councilor Tumulak also called on the barangays to extend help to the frontliners by providng transportation to those who live in interior roads.
Because the free bus rides provided by the city only ply the major throughfares, the interior barangays are often out of reach.
He asked the barangays to provide transportation to the front liners from the main roads to the interior roads to keep them safe.
The surge of suspected cases in Cebu City rose to more than 300 cases of severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) and influenza-like-illness (ILI) in the city.
The number of positive cases for COVID-19 has also reached 21 with four deaths and two recoveries.
Rama said this is an indication that a mass testing should already be done for the public to identify who may be the carrier of the virus.
However, Councilor Eduardo “Edu” Rama, Jr., said that this may not be the best option as testing kits are very expensive and can cost up to P6,000 each.
Still, the vice mayor wants mass testing to be done and intensive contact tracing for those proven to be infected by the virus.
The council also wants appraisal of the plans of the executive department in dealing with the COVID-19 following the confusion and discord in the barangays over the quarantine passes and rice assistance.
The council plans to create an omnibus ordinance or legislation stating all executive orders and protocols set by the mayor during the implementation of the general and enhanced community quarantines.
Rama said this will serve as a template for the next public health crisis. /rcg
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