Press Release
June 26, 2020

Bong Go commends granting of duty allowance to gov't personnel who volunteer to work in mega swabbing facilities

Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go lauded the move of the executive department to grant duty allowance for volunteers of mega swabbing facilities (MSFs). The Senator said that this will ensure that volunteering personnel are recognized for their work and sacrifices to combat the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

"Sa tulong po nitong COVID-19 Duty Allowance, masisiguro natin na ang volunteers natin ay maaalagaan. Maraming salamat po at napakinggan ang ating panawagan bilang pasasalamat rin natin sa sakripisyo at serbisyo para sa bayan ng mga volunteer frontliners," Go said.

Go earlier appealed to the executive department to recognize the sacrifices of volunteers who are helping in the fight to combat the pandemic.

In response to his appeal, the Office of the President issued Administrative Order No. 31, granting duty allowance to government personnel who volunteer to work in MSFs. The grant of the Duty Allowance will be given retroactive effect, from the beginning of the operations of the MSFs and other designated facilities.

"Habang sinusubukan nating malampasan ang krisis, siguraduhin rin dapat natin na maalagaan at maprotektahan ang mga ordinaryong kawani ng gobyerno lalo na ang mga kusang nagboluntaryo at nagbuhos ng kanilang oras upang maalagaan at maprotektahan ang kapwa nilang Pilipino," Go said earlier.

"Bigyan natin ng importansya ang kanilang sakripisyo bilang mga frontliners. Sila ang tunay na mga bayani sa laban nating ito," he also added.

The said AO provides that national government agencies and government-owned or -controlled corporations are now authorized to grant to volunteer personnel who are deployed for work in the MSFs and other designated facilities, located in areas under any form of community quarantine, a COVID-19 Duty Allowance at an amount not exceeding the sum of P500 per day plus a maximum of 25% of monthly basic salary (MBS) per person. The 25% MBS shall be pro-rated on the number of days the personnel has been deployed in the designated facility during the quarantine period.

Through this AO, heads of government agencies may grant the COVID-19 Duty Allowance to their personnel without the need for approval by the Department of Budget and Management, provided that the volunteers are occupying regular, contractual or casual positions, or are engaged through contract of service, job order or other similar schemes.

The personnel also must have been authorized to physically report for work at any of the MSFs approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases on the prescribed official working hours by the head of agency or office. The total rate of the COVID-19 Duty Allowance will also be based on the number of days an employee physically reports for work.

Personnel who are already entitled to Hazard Pay, including the COVID-19 Hazard Pay under AO No. 26, Hazardous Duty Pay, Hazard Allowance, Special Risk Allowance under AO No. 28, or other similar benefits under existing laws, issuances, rules and regulations, or any combination thereof, will continue to be entitled to such benefits, or the COVID-19 Duty Allowance, whichever is higher.

"Kaya natin isinulong ang Bayanihan to Heal as One Act. Binigyan natin ng kapangyarihan ang Pangulo upang magamit ang pondo ng gobyerno para matulungan at madagdagan ang mga frontliners sa laban natin kontra COVID-19," said Go.

Under Congressional Joint Resolution No. 4 (s. 2009), the President may authorize the granting of allowances and benefits to government employees subject to the rates and regulations determined by the budget department.

The government has already put up MSFs in each of Metro Manila's four sectors: (east) Enderun College, Taguig City; (south) Mall of Asia, Pasay City; (west) Palacio de Maynila, Manila; and (north) Philippine Arena, Bulacan as part of the ongoing effort to ramp up testing capacities in response to the health crisis.

These volunteers qualified for the duty allowance served as encoders or barcoders and were given training, protective medical equipment, accommodation, food and transportation.

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