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PCG staff to work from home on rotation, but services to remain ‘as is’

05 April 2020

By Daisy CL Mandap

Before and after social distancing photos show the drop in the number of people lining up at the PCG's counters

Staff of the Philippine Consulate General will mostly work from home two days a week, and go to the office for the other three days, starting tomorrow, Apr 6,  amid a spike in new Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong.

But Consul General Raly Tejada said services to the public will remain “as is,” and that all staff will still be reporting for work on Sundays, when most Filipino domestic workers pack the Consulate to transact business.

Congen Tejada said the move is being taken to protect both the Consulate staff and their clients as Hong Kong began restricting public gatherings to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease.
He said 80 or so staff of both the Consulate and its attached agencies, including the Philippine Overseas Labor Office, will work from home on a rotation basis.

Exempted are his five officers, from his deputy to the four consuls, who will still report to the office four times a week, and work from home for only one day. Congen says he himself will still be at the office for five days each week.

ConGen Tejada says he will still report to PCG  5x a week; his officers 4x a week

Explaining the new work arrangement, he said: “There will be two teams: Team A will be on duty Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Team B will work Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. So full force kami pag Sunday,” he said.

“Because of this arrangement, we can scale down non-essential work yet be able to serve the public with our full range of services.”

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He said the shortened workday of 10am to 3pm will remain in place, as a further measure to protect both PCG staff and their clients, as this allows everyone to avoid the morning and afternoon rush hours.

He added the Consulate’s emergency services will remain active at all times and can be accessed by calling their hotline: 9155 4023.

Many government offices have also been on work-from-home arrangements since late January, although frontline service staff, including those at the Labour and Immigration Departments, have been told to continue providing services.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love.

But since a spike in cases was recorded in mid-March when residents began flooding back into the city from overseas, the Hong Kong government imposed more restrictions on public gatherings, such as requiring no more than four people to get together in public places and restaurants.

More recently, the government ordered more businesses that attract large crowds like bars and karaokes, to shut for 14 days.

Individuals who violate the new rules face a maximum fine of $25,000 and six weeks’ imprisonment, while businesses could be fined up to $50,000.

The new rules have resulted in most people staying indoors on weekends, including migrant workers who have skipped taking their only day off in the week amid repeated advice from both their employers and the authorities to stay put if they want to remain safe from the virus.

An adviser to the Hong Kong government today said further restrictions might be necessary, such as requiring restaurants to only sell food for takeaway, to halt the surge in new cases as more residents return from overseas.

Restaurants can take in only half their usual capacity, and keep tables at least 1.5 meters apart

Bernard Chan said other businesses that provide “non-essential services” could be shut down, but did not give examples.

However, the government has been under pressure in recent days to add beauty salons and massage parlours among the establishments that should be shut down temporarily.

Meanwhile, health expert Yuen Kwok-yung has warned of a possible third wave of infections from mainland visitors as China begins easing up its lockdown of key cities, while Financial Secretary Paul Chan said the public could expect the economy to remain bleak until the end of the year.

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