INTER-AGENCY TASK FORCE FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF EMERGING INFECTIOUS DISEASES
BULLETIN 27 March 2020
A. Subject to guidelines to be issued by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Local Government Units (LGUs) in the provincial, city, municipal, and barangay levels, as well as those in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, are directed to identify government facilities that may be temporarily converted into isolation or quarantine facilities. The same directive shall apply to Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) and other government agencies are likewise directed to coordinate with entities under their respective regulatory authorities, as applicable, in identifying facilities that may be temporarily designated for isolation or quarantine purposes.
Provided, that all identified facilities shall be reported to the National Incident Command of the National Task Force (NTF) on COVID-19, and the Task Group on Resource Management and Logistics. Provided, further, that the latter shall classify identified facilities into those that can be utilized for the isolation of Patients Under Investigation, and those where positive COVID-19 cases with mild symptoms may be managed.
Provided, finally, that the Department of Public Works and Highways is directed to conduct site inspections and commence works on the identified facilities as approved by the NTF. For this purpose, the DPWH shall accredit construction workers who will work on the facilities identified for purposes of quarantine or isolation. Such accredited workers shall be exempted from the strict home quarantine requirement;
B. The Joint Memorandum Circular of the DILG, Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Department of Finance (DOF), providing for Special Guidelines on the Provision of Social Amelioration Measures is hereby approved by the IATF. Government agencies and LGUs are directed to submit their existing beneficiary databases to the DSWD, copy furnishing the DOF. The DSWD is further directed to host the database for the COVID-19 social amelioration program of the government;
C. Establishments involved in the production, manufacturing, packaging, processing, and distribution of food may operate at a maximum of fifty percent (50%) of their respective workforces, unless the supply level of a basic food product warrants a higher capacity, in which case, the DTI is hereby authorized to approve the increase of workforce capacity temporarily. Provided, that in all cases, all establishments shall be subject to strict social distancing requirements. Law enforcement agencies and LGUs are directed to allow the unimpeded movement of food supply-chain workers to and from their places of work, subject to existing identification requirements. Provided, further, that the food industry is strongly encouraged to provide on-site accommodation for their workers;
D. With a strong imperative to ensure the availability of essential goods, in particular food and medicine and other basic commodities, the IATF directs all the corresponding importers, consignees, truckers, shipping lines and concerned government regulators, such as but not limited to Bureau of Customs (BOC), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), DTI, DA, including its bureaus and attached agencies to address the disruptions to the supply chain, and withdraw immediately all refrigerated containers as well as all dry vans, and for port operators to release the same expeditiously. The agencies above shall issue a Joint Memorandum Circular on the specific guidelines that will implement this directive;
E. The Rapid Pass System (RPS) as presented is hereby approved. A Technical Working Group, to be chaired by DICT and composed of DOST and other appropriate agencies, is hereby created to develop the necessary accreditation and authentication guidelines to implement the RPS;
F. To encourage the voluntary coordination with Epidemiology and Surveillance Units (ESUs) of close contacts of patients who tested positive for COVID-19, and subject to the right of patients to withhold consent, all health facilities, whether public or private, are hereby directed to request for the consent of said patients for the public disclosure of their identity;
G. The National Task Force organizational structure, as amended, is hereby approved. The Chief Implementer of the national policy on COVID-19 is hereby designated as the head of the National Incident Command. In addition to the members of the NTF Task Groups as previously approved by the IATF, DICT shall form part of the Task Group on Strategic Communications, and the DFA, the Philippine Coast Guard and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources shall be part of the Task Group on Resource Management and Logistics. The heads of the following agencies or offices are likewise designated to lead the Task Groups of the NTF, respectively:
- Department of Health, Task Group on Response Operations;
- Department of Social Welfare and Development, Task Group on Resource Management and Logistics; and
- Office of the Cabinet Secretary, Task Group on Strategic Communications.
The Regional Task Force COVID-19 and the Local Task Force COVID-19 organizational structures are likewise approved and adopted;
H. A separate IATF Technical Working Group for Anticipatory and Forward Planning is hereby created. It shall be composed of, among others, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) as Chair, and the DA, DTI, DOH, DepEd, and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency as members. NEDA is directed to propose the inclusion of agencies or offices in this IATF TWG, subject to the approval or modification by the IATF. This IATF TWG is also directed to develop detailed recommendations in the rebuilding of consumer and business confidence and the resumption of a new normal state of economic activities, including strategic stockpiling;
I. The recommendations of DA as presented are hereby approved, the specifics of which are the following:
- The DA, including the DOF and the DTI shall work with Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) trading partners and encourage them to refrain from imposing trade- restrictive measures to ensure that existing supply contracts are prioritized;
- If necessary, the importation of an additional 300,000 metric tons of rice through Government-to-Government arrangements with ASEAN trading partners and/or from all sources, including India and Pakistan at the ASEAN-level tariff;
- Reiteration of compliance LGUs to the IATF Resolution No. 15, series of 2020, to the following:
- a. Allow farming and fishing activities to continue;
- b. Allow the free movement of all supplies used for agriculture, including food packaging and manufacturing materials; and
- c. Reactivate the Local Price Coordination Council and for the LGUs and market masters to strictly implement the price freeze and suggested retail price (SRP) compliance based on MC No. 77; 4. DA’s Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) Contra sa COVID-19 or Plant, Plant,Plant Program popularly called as 4Ps in Agriculture shall be provided the necessary budgetary allocations amounting to Php 31 Billion in order to implement, expand, and increase food adequacy in the country.
J. IATF Resolution No. 13 dated March 17, 2020, Section B(1) is hereby further amended and be read as follows:
xxx “1. Overseas Filipino Workers, permanent residents of foreign jurisdictions, and stranded foreign nationals leaving for abroad through any of the ports in Luzon shall be allowed to leave the Philippines without any impediment. Provided that this provision shall not be interpreted to allow outbound travel to jurisdictions where travel restrictions are in place. Provided, further, that departing passengers may only be accompanied by not more than one person when traveling to any international port. Provided, finally, that the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration is hereby directed to provide transportation services to OFWs intending to leave for abroad.
For this purpose, the IATF hereby ratifies the necessary measures implemented by the Department of Tourism for the efficient departure of the remaining foreign nationals in the country (including the procurement of and payment for sweeper flights), but authorizes the same only until 27 March 2020.
K. With respect to the transportation of OFWs to and from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in accordance with IATF Resolutions Nos. 13 and 15, series of 2020, the OWWA is hereby authorized to seek the assistance of the Department of Transportation, Philippine National Police, National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council to facilitate the travel of the OFWs to their respective destinations; and
L. The DBM shall hereby form part of the expanded membership of the IATF.