THIS is in response to an opinion of a concerned employee of the Department of
Education Cebu City Division published in SunStar Cebu on Sept. 5, 2020.
That concerned employee raised three (3) issues and I quote:
1.) “...because we’re on modified general community quarantine, we were ordered to go back to normal.”
2.) “service vehicles offered by the office were not even enough when we did two days a week. How much more now that we’re working five days a week?” and
3.) “No physical distancing in the dilapidated vehicles used as service.”
To enlighten us about the issues at hand, let me share with you the directives issued by the Schools Division Superintendent of Cebu City, Rhea Mar A. Angtud EdD thru a Division Memorandum 321, s. 2020 dated Sept. 2, 2020 entitled Work Arrangement Under the Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ). Paragraph 3 of the memorandum says that division office personnel and non-teaching personnel in schools are advised to report to their official stations to resume regular work activities Monday to Friday from Sept. 3 to 30, 2020, following strict health protocols with exception to those personnel identified/authorized to be under the work from home (WFH) arrangement like those personnel who encounter difficulty reporting to office or school due to the imposition of strict home and/or local community quarantine, curfew, limited or no access to any available modes of transportation options, and/or other regulatory limitations on intermunicipality/city travel.
Said memorandum never required anyone to go back to normal but instead advises its personnel to resume regular work and emphasized in paragraph 5 of the memorandum the executive order issued by Honorable Mayor Labella (EO 89, s. 2020) that directed all residents of Cebu City to obey, follow and abide strictly to minimum public health standards i.e. wearing face masks in all public places as well as face shield in the workplace and in public transportation, frequent handwashing and disinfection, and observance of strict physical distancing, among others.
If this concerned employee has problems on access to public transport, I suggest that she/he talks with his/her immediate supervisor about his/her situation so that they can come up with a workable solution that would be beneficial for both employee and the government s/he claims to work with.
On the second issue of not enough service vehicles, I firmly believe that this can be addressed with proper attitude of informing the persons in authority at the Division of Cebu City. If Superintendent Angtud was able to convince the Cebu City government to finance the reproduction of self-learning modules in such a way that teachers shall not spend money on their own anymore or solicit bondpaper to their friends by posting it on social media, how much more vehicles to transport DepED personnel?
On the third issue of no physical distancing in the dilapidated vehicles used as service, I can hardly believe this to happen as I personally witnessed personnel of Division of Cebu City riding said vehicles during my transactions at the Division Office at 5 p.m. A guard on duty checks the vehicles and guides the personnel on the place to seat inside the vehicles with reminders on safety and health protocols for everyone to follow.
In Cebu City National Science High School (CCNSHS), I have 17 non-teaching personnel under my direct supervision. Six out of 17 are senior citizens who are allowed to avail WFH based on the existing guidelines. There is another one who is almost a senior citizen but has availed herself to WFH due to non-availability of public transport in their area. Her function in finance section is very crucial yet there is no case that she was not able to deliver her basic services while working at home. As a matter of fact, teachers whose plantilla items in CCNSHS regularly receive their monthly salaries ahead of others.
There are non-teaching personnel in CCNSHS who live an hour walking distance from their home due to non-availability of public transport. Yet they walk happily and enjoy the scene around while enjoying the health benefits of walking.
This is our way of helping the country recover from the devastation wrought by Covid-19 with high hopes that our efforts shall serve as inspiration to others.