Church leaders’ actions in tune with requests by national authorities in the Philippines
Following the mandate implemented by the office of the president of the Philippines, to put the entire Luzon in “enhanced” community quarantine due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus in the region, leaders of the Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD) decided that its employees will work remotely for two weeks starting March 16 until March 27, 2020. This action through the Administrative Committee of SSD serves as a precautionary response due to the increasing unconfirmed cases related to the COVID-19 virus.
The committee emphasized that while employees will spend two weeks working from home, the office will continue with its regular day-to-day business implementing some changes in its daily protocol to fit in accordance with the government’s directions on the coronavirus.
“Out of a deep desire to do whatever we can to keep our employees healthy and safe during the time of COVID-19 and to comply with the spirit of the national and local government requests to minimize social contact, SSD will limit work in the office for the next two weeks, from March 16-27, 2020,” said SSD associate executive secretary Kevin Costello. “The campus is closed to nonresidents/nonemployees. All residents/employees who enter campus should subject themselves to thermal temperature readings by the guards. Packages and deliveries should be left at the guardhouse, and the guard should then call the addressee for pickup,” Costello added.
For two consecutive days, the Crisis Management Committee and the Administrative Committee of SSD convened to respond accordingly to the heightened concern of COVID-19 in the community in Silang, Cavite, where the division office is located. An immediate travel ban was implemented to all traveling employees effective immediately until April 14 or until further notice.
The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic as of March 11. And as of March 16, 2020, confirmed cases of patients with coronavirus in the Philippines have reached 187.
The objective of this immediate response is to execute possible solutions that will help slow down the spread of the coronavirus in workplaces and communities. Earlier this week, the SSD Health Department issued a health advisory, including facts and recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control on how to respond initially to certain situations where the virus is possibly present.
Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte raised the response status of the entire island of Luzon to a State of Calamity, and ordered a 24 hour/day work-from-home curfew for two weeks for all people, both in the public and private sectors. This order affects SSD, AIIAS, the 1000 Missionary Movement, Adventist University of the Philippines, and all other denominational organizations on the big island of Luzon.
The original version of this story was posted on the Southern Asia-Pacific Division news site.