DOF, BSP, GSIS, ADB closed down to disinfect vs COVID-19
MANILA, Philippines–To prevent the coronavirus disease from spreading following exposure of the country’s top economic officials to a COVID-19 patient, the Department of Finance (DOF), the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), as well as the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Thursday temporarily suspended operations to disinfect their facilities.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said the DOF building in Manila will undergo “total disinfection.”
Work at the DOF “will resume when the disinfection is completed and advised by the Department of Health (DOH),” said Dominguez, who is President Rodrigo Duterte’s chief economic manager.
Also, Dominguez said he ordered all DOF-attached agencies—which included the bureaus of Customs (BOC), Internal Revenue (BIR), and the Treasury—to thoroughly disinfect all their premises this weekend.
On Wednesday night, Dominguez disclosed that last week, he met with a person who later on tested positive for COVID-19.
While Dominguez had no symptoms, he was self-isolating at the moment, and also encouraged journalists covering the DOF to do the same.
Dominguez briefed media after last Friday’s National Economic and Development Authority Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee (Neda ICC CabCom), as well as last Tuesday’s Economic Development Cluster (EDC) meetings, which tackled the government’s response to the economic impact of COVID-19.
Early Thursday, Dominguez said he will get tested but planned to first dial-in to the scheduled meeting of the Monetary Board—the BSP’s highest policy-making body—scheduled in the morning.
Dominguez serves as President Duterte’s representative in the Monetary Board, which meets weekly every Thursday.
However, Dominguez later on said the Monetary Board meeting was moved to Friday, and will be held via teleconference.
“The BSP will be on lockdown to disinfect the building,” Dominguez disclosed.
Presidential adviser for flagship programs and projects Secretary Vivencio B. Dizon will also be on self-quarantine “as a precautionary measure, following exposure to a person who tested positive for COVID-19,” his executive assistant said in a text message.
The state-run pension fund GSIS, whose building in Pasay City hosted the Senate which was also locked down due to some senators’ exposure to a person with COVID-19, said its head office on Thursday was “temporarily closed as an urgent precautionary measure.”
“All members, pensioners, and other transacting clients are advised to use the following online channels and platforms for your records verification, inquiries, and other GSIS transactions:
- Electronic GSIS Member Online (eGSISMO) – https://egsismo.gsis.gov.ph/eGSISMO/;
- GSIS Contact Center, Call – 8847-4747 (for calls within Metro Manila) /1-800-8-847-4747 (for Globe subscribers) /1-800-10-847-4747 (for Smart subscribers) / Email – [email protected]; GSIS website – https://www.gsis.gov.ph;
- GSIS Facebook account – @gsis.ph or https://www.facebook.com/gsis.ph; and
- GSIS Wireless Automated Processing System (GWAPS) Kioks – located in all other GSIS branch and extension offices; provincial capitols; city halls; selected municipal offices; large government agencies such as the Department of Education; Robinsons Malls; and selected SM City branches in North EDSA, Manila, Pampanga, Cebu, SM Aura in Taguig, SM Southmall in Las Piñas, and Mall of Asia in Pasay City.”
“The GSIS earnestly appeals for your understanding and cooperation. The health and safety of the stakeholders, as well as the officials and employees, will always remain as the pension fund’s top priority,” it said.
In a statement, the Manila-based ADB said its staff had been advised to work from home on Thursday “following advice that a visitor to the bank has tested positive” for COVID-19.
“The bank’s Manila headquarters facility will be closed from March 12 to undertake cleaning and disinfecting. Bank operations will continue. The ADB management will make a decision in coming days on when to reopen the bank premises,” the multilateral lender said.
“The safety of staff, visitors to the bank, and their families is of utmost importance to us. We are providing support to staff who interacted with the visitor,” ADB vice president for administration and corporate management Deborah Stokes said.
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