The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has proposed to the Civil Service Commission (CSC) the adoption of telecommuting guidelines, among the alternative work arrangements in government offices across the country to help prevent further community transmission of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Telecommuting, as defined in Republic Act No. 11165 or the Telecommuting Act, refers to working from an alternative workplace with the use of telecommunications and/or computer technologies. The law was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in December 2018.
The DICT carries the mandate to “formulate, recommend and implement national policies, plans, programs and guidelines that will promote the development and use of ICT with due consideration to the advantages of convergence and emerging technologies” and to “assist and provide technical expertise to government agencies in the development of guidelines in the enforcement and administration of laws, standards, rules, and regulations governing ICT.”
The proposal to adopt telecommunication guidelines is consistent with CSC Announcement No. 13, s.2020 which provides for work from home arrangement in light of the Enhanced Community Quarantine over the entire Luzon from March 17 to April 13, 2020. If adopted by government agencies, telecommuting will complement the alternative arrangements already defined in the CSC Announcement No. 12, Series of 2020.
Heads of agencies are still given the discretion to formulate and implement alternative work arrangements that will ensure the delivery of public service with the observance of social distancing and other preventive health measures. They are also afforded sufficient leeway and flexibility in determining the telecommuting arrangements appropriate for their needs, with the necessary precautions and cybersecurity measures.
DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II said telecommuting will help government personnel and workers continue working for their respective agencies while remaining in their homes during the State of Public Health Emergency declared by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.