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THE Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases opted to strike a balance between public health and national economy by allowing the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office to resume its gaming operations even in areas under the second most stringent lockdown level.

In a four-page resolution signed by Health Secretary Francisco Duque and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, the IATF said that the PCSO and its authorized agents “may resume the authority to sell Lotto, Keno, Scratch-It and Small Town Lottery tickets nationwide even under modified enhanced community quarantine.

Relatedly, “Section 3(5) (f) of the Omnibus Guidelines in the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines, as amended, shall be suspended in part relative only to lottery and betting shops. All other industries, establishments, and activities enumerated therein shall remain on the negative list.”

The IATF also directed the PCSO to ensure strict compliance to health and safety protocols and the observance of minimum public health standards.

Aside from the PCSO, the IATF also announced that all agencies and instrumentalities of the government shall remain fully operational even under MECQ as provided for in the IATF Omnibus Guidelines in the

Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines.

As such, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has also been authorized to conduct their in-person assessments for Household Service Workers (HSWs) in areas under MECQ subject to the following conditions:

·         Said in-person assessments shall be conducted only in TESDA Training Institutions. No in-person assessments shall be conducted in private assessment centers.

·         In-person assessments shall be limited only for HSWs ready for deployment i.e., with contracts and visas; and

·         Applicants have to abide by the guidelines of TESDA relative to the conduct of in-person assessments.

The IATF also gave its green light to the Career Executive Service Board (CESB) for the resumption of conducting its Career Executive Service Written Examinations and Assessment Centers, following its prescribed protocols and the strict observance of minimum public health standards.

For arriving persons, the IATF said that all diplomats and visa holders shall continue to be governed by the testing and quarantine protocols as authorized under IATF Resolution No. 92 (s.2021) dated January 5, 2021, and subject to the guidelines issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Health.

Likewise, visa holders are required to have an entry exemption document to be allowed entry in the Philippines. For those issued by the National Task Force Against COVID-19, they shall be recognized as valid until the end of the month.

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