ON all counts, the last 12 months have been the most tumultuous period in our nation’s history. Never has there been an occasion when every single person has been affected, either directly or indirectly, by one event. So, what lessons have we learnt from this hopefully never-to-be-repeated experience? On March 18 last year, our world came to a standstill with the imposition of the movement control order, triggered by the need to safeguard our lives in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. The price to pay for our safety was our mobility, our habits, our work, our leisure, our businesses and our security of employment. This restriction varied in severity for people from different walks of life. By and large, the government has been proactive in dealing with the pandemic, albeit with some bumps along the way. Initially, the burden for safeguarding our health fell squarely on our frontline workers. Despite the risks and hardships, they provided life-saving care to affected ... » Learn More about Lessons from the past 12 months
Enforces standards for safe and healthful working conditions
As the Philippines awaits a cure for Covid-19, telecommuting, once an unfamiliar work arrangement has now become a standard practice — with safety measures set in place by the government in many organizations in the country as is also the case globally. Remote working has thus become the new normal in the country, to be strengthened by a recent bill filed in Congress to further support the existing telecommuting law. Markus Nisula, managing director of KONE Philippines, discussed with The Manila Times the pros and cons of the bill that proposes mandatory work-from-home (WFH) arrangements to be offered to employees who fulfil specific criteria to be eligible for WFH deployment. Markus Nisula (MNisula): Let us look at the present situation this way. The pandemic has recalibrated everything: work, life and play. With the coronavirus crisis not abating anytime soon, telecommuting is still seen to be the norm across the country. Strict physical distancing measures in public ... » Learn More about Reshaping the Philippine workplace in the new normal
SINGAPORE: In February, COVID-19 was in retreat in India. Infections dropped precipitously from 100,000 cases per day in September 2020 to as low as 8,635 on Feb 1. From Dec 29 to Mar 12 – for more than 10 weeks - India maintained a weekly average of about 20,000 cases, prompting some to suggest the country had hit herd immunity. Unfortunately, since Mar 10, daily cases have been on the rise surpassing the 20,000 level, hitting more than 68,000 on Monday (Mar 29) – a five-month high for India. The weekly average now stands at more than 53,000. READ: Commentary: COVID-19 will cast long shadows of social repercussions The drop in cases initially - given India’s size, density, difficulty to physically distance, at least in urban areas, and patchy policies - has mystified scientists, scholars, and public health experts alike. Especially when the government had eased restrictions and reopened the economy during this period. Why did cases drop and why have they since risen? ... » Learn More about Commentary: India had managed to curb COVID-19. That has now changed
SINGAPORE: It started with regular insults about Beth (not her real name) and her family back in the Philippines. Soon afterwards, her employer became more controlling and allegedly took away Beth’s passport, phones and ATM card, telling her to keep only some of her clothes for daily use. The rest were packed away to a storage facility. After the employer raised her palm threateningly a few times, the physical abuse began for real. Over several months from February 2019, she allegedly hit Beth on the head, on the wrist, on the back with a bottle of cleaning solution and on the side of her head with an empty bottle. Beth, now 36, said she was often alone with her employer as the other family members were out for long hours. “I was scared to talk with her,” said the domestic worker. “Maybe if you ask why (she took away my phones), she might get angry. She was always in (a bad) temper.” Her employer threatened to send her back and get her blacklisted if she told anyone ... » Learn More about ‘I want you to suffer with me’: What drives people to torture, enslave someone at home?