THE entire Davao City Hall of Justice (HOJ) will be placed on 12-day lockdown beginning Monday, October 19 until Saturday, October 31, after 10 employees of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC)-Branch 3 tested positive for the novel coronavirus last week.
In a memorandum dated October 16, addressed to all regional trial court (RTC) and MTCC presiding judges, Deputy Court Administrator Leo T. Madrazo granted the request of RTC Davao Executive Judge Emmanuel C. Carpio for the “physical closure” of all courts in the city to curb the further spread of Covid-19 within the Hall of Justice.
The memorandum is publicly posted on the Regional Trial Court - Branch 8 Davao City - RTC 8 Facebook Page on Saturday, October 17.
Madrazo said the request for the closure is to give way for contact tracing conducted by the City Health Office (CHO) "for possible contamination of other employees working at HOJ and others who may have closed contact with the infected employees."
He said all employees had been swabbed on October 17.
He said CHO made the recommendation for the closure of the entire HOJ "to decontaminate the entire building for the possible spread of the virus."
According to Madrazo, Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio also recommended all court personnel to do online transactions or hearings and should shift to a work-from-home arrangement during the lockdown period.
"Nonetheless, during the 14-day lockdown period, the operation of the courts shall continue in a work-from-home arrangement and through the use of videoconferencing technology," the Deputy Court administrator said.
Madrazo also said all presiding judges of all courts in the HOJ are authorized to conduct videoconferencing from their residences for the entire period of the lockdown.
Citing Administrative Order No. 41-2020, Madrazo said all initiatory pleadings in both civil and criminal cases, including criminal complaints, information and applications for bail, can be filed electronically through official email addresses.
He said the pleadings and other court submissions can be filed electronically with the branch where the case is pending.
As stated under Administrative Order No. 41-2020, he said all inquiries on cases and transactions, including requests for documents and services, can be coursed and acted through its official email addresses.
He also said the pleadings and other court submissions can be filed electronically with the branch where the case is pending.
Duterte-Carpio first broke the news on Friday, October 16, wherein HOJ and Sangguniang Panlungsod are currently under closed monitoring due to the recorded Covid-19 cases.
The mayor cited the HOJ's corridors and hallways have poor ventilation and the judges' enclosed and airconditioned sala might be prone to the transmission of the virus.
The mayor expressed concerns after records revealed that there have been more recorded Covid-19 transmission within workplaces.
She reiterated to the office and business management to strictly impose minimum health protocols, particularly the observance of the two-meter distancing within employees.
She also reminded the employees to wear face masks and face shields inside offices all the time.
Meanwhile, the Civil Service Commission in Davao Region (CSC-Davao) announced in an advisory on Sunday evening, October 18, that one of their regional staff tested positive for Sars-CoV-2, the virus causing the Covid-19.
CSC-Davao said they already referred their infected employee to the barangay for appropriate action.
The agency also said it will temporarily close its regional and field offices in the entire region to give way for its health measures to curb the spread of the virus.