Courts in Metro Manila, nearby provinces to remain closed

COURTS in the capital region and neighboring provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal will remain physically closed until April 18, the Supreme Court ordered on Saturday. “Considering the unabated rise of Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) cases, the requests of the judges and court personnel, and upon the concurrence of the members of the Court en banc, all the courts and judicial offices in the (NCR Plus area) shall remain physically closed until 18 April 2021,” the high court said in a circular. The filing periods and service of pleadings and motions are also extended until the seventh calendar day after the relevant court is physically reopened. Affected courts will continue to function virtually through telephone and e-mail. Judges are also directed to conduct hearings via videoconferencing without the need for prior permission from the Office of the Court Administrator. — Bianca Angelica D. Anago

MinDA to set up economic recovery council to assist Mindanao businesses, workers

THE Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) will set up a public-private sector council that will facilitate response to specific problems of businesses and workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic. “The purpose is to address issues and problems that may impede our economic recovery,” MinDA Chair Emmanuel F. Pinol said last week during the online Mindanao Economic Recovery Forum. The agency is proposing that private sector representatives lead what will be called Mindanao Economic Recovery Facilitation Council, which will have a 24/7 hotline for concerns. The tasks of the council will include providing expert advice on how to protect jobs during the ongoing economic crisis, identifying both short and long-term steps to address problems, and recommend specific local policy and strategies. “I would like to have this organized right away. The next step is to present the inputs today to the inter-agency group, particularly to agencies that deliver services like DA (Department of Agriculture), DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development),” Mr. Pinol said. MinDA will hold another forum involving government agencies. — Maya M. Padillo

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