Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) - August 25, 2020.
MANILA, Philippines — Factory workers in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) are concerned over what they described as continuous transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 in the workplace.
The workers said the government should take immediate action to protect them from the disease.
Workers in the industrial zone now account for a majority of the COVID cases in Calabarzon, according to Mary Anne Castillo, factory worker and member of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU).
The guidelines adopted by the Department of Labor and Employment and the Department of Trade and Industry are insufficient to control the spread of COVID in workplaces, Castillo said.
Some workers said they are required to report for work even as their workplaces have yet to be disinfected.
Data from the Department of Health showed that Cavite, Laguna and Rizal accounted for a majority of newly recorded cases in Calabarzon.
Workers in the region want that mass testing be conducted in workplaces.
They said employers should provide hazard pay as well as quarantine pay for those who would not be able to report for work while undergoing temporary isolation.
KMU chair Elmer Labog said the workers’ demands are doable if the government has a correct framework and sound policy on the pandemic.
“The government has enough funds for testing if only these were not pocketed by corrupt officials,” Labog said, adding that until this time, the government has no clear plan on how to protect the workers from the disease.
He said it is the responsibility of the government to ensure workers’ safety when the factories are operating.
Moratorium on LSI repatriation
Meanwhile, the provincial government of Kalinga has temporarily stopped accepting returning residents who are stranded in other areas.
The moratorium in accepting locally stranded individuals (LSI) took effect yesterday and will end on Sept. 2.
The provincial inter-agency task force on COVID requested a 10-day moratorium for returning LSIs.
The moratorium was intended to better manage quarantine facilities, which are currently fully occupied by LSIs, as well as contact tracing process.
As of Sunday, the province recorded 48 active COVID cases.
Kalinga has 89 confirmed cases and 49 recoveries, according to the Department of Health-Cordillera.
The moratorium will give authorities and health workers adequate time to fulfill their duties and de-clog facilities and isolation units, the task force said. – Artemio Dumlao