DOLE reminds companies, employees of COVID-19 prevention protocols as work resumes Monday

Marje Pelayo   •   May 29, 2020   •   1113

MANILA, Philippines — Metro Manila and some parts of the country will begin the implementation of general community quarantine (GCQ) on Monday (June 1).

Alongside the shift from modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ)to GCQ is the reopening of companies and establishments with a number of employees returning to their workplaces.

Based on records by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) around 2.8 million workers stopped working, some were laid off, due to the impact of coronavirus disease (COVID-1) pandemic on the country’s economy. 

Thus, many of those whose income were affected during the quarantine will need to work harder to recover their finances with the reopening of industries and sectors.

“Considering na matagal silang nawalan ng trabaho [Considering the length of time that they have been idle], you can just imagine the rush of workers kasi no-work-no-pay,” Bello noted.

“Now that they can work, for sure they will do everything within their means to report back to office,” he added.

The Secretary also expressed concern about the workers’ dilemma over the limited operation of mass transportation.

Street sweeper Lolita Danieles just returned to work on Tuesday (May 26) after two months of staying at home. 

However, she struggles with transportation as she has to pay P70 for a tricycle ride from Payatas to Litex, just halfway to her workplace in Timog Avenue.

“Minsan ang bus pumapara kami hindi kami hinihintuan. Maghintay talaga kami. Tyaga lang, [There are buses passing by but they do not stop. We need to wait patiently,]” she said.

“Kanina nga lang hinintuan kami nung kotse, siningil sa amin tig P50 isa, [Earlier a car owner offered us a ride but charged us P50 each],” she said.

Meanwhile, an employee of a construction company, Crispin Acincieno said he opted for a two-way personal service from his home in Bulacan to his work in Quezon City instead of commuting. 

“Definitely hindi muna. Kasi hindi pa naman sigurado. Hindi pa naman 100% safe na mag-public transport [Not yet for now, definitely, because it’s not yet sure if public transportations are 100% safe],” he said. 

Secretary Bello reminds employers and employees to always observe health protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

These include the regular wearing of masks, temperature checking, setting up disinfection stations with alcohol and foot baths as well as maintaining proper social distance. 

Ating sinisiguro na ang ating mga worker na nakapasok ay ligtas sa contamination at transmission ng COVID-19 [We want to make sure, that our returning employees and workers are safe from contamination and transmission of COVID-19],” Bello said. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Deployment of OFWs to Israel temporarily suspended — Bello

Marje Pelayo   •   May 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has announced that the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Israel is temporarily suspended due to the ongoing violence between Israeli forces and the Hamas militant group.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the safety of Filipinos is the government’s utmost concern at this time.

Most of the OFWs working in the Jewish country are caregivers and hotel workers.

Given the situation, Bello urges the Filipinos bound for Israel to wait until the tension subsides.

“Medyo maghintay-hintay lang po tayo dahil sa hindi magandang kondisyon sa Israel na patutunguhan natin ay meron muna tayong precautionary suspension ng deployment doon,” he said.

The official said quick response teams are on standby to rescue Filipinos who will be caught in the violence.

So far, there are no Filipinos injured or killed in the conflict, Bello confirmed.

However, Bello noted that while the Philippine government is ready should there be calls for repatriation, some OFWs opt to stay despite the dangers.

“Kasi yung mga iba nilipat na sa Egypt. Iyong safer place nilipat sila. libo-libo na yan nasa shelter lahat yan. We are ready to repatriate them merong rapid response team,” he added.

Alert Level 1 is still raised in Israel while Level 2 is raised in the Gaza Strip.

Mandatory repatriation will be triggered when the alert levels are elevated to 3 and 4.MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

PNP chief Eleazar reminds police units to closely watch reopening of some tourist sites

Robie de Guzman   •   May 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Guillermo Eleazar on Monday directed all police units to closely monitor the reopening of some tourist sites and other leisure spots in Metro Manila and the provinces of Cavite, Bulacan, Rizal, and Laguna.

The said areas have been placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions from May 15 to 31.

Eleazar noted that over the weekend, some people have started visiting outdoor tourist attractions in GCQ areas, which were allowed to operate at 30 percent capacity.

Some areas in Intramuros, Manila, such as the Fort Santiago and the Baluarte de San Diego, have also opened their doors to visitors on Monday.

While Eleazar understands the excitement of most Filipinos over being able to finally go outdoors for leisure, he stressed the need to still take the necessary precautions against COVID-19 to prevent transmission.

“Inaasahan na namin ang pagdami ng mga taong magsisilabasan dahil nga nagkaroon ng adjustments sa allowed capacity rates ng ating business establishments at leisure areas. Ito ay amin nang napaghandaan at mahigpit na babantayan,” he said in a statement.

“Bagamat naiintindihan po namin na sabik na lumabas ng kani-kanilang mga bahay ang ating mga kababayan, gusto lang po naming magbigay ng paalala na posibleng mas tumagal pa tayo sa ganitong sitwasyon kung tayo ay lalabag sa IATF guidelines at hindi susunod sa minimum health safety protocols,” he added.

The PNP chief reminded police units to be on the lookout for violations of minimum public health safety protocols and to coordinate closely with local government units in securing tourist attractions and leisure spots.

He also urged the public to limit their movement to essential travels.

“We ask our kababayan within the NCR Plus to restrict their travel within the Bubble. At para naman doon sa mga nasa labas ng Bubble, huwag na po nating pilitin na pumasok pa unless essential travel po ang inyong lakad,” he said.

“Kung hindi po talaga natin maiiwasan ang paglabas, remember to always wear your face masks and face shields and observe physical distancing.”

He also reminded the management of businesses allowed to operate, including tourist spots and leisure areas, to strictly abide by the IATF guidelines on capacity rates and impose minimum health safety protocols on their patrons.

MMDA to resume truck ban after NCR Plus switched to GCQ

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will resume the truck ban in Metro Manila beginning May 17 after quarantine classifications switched to general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions.

Under the agency’s existing policy, trucks are banned from traversing along major roads in Metro Manila from Monday to Saturday 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

A total truck ban is enforced along EDSA, from Magallanes Interchange in Makati City to North Avenue in Quezon City, 24 hours a day, from Monday to Sunday.

Meanwhile, trucks carrying perishable and agricultural foodstuffs are exempted from the ban. AAC

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