Government to help OFWs regain jobs lost due to coronavirus crisis – DOLE
Robie de Guzman • July 20, 2020 • 299
MANILA, Philippines – Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III has assured that the government will exhaust all means to help overseas Filipino workers (OFW) regain jobs they lost due to the economic fallout brought about by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a statement issued over the weekend, Bello said the possibility of OFWs being rehired by their former employers gained ground with the reopening of many economies around the world amid the public health crisis.
“Many governments went ahead of us in easing restrictions. Their industries are almost fully operational again by now. They could recall our OFWs anytime,” Bello said.
If that happens, he said the labor department is committed to provide assistance required by OFWs.
The labor chief also assured the government is ready to discuss with foreign governments new policies on migrant workers in terms of the safety and health measures against the viral respiratory disease.
“They might ask more requirements from our OFWs like government certifications to prove they are not a threat to the health and safety of their people. We can do that,” Bello said.
He also raised the possibilities that OFWs could be rehired en masse by economies that are fast recovering.
“That would require transportation and if our OFWs need chartered flights we will do our best to come up with enough logistics for that,” he added.
Earlier, experts from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) noted the pandemic could trigger stricter health and safety rules among recovering economies against workers from countries with weak anti-COVID-19 system.
But Bello said there is nothing to worry about the Philippines’ way of dealing with the pandemic as the government has sustained a strong and effective response against the outbreak.
“The last time we checked our health system and responses to control the virus, we’re just doing fine,” he said.
The Department of Health (DOH) will allow private companies to implement lockdown in their offices or health care facilities to prevent coronavirus disease (COVID-19) exposure.
DOH Spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said aside from the minimum health protocols, private companies should also consider the mental health of their employees if they will implement a lockdown.
“For example may mga ibang ospital (For example, there are hospitals) that would rather have their employees stay with them, they have their dormitory. Wala munang uuwi dito muna kasi kapag umuwi kayo sa community you go back at nadadala niyo ang mga impeksyon dito (No one will go home yet because, once you go home to your community and you come back, you might bring the infection here),“ she said.
According to the Health Department, the duration of the lockdown will depend on the agreement between the company and its employees. She also reminded employees that they can also decline being put into lockdown.
“Hindi naman dapat pumayag din ang isang employee kung iyan ay labag sa kaniya. Mayroon naman silang ganoong karapatan kailangan lang po na naipapaliwang ng maayos (Employees don’t need to agree if they don’t want to. They have the right to do so. Things must be explained properly),” Vergeire added.
The health official also reminded private companies to make sure that their employees understand the reason behind the lockdown, taking into account the difficulty of being away from their families especially during the pandemic.
Vergeire also said employees should also be able to talk to experts with regards to their mental health.
“It is okay not to be okay especially at this time during our situation in the pandemic. Okay lang po iyan lahat tayo nakakaramdam ng ganiyan (That’s okay, we all feel that). We just have to have that coping mechanism,” she said. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)
MANILA, Philippines – The number of Filipino crew members who have contracted novel coronavirus disease aboard a ship off Port Hedland has climbed to 17, the Department of Health Western Australia (WA) reported.
In a media release on Monday, the department said the eight new positive cases from the ship Patricia Oldendorff are part of the crew who were transferred to hotel quarantine.
“This brings the total confirmed cases associated with the vessel to 17 —seven aboard the vessel as part of the essential crew and 10 in hotel quarantine,” the Department of Health WA said.
The four remaining crew have tested negative, it added.
The ship is maintained by Filipino crew with 20 members and a captain.
“All crew members are in good spirits and have been able to contact family at home. Crew also have been provided access to culturally appropriate food by a Filipino chef,” the department said.
“Planning continues with the vessel operator, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and Pilbara Ports Authority regarding the safety of the vessel and potential replacement crew – if required. Daily cleaning of the vessel also continues,” it added.
The vessel arrived in Port Hedland on Sept. 16. Prior to their arrival, the vessel had a crew change in the Philippines on Sept. 5, according to the statement of the shipping company Oldendorff Carriers.
The shipping company said all crew members underwent quarantine process in the Philippines and yielded negative results when tested with PNA-PCR prior to joining the vessel.
Upon arrival in Port Hedland, the captain notified port authorities that two crewmembers were not feeling well.
“The authorities arranged for the crew to be tested and two crewmembers initially tested positive for the virus. Subsequent RNA-PCR tests have shown that 17 crewmembers have now tested positive,” it said.
The company assured that “all crewmembers on board as well as in shore-quarantine are feeling well with only a few seamen showing very slight infection symptoms.”
“We are very concerned about the health and wellbeing of our crewmembers and those caring for them,” it said.
“The authorities have been managing the situation with upmost professionalism. Every effort is being made to contain and improve the situation as quickly as possible,” it added.
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday urged local government units (LGU) in Metro Manila to endorse to Oplan Kalinga quarantine facilities mild and asymptomatic novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients that could no longer be accommodated in local isolation centers.
In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said there now 4,000 beds available in Oplan Kalinga facilities due to the increase in discharges or recoveries in the previous weeks.
“We urge all Metro Manila LGUs to endorse patients which they can no longer accommodate in their local isolation facilities to endorse them to the Mega TTMFs and Oplan Kalinga Hotels which now has some 4,000 beds available because many have already been discharged,” he said.
Año said this is in compliance with Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Resolution No. 74 which states that all confirmed mild and asymptomatic COVID-19 patients are required to isolate in government-approved facilities, except those who are vulnerable or have comorbidities as certified by a local health officer.
Also exempted in this rule are confirmed mild and asymptomatic COVID-19 patients in areas where the government-recognized isolation centers are in full capacity.
“Meron tayong mga Mega Quarantine Facilities and 31 COVID hotels na kung saan puwede sila mag-isolate. Importante kasi talaga na mailabas sila sa bahay kasi nakahahawa sa pamilya,” the DILG chief said.
According to DILG spokesperson, Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, LGUs can coordinate directly with the One Hospital Command Center (OHCC) located at the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) which was created to facilitate a comprehensive and coordinated response to the pandemic by ensuring an efficient health facility referral in Metro Manila.
Malaya said that with the establishment of the OHCC, LGUs and individuals can now easily locate hospitals or isolation facilities near them.
The DILG said the command center is open 24/7 and individuals needing treatment may call the OHCC hotlines at 0927-728-0750, 0927-728-0753, 0927-728-0755, and 0927-728-0798.
Individuals needing assistance from the OHCC may also download the PureForce Citizens App via Google Play Store or App Store, it added.
UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.