Mandatory use of face shield in workplaces starts August 15 — DOLE

Marje Pelayo   •   August 13, 2020   •   830

MANILA, Philippines — Employees commuting to work will have to get used to wearing face shields not only in public transport but even inside their workplaces.

Following the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) order of mandatory use of face shield in public transport in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has ordered similar requirements in workplaces starting August 15, regardless of whatever community quarantine measure is in effect.

Such a measure is for added protection against coronavirus disease (COVID-19), DOLE said. 

According to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, employees need not worry of the expenses as employers will be the one to provide them with a face shield. 

“This face shield is intended to prevent the transmission of the virus inside the workplaces kasi may findings ang Department of Health at saka  iyong mga medical expert na iyong contamination o iyong transmission hindi lang through nose or the mouth (following DOH’s findings and experts’ advise that the contamination or transmission does not only go through nose or the mouth),” Bello said.

Kasama rin ang tenga at ang mata, kaya para matiyak natin na walang transmission, walang hawahan ay bigyan na natin ang mga workers ng protective faceshield (It could be through the ears and eyes. To ensure that no transmission will occur, let us give our workers protective shields),” he added.

Bello said employers who will go against the order could face administrative liability which incurs warning or penalty depending on circumstances.

The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) agrees with the directive.

Okay lang siguro iyon kasi mura lang naman saka reusable (I think that’s okay. It doesn’t cost that much and it’s reusable), so I think we’ll just encourage our [members] to comply, ” said ECOP President Sergio Ortiz.

Aside from mandatory face shield, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) guideline restricts dining in groups and smoking in common areas of the building.

The Department of Health (DOH) has already set the suggested retail price (SRP) for each piece of face shield at P26 to P50 only.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said there is no reason to hoard as the country has enough supply of the protective equipment.

“Kasi marami tayong local manufacturers nito. Iyong mga nagrere-purpose from other products […] nagstart na gumawa ng face mask, PPEs, face shield. So marami tayong suplay hindi tayo mauubusan (We have local manufacturers. Those who are repurposing their production lines have started making face masks, PPEs, face shields. So we have enough supply. We won’t run out of [protective equipment]),” assured DTI Undersecretary Ruth Castelo. MNP (with details from Joan Nano)

DILG tells LGUs: Endorse mild, asymptomatic COVID-19 patients to Oplan Kalinga facilities

Robie de Guzman   •   September 28, 2020

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.

30,000 OFW children in college to benefit from P1-B education subsidy

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 28, 2020

More than 30,000 college students who are dependents of repatriated, displaced, and deceased overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will benefit from the government’s P1 billion education subsidy, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III signed a memorandum of agreement to launch “Tabang OFW”. The program aims to provide a one-time financial assistance of P30,000 to one college-level dependent of a repatriated, displaced, or deceased OFW.

Bello said the program is just one of the government’s ways of reciprocating the sacrifices of overseas Filipinos.

“We hope this will go a long way in helping our OFWs and their children in these most challenging times. By doing this, we also hope we can partly repay our modern-day heroes,” he said.

Under the agreement the Labor Department shall issue orders, circulars or guidelines that will spell out the effective and efficient implementation of the program while the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) will release the funds amounting to P1 billion to DOLE for its implementation.

The Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) will assist DOLE on the promotion and other information dissemination activities of the program. AAC

PH seeks rescue assistance from China, S. Korea, Taiwan to locate missing seafarers from sunken Gulf Livestock 1

Marje Pelayo   •   September 25, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said it has sought the assistance of national Coast Guards from China, South Korea and Taiwan to help locate the Filipino crew men of the livestock cargo vessel that sank off south-western Japan.

 In a meeting on Thursday (September 25), Bello assured the kin of missing seafarers that the government is doing its best to find the answers as to what happened to their loved ones. 

“I know you’re in a very difficult situation, but there’s hope,” Bello told wives, siblings and parents of the missing seafarers.

Prior to this, the Japanese Coast guard, which found three Filipino mariners—two survivors and one fatality—announced that it has stopped its special operations for the remaining crew —36 Filipinos, two Australians and two New Zealanders–of the ill-fated MV Gulf Livestock 1.

“So don’t give up on your loved ones because there’s really hope. Three foreign governments are helping us find them,” Bello, who requested the assistance abroad, said

Huang Xilian, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China, said China has already commenced rescue operations.

The Chinese government announced, however, that they have not found any sign of the missing seafarers during their rescue operations on September 19 and 20. 

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Ambassador Peiyung Hsu told Belo his request was immediately conveyed to the Taiwan Coast Guard (TCG).

“Rest assured that your good office will be kept posted on any findings or developments of the said operations,” he said.

Meanwhile, South Korean Ambassador Han Dong-Man in response to Bello’s request said he has already forwarded the endorsement to their Ministry of Foreign Affairs for proper action.

“I am hoping that our government’s participation in any search and rescue operation that may be conducted will shed light on the status of the missing crew,” the official added.

Given these developments, families of the missing mariners thanked Bello for giving them hope. Each family of the victims present during the meeting was given financial assistance by DOLE through the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

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