PH Labor chief apologizes to Dubai gov’t over report on OFW death due to coronavirus
Robie de Guzman • February 7, 2020 • 621
MANILA, Philippines – Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Friday issued an apology to the government of Dubai for his earlier statement that a Filipino worker there recently died of coronavirus.
In a statement, DOLE clarified that the death of Filipino worker, identified as Amalia Collado Daproza, was not a case of novel coronavirus.
“Based on a belated report received by the office of Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III from the Philippine Labor Office in Dubai, results of confirmatory tests conducted by the Pathology and Genetics Department of the Dubai Health Authority on Daproza’s specimen yielded negative of the novel coronavirus,” DOLE said.
“Secretary Bello nonetheless wishes to apologize to the government of Dubai for the confusion and whatever anxiety that the announcement may have caused,” it added.
Bello on Thursday told media that a Filipino in Dubai had died of “coronavirus” based on earlier information provided to his office.
He, however, did not say if the worker was infected with the novel coronavirus strain which caused the outbreak in China.
The Dubai Government Media Office in a Facebook post denied Bello’s claim, saying tests conducted on the deceased person showed she did not contract the virus.
“The Dubai government media office denied the validity of the statements by the Philippine minister of labor regarding the death of a Filipino woman in Dubai due to the new coronavirus,” the post stated.
“The deceased was suffering from a respiratory infection and laboratory tests showed she did not have the virus,” it added.
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)
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is doubling its efforts to finally send off all the remaining overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in government quarantine facilities in Metro Manila.
To date, DOLE has sent around 19,000 OFWs and according to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, hopefully they will be able to send home the rest of them within this week.
Likewise, Bello apologized to all stranded OFWs for their prolonged stay in quarantine facilities.
To address the matter, DOLE set up a command center at its central office in Manila to facilitate the gathering of all the necessary information regarding arriving OFWs.
“Inaasahan natin with this center hindi na po mauulit ang nangyari sa ating mga minamahal sa buhay [We hope that with this center, what happened to our loved ones will not be repeated],” Bello said.
“They do not deserve this to happen to them. And I repeat I am very sorry to our OFWs,” the Labor Chief added.
The command center is open 24/7 to accept inquiry and to assist all OFWs.
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) announced that it has formed task force groups to expedite the return of quarantined overseas Filipino workers (OFW) to their respective homes.
In a statement issued Wednesday, DOLE said the task groups, dubbed as “balik-probinsiya” and “balik-abroad,” will help fast track the movement of OFWs from various quarantine facilities to their respective home destinations, as well as facilitate the speedy processing of outbound workers.
The move follows President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to immediately send home all OFWs who tested negative for COVID-19 conducted by the Philippine Coast Guard and the Red Cross.
DOLE said about 24,000 OFWs have been kept in government-designated quarantine facilities since their return to the country. Most workers had complained of the slow release of their results and clearances after weeks and even months of quarantine and tests.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, however, said the government did not intend to inconvenience the returning OFWs with their prolonged quarantine and delayed test results.
“DOLE and OWWA simply had no control over the testing and issuance of clearances,” he said.
Bello said he had ordered the designation of additional personnel from its regional and attached agencies to beef up the manpower requirement of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration in ensuring the smooth land and air transport, and monitoring of OFWs from various quarantine facilities to their respective home destinations.
In an administrative order, Bello also formed a separate task group to ease the processing of outbound land and sea-based workers whose country of destination has lifted the restrictions on the employment of foreign workers.
“We are doing this so as we don’t lose the jobs for our OFWs, while at the same time we help facilitate the quick homecoming and be of assistance to our returning workers,” the labor chief said.
Aside from facilitating the processing of inbound and outbound OFWs, the ‘hatid-probinsya’ and ‘balik-abroad’ task groups will serve as monitoring offices for onsite OFWs and those seeking repatriation, DOLE said.
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