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Talisay, Minglanilla, Consolacion mayors ‘support’ random testing in businesses

By: Rosalie Abatayo - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | August 06,2020 - 06:37 PM

A medical worker collects blood sample for a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) rapid test in Laguna (Photo by Earvin Perias)

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The mayors of the city of Talisay and the towns of Minglanilla and Consolacion, which remain under general community quarantine (GCQ), have expressed their support to Project Balik Buhay’s proposal to make it a policy for local government units to conduct random COVID-19 testing in establishments and suspend the operations of those that have employees who test positive for the virus.

The mayors, who were guests in an episode of the OPAV Assistant Secretary Jonji Gonzales’ online talk show “Mugstoria Ta,” have expressed willingness to adopt the proposed measures.

PBB is an initiative lead by the private sector in partnership with the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas and local government units that aims to serve as a roadmap for the safe reopening of businesses in Cebu.

The random testing in establishments proposed by PBB will be funded by the concerned LGU.

Last May, the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, and Lapu-Lapu also conducted a massive community testing under the PBB using rapid antibody test, which aims to detect the community cases and determine the prevalence of the infection.

“Uyon kaayo ko nga naay pagabuhaton nga random testing ang LGU sa mga establishment… I think it’s very reasonable for the LGU to conduct random testing in our establishments to keep the workers safe,” Consolacion Mayor Joannes Alegado was quoted as saying in a press statement of OPAV.

“This would also remind everybody that health protocols have to be followed. If there’s an employee who will test positive, it’s a signal that the health protocols (implemented) are inadequate,” the mayor added.

The mayors were among those who attended the PBB presentation last July 31, which pointed out the need for businesses to conduct testing and strict health protocols.

READ: Project Balik Buhay goal: Safer workplaces

Talisay City Mayor Gerald Anthony Gullas Jr. said they are willing to help “as far as the guidelines of the PBB is concerned.”

“I want clear protocols on what we have to do,” Gullas said.

Gullas added that the city government had established coordination with businesses in the city to set protocols that will be implemented in case a worker would test positive for COVID-19.

Minglanilla Mayor Elanito Peña also agreed that LGUs can adopt the randomized testing suggestion of the PBB as he cited how the municipal government coordinated with the management of a mall in his town where an employee tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Alegado also expressed his agreement to the recommendation to suspend business operations if an employee would test positive for COVID-19 citing that it would impose discipline on businesses to remind them of their responsibility to their employees so that other workers will not be infected.

Peña said the measure will prevent the spread of the infection and protect both the establishments’ employees and clients.  He would be willing to adopt these two guidelines through an executive order.

Under PBB’s proposal, the suspension of operations of concerned establishments may last for at least 24 hours to give way for the decontamination of the workplace and compliance with health protocols.

Employees who had come in contact with their COVID-19 positive co-worker will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine.

A concerned company will need to provide proof of compliance with the required Workplace Health Standards and established proper Testing and Tracing Protocols before it will be allowed to resume operations. / dcb

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TAGS: COVID-19 testing, OPAV, private sector, Project Balik Buhay

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