Cebu business sector willing to police self to help reduce COVID cases
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu business sector is willing to police themselves in order to help reduce the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the city.
This they promised during the Cebu Citizens’ Initiative forum on February 25, 2021, discussing the COVID-19 situation in Cebu and why the cases remain high.
Interagency Task Force Chief Implementer for the Visayas, Melquiades Feliciano, said the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has traced most of the transmission to the workplaces and establishments especially in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry.
“The business establishment having a higher transmission is the BPO. What the EOC does is find out why there were breaches in the establishment and making them aware how to live with COVID. We keep on emphasizing, the only way that COVID transmits is when you start to remove your mask,” said Feliciano.
Felix Taguiam, the president of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industries (CCCI), said the business sector has long been policing itself through the establishment of health protocol officers or marshalls that connect the establishment directly to the EOC.
However, he concedes that there is more to be done and the business sector can encourage more awareness in its workers who may get comfortable in their workplaces and co-workers eventually forgetting the minimum health protocols.
“What we may know, the business sector itself is policing its own ranks. Many establishments, when they find a positive case within their ranks, they voluntarily close a branch, office, or factory, to conduct disinfection,” said Taguiam.
Taguiam added that the Department of Trade and Industries (DTI) has been conducting surprise inspections to check the implementation of health protocols as well.
As to whether erring business establishments deserve to face more penalties if proven to violate health protocols, Taguiam said the local authorities will have to decide on this.
The local government units (LGUs) may impose harsher penalties to establishments such as suspending their permits or downright revoking them.
“There are really other establishments who are not following. Makita nato sa mga sidestreet and carenderias as of date. So as much as we would like to do a work-safe protocol, it would be very hard for people who would never police themselves,” said Taguiam.
Feliciano reminded the establishments where transmission is most prevalent, in BPOs, banks, and carenderias, that transmission is highest when people are eating together.
Eating together of workers must be refrained especially in banks and BPOs. In carenderias, the management must ensure that the social distancing has been followed to avoid transmission.
For CCCI, Taguiam said there is a willingness of many to cooperate because all business establishments want Cebu to reopen its economy fully, but he understands there are still polishments needed to be made in the protocols.
He urges the establishments to review their protocols and the implementation of such so as to avoid COVID-19 transmissions there. /rcg
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