DOH, DOLE urged to step in amid air purifier mandates
CEBU CITY, Philippines — A labor group here in Cebu is calling for national government agencies to intervene in the recent orders of the Capitol mandating air purifiers for workers in air-conditioned environments.
The Alyansa sa mga Mamumuo sa Sugbo – Kilusang Mayo Uno (AMA Sugbo-KMU) urged the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Health (DOH) to take action on the provincial government’s Executive Order (EO) requiring wearable air purifiers in workplaces with poor ventilation.
Jaime Paglinawan, chairperson of AMA Sugbo-KMU, urged DOLE and DOH to counter Executive Order No. 42 of Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia.
Paglinawan, in a press release, said directing employees to have wearable air purifiers would just be an added burden, and that the Capitol should be the ones providing them.
“Dugang lang kini nga gasto sa mga mamumuo. Kon ipamugos man sa gobyerno sa Cebu ang pagsul-ob niini, dapat sila ang mogasto ani, dili ang mga mamumuo,” Paglinawan said.
(This will be an added expense to the workers. If the government of Cebu Province would force them to wear it, then they should be the ones to spend for it and not the workers.)
He said that the government should instead prioritize on fast-tracking the vaccination drive, and provide free medicines for COVID-positive patients.
“Nanawagan mi sa DOLE ug sa DOH nga mobabag ani nga mando. Mao ba ni ang focus karon sa atong gobyerno? Dapat unta mas hatagan og pagtagad ang pagpapaspas sa pagpabakuna, contact tracing, paghatag og libre nga pagpatambal sa mga nagka-COVID nga mga empleyado, ug ayuda. Dili unta ang air purifier,” said Paglinawan.
(We call on the DOLE and the DOH to stop this order. Is this the focus of our government today? They should instead give more focus on fast increase of those who would be vaccinated, contact tracing, and to provide free medicines and assistance to those workers infected with the virus. This should not be the air purifier.)
Garcia issued EO No. 72 last September 7 which served as guidelines for Cebu province’s General Community Quarantine (GCQ) phase.
The province’s quarantine status is expected to last until September 30.
The EO required not only employees working in establishments with poor ventilation to wear air purifiers but also employers to install this equipment.
Another Cebu-based labor group, Partido Manggagawa Cebu Chapter, earlier expressed opposition to the new orders and requested the governor to reconsider her decision.
Last July, the Capitol also required drivers and conductors of public utility vehicles (PUVs) to wear air purifiers, a move that drew flak from the netizens.
DOH, for their part, reiterated their position stating that they would not recommend air purifiers as effective measures in preventing COVID-19, citing the lack of peer-reviewed studies.
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