THE mayors of Talisay City and the municipalities of Consolacion and Minglanilla support two proposed measures under the Project Balik Buhay (PBB).
An initiative of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV), local government, concerned national government agencies and the business sector, the PBB aims to serve as a road map that will allow businesses to open safely.
The two PBB guidelines proposed for inclusion in the executive orders that will be issued by local government units (LGUs) are randomized testing they will conduct within businesses and the suspension of business operations in a company where an employee tests positive for the Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes the coronavirus disease 2019. The random testing will be funded by the concerned LGU.
“I completely agree that LGUs conduct random testing in establishments,” Consolacion Mayor Joannes Alegado said during a Mugstoria Ta episode hosted by Assistant Secretary Jonji Gonzales and aired on the Opav Facebook page.
By implementing randomized testing, employees can continue working and the economy will flourish, he pointed out.
“This would also remind everybody that health protocol has to be followed,” Mayor Alegado said. “If there’s an employee who will test positive, it’s a signal that the health protocol (implemented) is inadequate.”
Mayor Gerard Anthony Gullas Jr. of Talisay and Mayor Elanito Peña of Minglanilla, who were also guests during the Mugstoria Ta episode, also agreed with the two guidelines.
“Of course, we are willing to help as far as the guidelines of the PBB are concerned,” Gullas said.
He recalled that when the cities of Cebu, Talisay and other areas were placed under general community quarantine, he was worried, especially when Covid-19 cases started to rise.
Gullas, Alegado and Peña were among those who attended last Friday’s presentation of the PBB, which cited the need for businesses to implement testing and strict health protocols to increase confidence within the business community.
Gullas added that they have coordinated with the businesses in the city to establish a protocol on what to do if there’s a positive case present in the workplace.
According to Peña, Minglanilla, along with other LGUs, can adopt this recommendation, citing an incident in the town when an employee of a mall tested positive for Covid-19. He said they coordinated with the mall owner and conducted contact tracing and decontamination of the mall.
Another PBB proposed guideline is the suspension of business operations if an employee tests positive for the virus.
Alegado also agreed with this proposal. “This will give discipline to our businessmen and again remind them of their responsibility to their employees so that other workers will not be infected,” he said in a mix of English and Cebuano.
He recalled that when two employees of a mall in Consolacion tested positive, they shut down the mall for 24 hours for decontamination and conducted contact tracing. Forty employees were placed under isolation. “I believe this move is effective (in containing the virus).”
Gullas emphasized the importance of having protocol for testing, contact tracing and isolation not only in the community but also for businesses. “I want clear protocol on what we have to do,” he added.
Peña said he welcomes this proposal because this would prevent the spread of infection not only among employees but also among their clients.
Under this proposal, work can resume 24 hours after the decontamination of the workplace for workers who were not in contact with or exposed to the Covid-19 positive worker.
Also, the company has to provide proof of compliance with the required Workplace Health Standards and have established proper Testing and Tracing Protocol.
Meanwhile, the workers who were in contact with the Covid-19 positive worker are required to go on a 14-day quarantine based on the company’s Testing and Tracing Protocol.
If the company is found negligent in implementing Workplace Health Standards and proper Testing and Tracing Protocol, the building, office, store or workplace has to be immediately decontaminated.
Also, these areas have to be closed for 14 days or until all employees who had close contact with the Covid-19 positive employee have been traced and tested at a Department of Health-accredited laboratory at the company’s expense, whichever is earlier.
Employers are also required to submit a report to the LGU of the measures taken to contain the disease, and show proof of compliance with required Workplace Health Standards and proper Testing and Tracing Protocol.
The LGU will only allow reopening of the building, office, store or workplace upon submission of the proof of compliance. (PR)