DESPITE the objection of a labor group, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia stood by her policy requiring workers in air-conditioned and poorly ventilated workplaces to wear personal air purifiers.
She challenged critics opposing this policy to run for governor so they can impose their own rules against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
She insisted that air purifiers provide added protection in air-conditioned and poorly ventilated areas, where the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 could linger in the air.
“We’ll just continue with what I believe is right for the province. If you have other ideas, run for governor. Maybe the people might choose you and then if you succeed in becoming a governor, then you will implement your own policies,” she said in a press conference on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021.
“But right now, I am the one tasked. I am the one who has the mandate. You may you have your ideas but you were not elected. You were not chosen by the people. This is my responsibility. Those of you who insist on your ideas are lucky because you have only yourselves or your families to take care of while I am responsible for millions of Cebuanos. So I have the mandate so I’ll take responsibility for my decisions,” Garcia added.
She said her policy must be effective because Covid-19 cases in the Province have gone down. From Sept. 1 to 15, Cebu had an average of 190 new cases per day and almost 25 deaths per day based on the Department of Health (DOH) regional case bulletins.
Garcia also pointed out that the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) does not prohibit air purifiers.
The DOH does not recommend the use of ionizing air purifiers while the National Institutes of Health and the Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, which craft the Philippine Covid-19 Living Recommendations, strongly recommend against these because of low quality of evidence that these can protect against Covid-19.
Garcia first required drivers and conductors of public utility vehicles (PUV) to each wear air purifiers. Her Executive Order EO 41-2021 requires the same gadget among employees of air-conditioned and poorly ventilated establishments.
The establishments, on the other hand, are required to install high efficiency particulate air (Hepa) filters and ionizers as well as sterilize the premises using an ultraviolet germicidal light after business hours.
Earlier, the Alyansa sa mga Mamumuo sa Sugbo-Kilusang Mayo Uno (AMA Sugbo-KMU) said in a statement that Garcia’s executive order will add burden to minimum wage earners. (MVE)