Construction firm faces charges for not reporting Covid-19 cases

Construction firm faces charges for not reporting Covid-19 cases

MANILA – The Quezon City Legal Department will file charges against a construction company for violation of health protocols after 57 cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) were recorded within its premises.

QC Legal Department head, lawyer Orlando Paolo Casimiro, said on Tuesday they are already preparing the case against Millennium Erector Corporation (MEC), which is undertaking the construction of high-rise condominium building Manhattan Heights in Cubao.

The City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU) first received the report of one positive Covid-19 case on August 16.

After mass testing 271 workers, 13 more turned out positive and were brought to the HOPE quarantine facility while the construction area was placed under Special Concern Lockdown.

On August 21, an additional 13 workers tested positive.

When the CESU conducted another mass test on August 26, the contact tracers and village officials said several workers asked for paracetamol and were coughing.

Thirty more were confirmed to be infected.

The Department of the Building Official (DBO), led by lawyer Dale Peral, endorsed the filing of charges against MEC for violation of Republic Act 11332, or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.

The DBO also issued a cease and desist order for MEC to halt all construction activities.

The order will be lifted only if CESU and DBO issue a clearance.

“If evidence proves that MEC was aware of its workers’ situation but failed to report to the CESU, then they may be held criminally liable pursuant to Section 6C of the IRR (implementing rules and regulations) of RA 11332,” Casimiro said in a statement.

Section 6C of the law requires workplaces, among other agencies, to “accurately and immediately report notifiable diseases and health events of public health concern”.

In a separate statement, Mayor Joy Belmonte reminded all businesses to cooperate with the local government and immediately report any or possible Covid-19 cases among their workers.

“Kung hindi kayo makikipagtulungan at magdudulot kayo ng abala pati na sa komunidad, hindi kami magdadalawang isip na sampahan kayo ng kaso (We will not hesitate to file cases against you if you will not cooperate and eventually affect the community),” Belmonte said.

As of September 12, the city has 13,018 active Covid-19 cases while 43 areas are under lockdown. (PNA)

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