QC renews call for companies to report possible COVID-19 cases, eyes suit vs. construction firm

QC renews call for companies to report possible COVID-19 cases, eyes suit vs. construction firm

Photo of MEC’s Manhattan condominium project in Cubao, Quezon City

By Rjhay E. Laurea

MANILA — The Quezon City government has reiterated its call to companies to report possible cases of COVID-19 right away.

This, after workers of a construction firm plan to sue their employer for violation of COVID-19 protocols.

“We call on companies to immediately inform us about their workers who could be positive for COVID-19. This is to avoid the spread of the virus in their work area and to nearby communities,” Mayor Joy Belmonte said.

“Kung hindi kayo makikipagtulungan at magdudulot kayo ng abala pati na sa komunidad, hindi kami magdadalawang-isip na sampahan kayo ng kaso (If you are not to cooperate and you will cause a disturbance to people and community, we will not hesitate to file a case against you),” she added.

Belmonte signed a reminder after City Atty. Orlando Paolo Casimiro said that cases would be filed for violation of health protocols against Millennium Erector Corporation (MEC) after 57 cases of CoViD-19 were recorded around its surroundings.

MEC is the one handling the construction of the Manhattan project in Cubao.

“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 2.c of the IRR of RA 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act,” Casimiro said.

The Department of the Building Official (DBO), headed by Atty. Dale Perral, initialled the filing of charges for violation of RA 11332 after it signed a Cease and Desist Order (CDO) last August 26 against MEC to halt all construction activities.

“The CDO will not be lifted until there is clearance from the CESU and DBO,” said Perral.

After discovering one index case last August 16, the City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU) began mass testing of 271 staff, 13 of which turned out positive and were brought to the city’s HOPE facility.

The area was also put under Special Concern Lockdown on August 21, the 13 positive workers were brought to HOPE.

On August 26, the CESU began mass testing anew on the first negative workers after the contact tracers and the barangay noticed that there were several asking for paracetamol and they were coughing. It turned out, CESU said 30 more staff tested positive for COVID-19.

Many labor groups also filed to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for possible labor violations committed by the construction firm, as well as non-payment of wages and night differential, among others. (ai/mtvn)

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