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COVID-19 CRISIS

ECOP: Gov’t should shoulder testing of private employees


The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) on Monday called on the government to provide mass testing for private employees on the coronavirus disease, as most businesses do not have the capacity to finance having their workforce tested.

According to ECOP chairman Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr., while testing of employees is not required before they return back to work, most of the companies do not have the financial capacity to do so.

"Hindi naman compulsary 'yun, kaya lang 'yung mga kompanya, if you want to be sure, you might as well do it... Kung hindi mo naman gagawin 'yung testing mo eh baka naman may magkasakit sa'yo eh hindi masyadong maliwanag kung hanggang saan ang responsibilidad mo," he said in an interview on Dobol B sa News TV on Monday.

"Baka mamaya 'pag may magkasakit, at alam mo naman, 90% sa mga enterprises na puwedeng magbukas eh mga ano 'yan, mga micro 'yang mga 'yan, walang capacity mamili ng testing mga marami diyan," added Ortiz-Luis.

Earlier on Monday, Labor Secretary Silvestro Bello III said employees are not required to undergo COVID-19 testing before they return back to work, clarifying earlier claims of other government officials.

His remarks come after the shift to the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila and other "high-risk" areas, paving the way for the ease of restrictions and select businesses to resume operations at a limited capacity.

Ortiz-Luis said that while testing is not mandated, businesses would rather have their employees checked, but most of the MSMEs do not have the financial capacity.

"'Yan, dapat kung kakailanganin talagang mag-test eh dapat eh mag-provide ang gobyerno," he said, noting that maintaining a small business now would result to a loss given the high expense and low revenues.

"Mabigat 'yan. As a matter of fact itong umpisa na ito, baka 'yung talagang malalaki, 'yung mga malls (lang ang magbubukas) pero 'yung mga maliliit, nanonood pa 'yan. Hindi pa nila alam kung magbubukas pa o hindi," added Ortiz-Luis. — RSJ, GMA News