By Genalyn Kabiling
The government has urged large companies to rent living spaces for employees who reside outside Metro Manila during the month-long community quarantine against the coronavirus outbreak.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said providing temporary living quarters for employees would help limit the movement of the people to and from Metro Manila.
Under the community quarantine, the government will impose a ban on land, domestic air, and sea travel in Metro Manila starting March 15 to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The transport of food and other cargo in and out of Metro Manila will be allowed as business operations will continue on flexible work arrangements.
“Isa rin pong nakikita naming mga coping mechanism dito, I’m sure iyong ibang kumpanya will just encourage their people, their employees to find a place muna dito sa Metro Manila, umupa muna sila para less ang movement ng tao (One of the coping mechanisms we see is, I’m sure the companies will just encourage their people, their employees to find a place in Metro Manila. They can rent a place to reduce the movement of people),” Lopez said in a Palace press briefing Friday.
Lopez said companies could shoulder the rental fees for their employees at least while the community quarantine is in effect in Metro Manila.
“Actually ito naman puwedeng gawin ng employers na sila na ang kusa nila mag-upa lang ng kwarto. Sagot na nila bedspacing, hindi naman ganoon kalaki, kung gusto nila tulungan ang nagtatrabaho sa kanila (Actually the employers can rent rooms, bedspaces, this doesn’t have to be costly, if they want to help their workers),” he said.
“I think mga negosyante, malalaki naman ‘yan na pwede tulungan ang kanilang empeyado kung minimize lang ang movement in and out of the workers. Pero kung wala talaga, go through the process (I think these large businesses can help their workers if only to minimize the in and out movement of the workers. But if they can’t, the workers must go through the process),” he said.
Lopez said Metro Manila workers living in the provinces would be allowed inside the National Capital Region (NCR) despite the community quarantine. He said these workers would be required to show their company identification cards for entry into NCR.
“We would require them to issue IDs to their employees, lalo na those living outside Metro Manila, or show proof of employment,” he said.
All manufacturing, retail, and service establishments shall remain in operation as long as strict social distancing measures are observed, Lopez said.
He added that employers in the private sector are urged to consider flexible work arrangements. Businesses could deploy a skeletal workforce at the office while others work from home.
“Banks will be open, offices, factories, mga manufacturing, operations will continue. Ang ini-encourage na lang po would be a flexible work arrangement, especially sa offices (We encourage flexible work arrangement in the offices),” he said.
“With the technology now, we all know, marami ang nakakatrabaho kahit mula sa bahay (many people can work from home). So, iyon ang ini-encourage (so we encourage that) the bottom line is less movement of people,”