DOLE: Workers can’t be penalized due to suspension of public transport

Published March 18, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos 

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said that workers in businesses that continue to operate amid the enhanced community quarantine cannot be penalized due to the suspension of public transportation.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III speaks before the media during a press conference with President Rodrigo Duterte in Davao City on Friday. The government has imposed a ban on deployment of Filipino workers in Kuwait following the death of domestic helpers due to alleged abuses of their employers. (Keith Bacongco)
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III

Bello made the statement following reports of workers being stranded in checkpoints or being forced to find other means of transportation due to travel restrictions to contain the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a press briefing in Malacañang, Bello said workers are allowed not to report for work because of the situation.

“Kung ayaw payagan ng employers, pwedeng hindi pumasok ang manggagawa (If employers won’t allow them to be absent, the workers can still not report to work,” he said.

“Since they are under enhanced community quarantine, they are excused,” he added.

On Monday, President Duterte announced that work in the public and private sectors is limited to a skeletal workforce and a work-from-home scheme.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said workers should not worry about not going to work amid the pandemic, adding that the Palace will talk to their bosses on their behalf.

In his Monday press briefing, Panelo said he was able to talk to someone who was “scared” about going to work because he might get the disease.

“Tinanong ako anong gagawin, sabi ko (I was asked what to do. I said), ”Wag kang pumasok. Bahala na kami sa employer niyo, kakausapin namin (Don’t come to work. We’ll deal with your employers).’,” he said.

“Kasi buhay mo nakataya, eh (It is because your life is at stake now),” he added. (Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos)

class=MsoNoSpacing>According to Maj. Gen. Ernesto Torres Jr., acting AFP spokesperson, the public has nothing to fear should they see military vehicles on the streets as they are being utilized to ease the burden of stranded commuters, especially health workers who are the frontliners in the fight to contain COVID-19.

He also appealed to those who are not exempted from the enhanced quarantine to cooperate and stay at home.

“The public is encouraged to stay home in order to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 and as a consequence, save lives,” Torres said. (Martin A. Sadongdong)