By Genalyn Kabiling
The government will study the possibility of allowing limited construction works of certain flagship infrastructure projects during the quarantine period, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles announced Monday.
Nograles said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) will consult experts and discuss the proposed limited public construction works in its meeting on Monday.
Social distancing measures and other health precautions must be observed if the construction of some flagship projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPHW) will be allowed to resume, according to Nograles.
“Ngayong hapong ito at baka sa susunod na mga araw, pag-uusapan namin ano ‘yung mga flagship projects ng DPWH na puwede namin — na maari na ipagpatuloy, payagang magkaroon ng activity doon sa construction works,” he said in an interview over DZMM Monday.
(This afternoon and in the coming days, we will discuss which construction works of flagship projects of the DPWH may be allowed to resume.)
“Pero siyempre pero pag-uusapan namin o sige, ano percent ng workforce, paano ang social distancing, so isa ito sa topics na pag-uusapan namin sa IATF. So specific flagship programs or projects ng DPWH, pero kailangan i-exercise natin ang social distancing measures,” he added.
(But of course the IATF must discuss the percentage of workforce that will be allowed, how social distancing will be implemented. So these are specific flagship DPWH programs or projects, but social distancing measures must be observed.)
Nograles noted that the task force will carefully decide on the matter to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease.
“Siguro magkakaroon in the following days certain…siguro mga trabaho like itong public constructions work na puwede, pero piling-pili ‘yan. Pipiliin talaga namin kasi natatakot tayo sa resurgence at magkaroon ng panibagong transmission,” he said.
(Maybe in the following days, there may be jobs like public construction works that will be allowed but these will be selected. We will choose which ones because we are afraid about any resurgence or new transmission.)
“Tatanungin natin ‘yung mga experts kung anong tingin nila dito. It’s not as if I’m saying papayagan ng IATF, sabi ko pag-uusapan pa namin.”
(We will ask the experts about their view. It’s not as if I’m saying the IATF will allow it, I said we will still discuss it.)
Last week, the government gave the green light to the resumption of “limited” work in 13 railway projects during the extended community quarantine (ECQ) period in Luzon.
The IATF approved the request of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to allow the resumption of utility relocation works and resume specified limited works on these rail projects. The projects include rail replacement works for MRT-3 which can only be done when MRT-3 is not undergoing passenger operations, according to Nograles.
The task force, however, imposed five conditions on the resumption of the railway projects, such as limited mobilization of personnel and skeletal staffing pattern, as well as provide on- or near-site accommodations and/or point-to-point shuttle services for workers; regular disinfection of workplaces, shuttles, and accommodation; regular monitoring of personnel’s health; and strict social distancing measures and proper hand hygiene.