BPO employees face ‘locked in’ work set-up in Ilocos Norte town

Published September 16, 2020, 2:22 PM

by Freddie Lazaro

LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte – Employees of a business processing and outsourcing (BPO) company here could find themselves “locked in” at their work place on the recommendation of the provincial government and the municipal government of San Nicolas town after seven of their co-workers reportedly tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc (Facebook / File photo / MANILA BULLETIN)
Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc (Facebook / File photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

According to Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc, it was initially determined that a lockdown of the whole fourth floor of the building which houses the BPO firm would suffice in containing the coronavirus since there was not much “inter-floor movement”.

“But with the additional cases, our doctors thought that it is necessary to lock-in the employees,” Manotoc disclosed during a virtual press briefing.

The BPO employees will undergo a 10-day strict quarantine inside the building while they continue their operation.  Also, the company will be providing necessities such as food, shelter, and beddings to its staff.

To protect the safety of the surrounding communities, the local health team of San Nicolas will regularly monitor the employees, ensuring that they remain inside of the building.

Moreover, expanded and targeted reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing has also been scheduled in the BPO company to detect silent carriers of the virus.

Earlier, the provincial government had ordered the temporary suspension of the entry of locally stranded individuals (LSIs) into Ilocos Norte from September 13 to September 18 to decongest the quarantine facilities in the province.

“Iilan na lang ang available quarantine rooms sa probinsya kaya humingi kami ng one week moratorium sa mga LSIs under the Department of the Interior and Local Government Program. Lilinawin ko lang po, hindi po kasama ang returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) sa moratorium,” Manotoc explained.

“Many of our quarantiners will be graduating this week. So we anticipate that after September 18, we will have more vacant beds in our facilities and we can continue admitting our residents,” he added.

As of Tuesday, the provincial government of Ilocos Norte has assisted 4,700 LSIs and 1,800 ROFs.

“I want to thank our kakailian for remaining disciplined and patient throughout this difficult time…I hope everyone is at peace and not too worried. Let’s take care of our bodies and our minds,” said Manotoc.