Contractual workers strongly rejected on Monday, July 19, the practice of having their coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) swab tests done only in the facilities chosen by the companies they are applying at.
Factory worker Paul Suarez of Bulacan claimed that the swab test in the company-accredited facility charged P1,400, which he was forced to pay after getting several loans from friends and relatives.
“Para sa mahirap na tao gaya namin kayamanan na yung ganung halaga. Sana yung kalakarang ganito ay maputol na ng gobyerno lalo lalo na ngayong pandemic na napakahirap ng buhay (For poor people like us that amount is already a treasure. I hope that the government ends this practice especially at this time of the pandemic when life is really a struggle),’’ Suarez said.
Suarez was supposed to have his swab test in Quezon City for free where he used to stay but claimed that the requirement compels him to have it done in the company’s chosen swabbing facility.
“Kailangang kailangan ko ng trabaho kaya no choice ako kung hindi sumunod sa patakaran ng kumpanya (I needed the job badly so I had no choice but to accede to the company’s policy),’’ he added.
Another factory worker from another firm who identified herself as Angel had the same experience.
“Siguro may cut yung kumpanya sa bayad naming P1,800 kung saan ako ng pa-swab test na pagaari ng isang politiko na hindi ko na pangangalanan ( maybe the company has a share on the P1,800 swab test fee charged by the facility owned by a politician whom I will not identify),’’ Angie said.
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año assured that he will coordinate and raise the matter with Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III.
“Dapat maglabas ang DOLE ng memo circular regarding this (swab testing only in accredited facilities) so I can advise the LGUs (local government units) to comply,’’ Año said. (Chito a. Chavez)