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Personnel from the Marikina City government conduct rapid testing for Covid-19 on workers of some private companies in the city on Friday (May 15, 2020) / Marikina PIO

Senator wants workers tested for virus

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A senstor said employees who would return to work amid the relaxed restrictions should undergo COVID-19 tests.

Senator Risa Hontiveros made the statement after the Department of Labor and Employment said that such test is not mandatory.

"We need to test workers returning to work. This needs to be arranged by employers and DOH (Department of Health)," Hontiveros said on Twitter.

"We can't ease quarantine if we're not doing mass testing. Na-commit nga natin sa POGO, ba't hindi sa mga Pilipino?" she added.

Earlier in the day, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said not all employees will be required to undergo the COVID-19 test.

"Hindi mandatory ang COVID-19 testing. Kung symptomatic, i-test dapat. Pero kung hindi po, hindi mandatory ‘yan," he said, adding employers just have to comply with minimum health standards and strict sanitation protocols as they resume operations.

Hontiveros, however, stressed that some carriers of the virus are not showing any symptoms and said that the country cannot afford a "second wave" of COVID-19 transmissions.

On the other hand, the Department of Health said symptomatic screening is ideal.

Nonetheless, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian encouraged employers to have their workers tested as much as possible since COVID-19 screening conducted by accredited laboratories are covered by PhilHealth.

He shared how their family business ensures its workers' safety.

"Unang-una nagsu-survey, tinatanong kung nagkasakit sila sa loob ng 14 na araw. Kung walang sakit, walang sintomas, puwede pumasok. Kung may sakit ang iba hindi muna pinapapasok," Gatchalian said in an interview on Dobol B sa News TV.

"Ang ginagawa ho namin, nakipag-kontrata kami sa isang laboratoryo na magko-conduct ng PCR testing sa aming mga empleyado. Sagot muna ng aming korporasyon pero pwede po itong ma-reimburse sa Philhealth. Babayaran ho ito ng Philhealth kay huwag hong mag-aalala ang ating mga korporasyon dahil kasama ho sa Philhealth 'yung pagbayad po ng testing," he added.

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