Edmun Liu told representatives of the business sector and the mayors of the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu and Talisay and the municipalities of Consolacion and Minglanilla during the meeting that the basic PBB strategy is to reopen the economy gradually and safely.
Release / JTF CV Shield
As business sector, local governments adopt PBB: Workplace safer
Caecent No-ot Magsumbol (The Freeman) - August 2, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  As Cebu’s economy reopens, the Project Balik Buhay is expected to serve as a roadmap for businesses to open safely – both for workers and consumers.

During last Friday’s meeting, Edmun Liu, Project Balik Buhay chairman for the private sector, presented the renovated Project Balik Buhay in the fight against COVID-19, saying three components must be observed.

These components, he said, are the need to comply with health standards, a consistent community testing and tracing and the employment of critical care capacity management.

Liu told representatives of the business sector and the mayors of the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu and Talisay and the municipalities of Consolacion and Minglanilla during the meeting that the basic PBB strategy is to reopen the economy gradually and safely.

“Why are these three (components) important? It’s all about confidence. The moment we are able to improve business confidence, consumer confidence, economic activity will resume,” Liu said.

“If people are so scared, they don’t know where to go; they don’t know which establishment is safe as humanly as possible, then people will not spend and there will be no economic activity,” he added.

Five requirements

Under the revised PBB, businesses have five requirements for them to open.

These requirements are the appointment of a designated health infection and prevention control officer (HIPCO); submission of duly signed statement of management responsibility; compliance to all general guidelines in accordance with latest IATF and Departments of Trade and Industry, Labor and Employment and Health and the local government units’ guidelines; compliance of latest industry specific guidelines as set by the relevant regulatory agencies for the industry; and, randomized testing and contact tracing protocols.

Retired Maj. Gen. Melquiades Feliciano said the implementation of the PBB is important since there is now more movement in Cebu City after its classification was downgraded to general community quarantine (GCQ).

“This (PBB) is very timely for the business sector to have these initiatives as early as now. We’d like to congratulate those who initiated this program,” Feliciano said, stressing the importance of replicating the measures implemented in Cebu City in businesses in nearby cities and municipalities.

“We should be more vigilant,” said Feliciano, especially now that Cebu City’s COVID-19 situation has improved.  “As far as the Emergency Operations Center is concerned, we are really slowly gaining ground in the control of the virus.”

Updated Plan

Earlier, Secretary Roy Cimatu, overseer of IATF in the Visayas, has approved the re-launch of the PBB but asked the proponents to come up with an updated plan.

In response, Liu presented a revised PBB which addresses the role of the private sector in the fight against COVID-19, saying the basic strategy is to reopen the economy gradually and safely.

The PBB was supposed to have a mandatory testing of employees. But the idea was opposed by many business owners as it could mean additional burden on their part.

Aside from that, many employees are hesitant to undergo testing following some negative feedback over the state of some barangay isolation center (BICs).

There is, however, free COVID-19 testing being offered by the Department of Health and the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center and there already quarantine facilities for those COVID-19 positive other than the BICs.

Dino’s appeal

In line with this, Secretary Michael Dino, Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, appealed to the private sector to do its part in the fight against COVID-19.

“I think businesses have realized they really have to do some randomized testing. At the same time, they have to be responsible for their own people,” Dino said.

Dino noted that even if one employee becomes positive of COVID-19, it would have an impact not only in the workplace but in the family as well.

“If you make your workers safe, you are always safe. Naa god mo sa usa ka community, usa ka lugar. Di gyod na pwede nga naa gyod positive sa usa ka lugar because you’ll be infected, whether you like it or not. Pag-uli nimo, igo sad imong pamilya. (You are in one community, one place. There should be no positive in one place because you’ll be infected. When you return home, your family will also be infected.) It can be a vicious cycle,” Secretary Dino said. — LPM (FREEMAN)

ECONOMY PROJECT BALIK BUHAY
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