Sen. Villanueva wants regular COVID-19 random testing for workers

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 15 2020 07:44 PM

Members of the Quezon City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and the QC Health Department conduct a random rapid testing for severe acute respiratory syndrome- coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) to 900 residents of Barangay Immaculate Conception at the Cubao Cathedral in Quezon City on May 20. 2020. Jire Carreon, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Senate Committee on Labor chair Joel Villanueva on Wednesday urged the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to make random testing in workplaces a mandatory and regular requirement during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.

Under Villanueva's proposal, employers should shoulder the cost of the testing.

"Is it costly? I would say not so much kasi it is beneficial to businesses kaysa 'pag sumabog [ang cases] at [marami ang] mahawa," he said in an online press conference.

"Talagang mas mararamdaman [ng employer] kung [work] stoppage hindi lang ng pagawaan, kung 'di ng buong komunidad," he said, referring to the government's policy of temporarily placing businesses and communities with high COVID-19 cases under lockdown.

While the government should assist businesses in the regular random COVID-19 testing, the reality is "businesses should walk the extra mile" as the national budget may not be enough to sustain the program, the senator said.

"We are all aware na we are not in a perfect world so the businesses must do their part," he said.

"I think if they want to operate, to start the ball rolling, they really have to make that sacrifice," he added.

Several local government units have been conducting random COVID-19 testing in communities as the number of coronavirus-stricken patients in the Philippines continue to increase.

As of July 15, the Philippines recorded a total of 58,850 COVID-19 cases, including 20,976 recoveries and 1,614 deaths.