ZAMBOANGA CITY— The Department of Labor and Employment IX (DOLE9) and Department of Trade and Industry IX (DTI9) continue to monitor various private establishments to ensure the compliance to the interim guidelines on workplace prevention and control of COVID-19.

DOLE 9 Regional Director Atty. Roy L. Buenafe said that to date, a total of 930 establishments across Region 9 have already been visited by the monitoring team since June 15, 2020. However, recent developments compelled both agencies to focus on fishing and canning companies due to the large number of workers and the industry’s contribution to the city’s economy.

He also added that with the issuance of the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2020-04 or the “DTI and DOLE Supplemental Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19” last August 14, 2020, the monitoring will also focus on the additional provisions in the JMC.

In a recent visit to one of the canning companies in Ayala, Zamboanga City, RD Buenafe emphasized the wearing of face shields, together with face masks, when interacting with colleagues and visitors. Removal of face shields is only allowed when not interacting with other individuals or when the demands of the work or occupational safety and health of employees so require.

“We always emphasize the strict observance of these protocols as these will have a great impact on the battle against COVID-19. In the long-term, these efforts will safeguard the health and well-being of employees thereby increasing productivity,” Buenafe said.

The guidelines are issued to assist private institutions that are allowed to operate during the quarantine period in developing the minimum health protocols and standards in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, it aims to increase physical and mental resilience; reduce COVID-19 transmission; minimize contact rate; and reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection.