To revive economy, review protocols that make coming to work hard­ECOP exec

Even without a shift to the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) yet, steps can already be taken to make it easier to come to work to help accelerate Philippine economic recovery, according to the leader of an employers’ group.

Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis Jr., president of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) said in a recent online interview with CNN Philippines that the community quarantine status of the country is not as important as the measures being taken to help ease restrictions and restart the economy.

“MGCQ is just a name. We can still do a lot even if we don’t go to MGCQ because there are still things that can be done in reviewing the protocols, reviewing the procedures” so that employees will be able to go to their place of work and companies will consider it worthwhile to continue operating and employing people,” Ortiz-Luis Jr., who is also the president of the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc., said

“So, I think the nomenclature is not that important. What is important now is the attitude even from the IATF [Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases] that they can now start relaxing some of the protocols and correct some of the things that make it difficult for people to come to work,” he added.

The country’s economic managers last month recommended placing the country under MGCQ, the least stringent form of community quarantine, to further relax restrictions and revive up to 95% of the economy.

With the rollout of the mass vaccination program last March 1, the economic team is pushing for the transition to MGCQ by April.

Meanwhile, in a separate interview on ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo, Ortiz-Luis, Jr. debunked reports that some companies are supposedly imposing a “no vaccination, no work” policy.

He said this is not true since it would be “impractical” to adopt such a rule.

“Unang-una hindi praktikal. Karamihan sa mgamaliliit na kumpanya ay umaasa lamang sa bakuna ng gobyerno. Hindi mo naman alam kung kelan darating iyon. Yung mga nag-import naman sumusunod din lang sa schedule ng gobyerno. Pinaka-maaga niyan baka June pa ang mga kumpanya makakakuha. So paano ma-i-impose yung “no vaccination, no work?” he said.

(Translation: “It’s not practical. Many of the small companies are just relying on the government for the vaccines and you don’t know when they are arriving. Those who imported are also just following the government’s schedule. The earliest the companies can get the vaccines might be June. So how can they impose “no vaccination, no work”]

He further said the importation of vaccines by the private sector and the local government units should be encouraged because “kabawasan yan sa gastos ng gobyerno [it’s less expense for the government].”

Meanwhile, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III in the same radio interview agreed that there is no such “no vaccination, no work” policy among companies, adding such a measure would be impractical since the country still does not have enough vaccines.

He said the labor department will issue an order for the guidance of both employee and employer.

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