THE Quezon City government is set to file charges against a construction firm for alleged failure to report COVID-19 transmission among its workers.
City Attorney Orlando Paolo Casimiro said charges of violation of health protocols will be filed against the Millennium Erector Corporation (MEC), which is currently undertaking the construction of Manhattan Cubao, after 57 COVID-19 cases were recorded in its premises.
The Department of the Building Official (DBO), headed by Atty. Dale Peral, endorsed the filing of charges for violation of RA 11332 after it issued a Cease and Desist Order last Aug. 26 against MEC to stop all construction activities.
“The CDO will not be lifted until there is clearance from the CESU and DBO,” said Perral.
After the discovery of one index case on Aug. 16, the City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU) conducted mass testing of 271 workers, 13 of which turned out positive and were brought to the city’s HOPE Facility.
The area was also placed under Special Concern Lockdown. On Aug. 21, an additional 13 positive workers were brought to HOPE.
On Aug. 26, the CESU conducted mass testing anew on the initially negative workers after the contact tracers and the barangay noticed that many of them were asking for paracetamol and many were coughing. As it turned out, CESU said 30 additional workers tested positive for COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Mayor Joy Belmonte reiterated her call to companies to immediately report possible coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases among their workers to prevent further transmission of the virus.
“We call on companies to immediately inform us about their workers who could be positive for COVID-19. This is to avoid the spread of the virus in their work area and to nearby communities,” Belmonte said.
“Kung hindi kayo makikipagtulungan at magdudulot kayo ng abala pati na sa komunidad, hindi kami magdadalawang isip na sampahan kayo ng kaso,” she added.
Casimiro explained that if evidence proves that MEC was aware of its workers’ situation but failed to report to the CESU, then they may be held criminally liable pursuant to Section 2.c of the IRR of RA 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.
It was also learned that various labor groups reported to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) possible labor violations committed by the construction firm, including non-payment of wages and night differential, among others.