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DOLE to require certain labor sectors to RT-PCR tests

The Department of Labor and Enployment (DOLE) said workers in different sectors will be required to undergo regular real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, or RT–PCR test to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.


In a statement on Sunday, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the COVID-19 testing must be at “no cost to the employees.”

In the Joint Memorandum Circular No. 20-04 series of 2020, or the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and DOLE Supplemental Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19 identified to undergo RT–PCR test are workers in the tourist zones, local manufacturing companies, transport and logistics, food retail, education, financial services, non-food retail, services, public market, construction; water supply, sewerage, and waste management; public sector, and mass media. 

The guideline specifically mandates all employees in the hospitality and tourism sectors in El Nido, Boracay, Coron, Panglao, Siargao, and other tourist zones, as identified and declared by the Department of Tourism to undergo the test once every four weeks.

For employees of manufacturing companies and public service providers in economic zones located within Special Concern Areas, they must be tested once every quarter.

Frontline and economic priority workers, or those work in high priority sectors, both public and private;  have high interaction with and exposure to the public and live or work in special concern areas, must be tested once every quarter.

Based on the guidelines, sick leave benefits, medical insurance coverage, including supplemental pay allowance, for COVID 19 RT-PCR test-confirmed employees or close contacts made to undergo a 14-day quarantine must also be provided to workers.

To properly manage asymptomatic and symptomatic cases, the DOLE-DTI guideline requires employers to ensure that the employees, regardless of work arrangements, have access to telemedicine services.

Aside from the regular testing, DOLE and DTI also mandate the wearing of face mask and face shield, providing disinfection materials and supplies in strategic areas in workplaces, including company shuttle services.

Adequate ventilation must also be strictly enforced inside the workplace, including the installation of exhaust fans and air filtration devices are also encouraged among others.

Describing the measure, Bello said: “This is so far the most comprehensive set of guidelines for the safety and protection of workers and employees in workplaces. The strict observance of these health protocols will make a big difference in our long-drawn battle to defeat Covid 19 and ensure the productivity of the Filipino workforce.'”

The joint memorandum,which took effect August 15, covers all establishments, projects, sites, including establishments located inside special economic zones and other investment promotion agencies, and all other places where work is being undertaken in all branches of economic activity, except in the public sector.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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