07 September 2020 (Monday)
Pasay City – With a goal to spread awareness and information about COVID-19 during this time of pandemic, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has collaborated with the World Health Organization Philippines country office (WHO Philippines) and the Department of Health (DOH) for the four-day #ThisWorks Webinar for all PEZA ecozone locator enterprises and employees.
Started on September 1 until September 4, the #ThisWorks Webinar hopes to inform the general public about the coronavirus disease as well as discuss practical tips on the prevention and control of the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.
“We thank WHO for coming up with a practical webinar course that focuses on how a worker will reduce the risk of getting the virus at any stage during a typical workday: before going to work, at the workplace, when a fellow worker is confirmed positive and going home,” said PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza.
Re-opening of businesses
The Director General also hoped that “may the information that everyone will learn today will become a big help especially as we push for the reopening of more businesses to help our economy get back to its feet.”
To second this, DTI Undersecretary Ireneo Vizmonte also noted during the first day of the webinar that “[The webinar] is very timely. As you know, DTI is very much into pushing for more business activities to open at this time of pandemic [as] it is very much needed now.”
Vizmonte also noted that “Employers and employees have a very important role in reducing transmission, providing a better health capacity system, and in mitigating the social impact.”
COVID-19 in the workplace
Aside from WHO experts who shared and clarified information regarding the virus and its spread in the last four days, PEZA officials and representatives from PEZA locator companies, such as Harte-Hanks Philippines Inc., Adriste (Philippines), Inc., and Maxim Integrated, also gave some insights on the measures being done on the ground to protect its workers.
“Pandemic has redefined workplace for [BPO companies]. Working from home brought its new challenges,” noted by Dr. Micaela Defiesta, IBPAP LSH Committee member, as she discussed the various measures being undertaken by Harte Hanks to protect the health and welfare of their employees like making their online clinics virtual and extending it to the family of their employees.
Moreover, Mr. Richard Cohen, the VP for Operations of Maxim Integrated, explained the important role employers have in order to ensure the safety and well-being of its employees especially in times like at the moment.
“It’s in our power as people who run factories in the Philippines to keep our people safe. [And since] we already know how to do it, we must be disciplined to do it (…) and we have to make sure that the virus will not spread to our factories,” stated Cohen who is also a SEIPI Board member.
Since the start of the quarantines in March, PEZA has released numerous advisories and directives, through Memorandum Circulars, to assist and assure the unhampered delivery of services to its export-oriented companies while protecting as well the welfare of employees in the workplace.
Further, Plaza added that, “these kinds of webinars are helpful to our locator companies especially during this time of pandemic to better equip everyone of information about COVID-19 and how, in our own ways, prevent its spread and protect the health and welfare of everybody.”
“PEZA would like to thank WHO for its continued support for a healthier economic zone. We look forward for more partnership with you particularly in creating green, sustainable, healthier, and smart economic zones,” expressed Plaza.
The PEZA Chief noted, “We will continue to work with the WHO, DTI, the Department of Labor and Employment, and partner agencies in the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to keep our workers safe. As our ecozone workers go home to their communities, may they be our advocates for keeping the households safe from COVID.”