City monitors BPO firms on health safety protocols

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THE City Government of Davao is monitoring all business process outsourcing (BPO) establishments in the city on health safety protocol compliance, now that workers are gradually returning to their offices.

Lorna Mandin, lead city inspector on business establishments, said they had already inspected more than 10 BPO establishments since Friday, June 26, and all have been compliant with the city's directive to ensure that health measures such as handwashing stations, regular disinfection, and strict physical distancing in work stations are met.

Mandin said they prioritized the large-scale BPOs in their inspection as they comprise a larger number of workers.

"Nakita namo nga ang mga BPOs are very conscious. Dili pud sila gusto gyud [nga naa magkasakit] kay ang cost baya kay sa employers kung naay magkasakit (We saw that BPOs are very conscious when it comes to health protocols. They do not want their workers to get sick because the burden on the cost will be on the employers if any one of them gets sick)," she said on Thursday, July 2, in an interview with 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio.

Based on their communication with different BPO managers and administrators, none of their employees had been affected with coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). Although there were some who had a high fever, they were all negative from Covid-19

Mandin said her team is in coordination with other agencies such as the City Business Bureau, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Trade and Industry, and the City Health Office.

After the city was placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) on May 16, she said some agents have gradually gone back on-site, especially those who had unstable internet connectivity at home.

She added that although all of them have been compliant, her team still made a few recommendations. These include placing uni-directional floor stickers so that workers will be guided to walk in one direction to avoid face-to-face close contact, establishing a clear ventilator, and to have a "one entry, one exit" door policy in their cafeterias and restrooms.

She also recommended having a makeshift clinic and isolation area on the ground floor to ensure that those going to work in the upper floors have not manifested any symptoms linked Covid-19.

According to Davao City Investment Promotions Center investment head Christian Cambaya, a total of 85 active BPO companies are operating in Davao City.

But Mandin revealed that the operation of some small-scale BPOs was gravely affected by the pandemic that they decided to shut down.

Apparently, she said the companies cannot provide accommodation for their agents within the vicinity or implement a work-from-home arrangement when the city was placed under strict community quarantine.

She also said they had also randomly inspected some malls in the city since some BPOs are located within their areas.

During the inspection, she also reminded mall owners to mandate their security personnel to strictly implement the proper wearing of face masks of mall-goers, as she noticed few were not wearing it properly.

The official also reminded security personnel to ensure that their thermal scanners are functioning properly.


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