Mine workers ask for Covid-19 testing

WORKERS of Philex Mining Corporation in Pacdal, Tuba, Benguet appealed to company officials to test employees for coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

On October 21, Philex Mines Supervisory Employees Union (PMSEU) and Philex Rank and File Employees Union penned Engr. Vic Morris Yodong, Philex Mines resident manager, and expressed their concern on the alarming number of Covid-19 cases in the community and the need for employees to undergo testing.

"With this, there are strong clamor from the employees to undergo medical test against Covid-19 either Rapid Antibody-based Test or Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR test) to ensure safety and health," the group said.

Their letter was signed by PRFEU president Alex Badongen and PMSEU-president Dominador Sotelo.

"Our families were anxious about their health and safety," the group added.

It also recommended that employees who reported to the hospital for sick leave should undergo swab test before they are allowed to report back for work.

The mining firm received the letter on Wednesday, October 21, and told employees that mass testing will be conducted in the next days.

Badongen said that at present, nine employees have tested positive for the virus, eight are currently confined at the Benguet General Hospital and one is admitted at the Wangal Quarantine Facility.

He said there are a total of 1,783 regular and probationary employees.

Badongen said contact tracing is ongoing while swab testing, funded by the company, is being conducted first to the employees in the mine operations.

As of Thursday, Philex has yet to issue a statement.

On Wednesday, the local government unit of Tuba reiterated that the localized lockdown under Executive Order 38-10-20 is still in effect at Philex Mines. It urged the public to stay home and observe all health protocols and avoid holding social gatherings to prevent the spread of the virus.

The Provincial Government of Benguet said Wednesday, October 21, that were 621 confirmed Covid-19 cases, with 247 active, 366 recoveries, and eight deaths.

Benguet recorded 93 new confirmed Covid-19 on Thursday, October 22, with 74 from Itogon, 14 from La Trinidad, two each from Tuba and Buguias, and one from Sablan.

This is the highest single-day number of infection the province has recorded.

On October 21, Benguet posted the highest number of recoveries at 22, with 17, including a seven-month-old, from Loacan, Itogon.


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