Projects under the government's Build, Build, Build (BBB) program will partially resume after the Secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways, Mark Villar, made the announcement yesterday.
The DPWH Secretary said that the construction of BBB projects will only resume in areas under General Community Quarantine (GCQ). As for DPWH construction workers located in ECQ areas, they will only be allowed to work on quarantine and isolation facilities, health facilities, emergency and maintenance works, flood control, as well as other disaster risk reduction and rehabilitation works.
"On areas under the general community quarantine (GCQ), private and public construction projects will be allowed to resume following compliance to the construction safety guidelines prescribed for the implementation of infrastructure projects during the COVID-19 public health crisis," said Villar.
The DPWH Secretary mentioned that workers aged 21 to 59 years old without pre-existing health conditions will be allowed to work. Before being deployed, the workers will be required to undergo COVID-19 testing as prescribed by the Department of Health (DOH).
Attached concessionaires, suppliers, contractors, and subcontractors will provide the workers with the necessary welfare facilities and amenities. These will include quarters for lodging and boarding that will follow strict social distancing measures, proper hygiene, etc.
"Employees shall be housed in their respective quarters for the entire duration of the project covered by the ECQ and GCQ. Otherwise, 'Prior to Deployment' procedures shall be conducted at every instance of re-entry. Errands to be conducted outside the construction site premises shall be kept to a minimum. The number of personnel running errands shall be limited and shall be properly disinfected and closely monitored for symptoms within 14 days upon reentry," added Villar.
Daily monitoring of pre and post work health conditions of workers will be mandatory. Meanwhile, work activities will be strictly monitored by the Safety Officer at the site to ensure compliance with safety standards and quarantine protocols.
Should a worker manifest symptoms relative to COVID-19, they shall be immediately isolated and quarantined for 14 days. If necessary, they will be brought to the nearest DOH treatment facility under strict confidentiality and privacy.
To date, the country now has over 9,200 confirmed cases, 607 deaths, and 1,214 recoveries. The ECQ is set to be lifted this coming May 15, 2020, while some areas have already shifted (or are preparing to shift) to GCQ. There is no word yet if the ECQ will be extended in some areas, or if a modified quarantine will be implemented instead.