31 DAR employees test positive for COVID-19; mandatory testing of employees ordered

The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has ordered their employees to undergo mandatory coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing after more and more people tested positive for the disease in the office.

If the employee refused, he or she will not be allowed to go to work for 14 days without pay.

According to the DAR Director for Administrative Service Cupido Asuncion, up to 31 employees tested positive for the coronavirus, but 4 have recovered so there are still 27 active cases.

Although they are only and mildly symptomatic, such employees have been quarantined.

“Nasa bahay lang sila naka-isolate. They are in high spirits naman, tapos nagwo-work from pa rin naman sila,” said Asuncion.

DAR suspects they were not infected in the office or while working. It’s possible they got it outside the office, such as traveling or grocery shopping.

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31 DAR employees test positive for COVID-19; mandatory testing of employees ordered

“Yung activities nila sa labas ‘yung mga empleyado ‘yun lang ‘yung nakikita naming dahilan. Very busy si Secretary (John R. Castriciones) may directive kasi ang to continue ang pag-distribute ng mandate namin na mag-distribute for our farmers para matulungan ‘yung farmers natin lalo na ngayon,” said Asuncion.

As a result, agency officials were alarmed and Asuncion issued a memorandum for mandatory testing of employees.

“Minsan may mga takot magpa-swab, masakit daw, ganyan, eh kailangan namin silang puwersahin kasi kung halimbawang may nag-positive sa isang office ‘yung tracing nating… Kung may ayaw magpaswab eh baka mamaya sila na pala ‘yung spreader, di natin alam,” said Asuncion.

The agency also sought permission from Malacanang to implement 30 percent working capacity, which was immediately granted.

On Wednesday, the Philippines recorded 6,666 additional COVID-19 cases. In total, the country recorded 684,311 of which 91,754 were active cases.

Authorities have previously noted that there has been an increase in COVID-19 cases, particularly in Metro Manila where the DAR office and several other government agencies are located.