As of June 28, the Philippines records a total of 1.4M cases of Covid19 with 52,000 active cases, 1.3M recoveries, and 24,000 deaths according to the Department of Health. CALABARZON ranks second among the top regions with the highest cases of Covid19. While Quezon City ranks first among the cities with the highest cases, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal are among the top provinces. Further, Laguna tops the record among provinces with still 3,320 new cases in the last 14 days by the date of onset of illness. 

To ensure the safety of its employees, the DENR CALABARZON has implemented various initiatives in its Regional Office located in Brgy. Mayapa, Calamba City, Laguna. In December 2020, the Region formed its Safety and Health Committee in compliance with CSC-DOH-DOLE Joint Memorandum Circular No. 1, Series of 2020 re: “Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Standards for Public Sector”. Development of OSH policy and standards internal to DENR 4A, planning and development of health related trainings/seminars for further promotion of accident prevention programs in the workplace, initiating and implementing improvement of working conditions for a safe and healthy working environment, and developing and maintaining contingency plans and providing trainings/seminars in handling disaster situations are the duties and functions of the committee, among others. 

In June, the Administrative Division implemented the use of StaySafe App - the official contact tracing system in the Philippines using Google Apple Exposure Notification System. With the use of the application, the employees will be automatically notified once they have been near someone who has submitted a positive Covid19 result. All entrances in the Regional Office were installed with QR code signage for employees to scan every day and update their health status. Once popularized among the employees, this will ease the health monitoring and contact tracing system of the Office. 

Further, a survey form was distributed in the DENR4A Regional Office to identify employees who are willing to be vaccinated. For those who affirmed, through coordination with the City Government of Calamba, a total of 10 Regional Office employees were already vaccinated and 18 more belonging to the A2-A3 priority list are lined up for the next batch of vaccination. Employees with comorbidity and senior citizen are the top priority. Meanwhile, a total of 30 employees were vaccinated through their respective LGUs. 

To ensure the safety of the physically reporting employees, the management also released a protocol for personnel who have been positive with Covid19 to submit negative swab results before reporting back at the Office after their quarantine. In learning events organized by the Office, aside from ensuring compliance to health protocols, the management also eyes the possibility for all its participants to undergo an antigen test. In doing so, coordination with various concerned agencies and local governments will be done. 

Moreover, the Office continuously provides service vehicles for the DENR4A skeletal workforce to reduce the possibility of exposure to Covid. Based on the community quarantine declared in the City, DENR4A consistently follows the IATF protocols for the percentage of employees allowed to physically report to work. As much as possible, face-to-face contact is being limited; hence, meetings, seminars, learning events, even examinations and interviews for job applications in the Office were done online. A weekly disinfection of its premises is also done. 

As the DENR4A faces the new normal, and with the advent of new technologies, new strategies in combating Covid19 will arise. The Agency only asks for the cooperation of its employees for a safer and Covid-free workplace. ###