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Mayor Inday Sara Duterte on Thursday reminded employers that coronavirus testing for returning workers is not required but they must ensure physical distancing measures and hygiene practices inside workplaces.

Mayor Sara, however, said that if employers want to test returning workers, it should be at the company’s expense. The cost of rapid test kits ranges from Php 600 to Php 1,300 per kit.

Mayor Sara cited Section 8 (4) of the Omnibus Guidelines by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases stating that compliance with joint Return-to-Work Guidelines by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Department of Health (DOH) Return-to-Work Guidelines shall be considered sufficient compliance with minimum health standards. In no case, shall the testing of all returning workers be construed as a condition precedent for his/her return, it said.

“Meaning dili pwede i-require sa mga employers nga magtesting ang ilahang employees para makabalik og trabaho. Especially kung ang employee ang i-require ninyo nga magtesting tapos sila ang magbayad sa ilahang testing (This means employers are not allowed to require their employees to be tested before going back to work, especially if the employee will pay for the procedure),” Mayor Sara said over the Davao City Disaster Radio on Thursday.

If employers plan to use rapid test kits to test to protect their employees, Mayor Sara said, they must buy their test kits from accredited suppliers or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at the company’s expense.

“Pwede mo mopalit og inyoha because daghan og suppliers karon. Just make sure nga inyohang gamiton nga rapid test, FDA-approved. Didito ta mamili kung mamalit ta kung para sa atoang protection o kagustohan nga mag test sa atoang employees. (You can also buy test kits because there are a lot of suppliers right now. Just make sure that the rapid test that you will use is FDA-approved),” she added.

Currently, the city government uses the Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) kits as part of its health screening for Davao City residents who returned to the city by land and through sweeper and mercy flights. CIO