Several residents of Manila City expressed agreement on a recent move to prioritize public market vendors, drivers of jeepney, tricycle and pedicab; and restaurant workers in the free mass swab testing after the city inaugurated its second molecular laboratory at the Sta. Ana Hospital.
Manila City Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso, in an executive order issued on Wednesday, said he wants these workers to be tested first.
“I myself don’t need to be swabbed as I am not in direct contact with the customers but this will benefit and will give assurance and peace of mind to my staff since they encounter so many people every day,” said Elmie Lopez, a stall owner in Divisoria, in Filipino.
Dennis Jose, another vendor in the area, said he is okay with this.
“Okay lang naman, maganda rin kasi para sa amin din naman yun. Pero me mga nakakausap din akong iba na ayaw nila kasi daw natatakot sila di ko lang alam kung bakit (this is fine with me as long as it is free although I know a few people who don’t want to be swabbed because they say they are afraid, I don’t know why),” he said.
Meanwhile, Raul Garcia, who usually rides the jeep or pedicab, cited the need to prioritize drivers and vendors in the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) testing.
“For me, much better yun na ma-swab test yung mga vendors at mga jeepney at trike drivers para naman din yun sa kaligtasan at kapakanan ng bawat tao sa buong Maynila (For me it is much better that vendors, jeepney and trike drivers are swabbed, anyway it is for the good of all Manilenyos),” he said.
Agnes Cruz, who loves cooking for her family and goes to the market almost daily, said she is in favor of this move because these types of workers are among the most exposed to the virus.
“Basta libre kasi mas madami dyan hindi yun afford. Kasi kahit anong safety measures pa ilagay sa mga establishments o mga transpo mas una dapat sila matest for assurance (As long as it is for free because we all know that most of them will not be able to afford it. They should always be the first in whatever safety measure is being implemented)”, she said.
Des Laureano also agreed with the city’s recent order.
“Oo tama yun sakin kasi mga front-liners din sila, eh sila una magkakasakit at makakahawa sa dami ng taong kasalamuha nila. (That is correct because for me, they are also front-liners. They might get sick first and could infect a number of people because they interact with many customers everyday),” she said.
Executive Order No. 39 directs the Manila Health Department (MHD) to provide free Covid-19 swab tests to these workers.
Domagoso said the real threat of the virus will continue to persist in the communities, which causes fear due to the possibility of getting infected.
“This fear will affect not only the individual preferences and behavior or every person but also the economic growth (of the city). In order to allay the fear of getting infected with Covid-19, there is a need to assure the public that employees of these frequently visited establishments are Covid-free and thus spur economic activities,” he said.
Domagoso said it is important to provide these people with free testing as the city’s proactive initiative in balancing health and economy for the welfare of the city’s residents.
He directed the city government heads of the Manila Bureau of Permits and Licensing Office, and the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau “to require establishments under their jurisdiction to require filling up mandatory health declaration forms for contact tracing purposes. (PNA)