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Bangsamoro labor blocs, private firms support anti-coronavirus campaign 

BANGSAMORO NEWS UPDATES • 22:30 PM Sat May 1, 2021
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By: 
John M. Unson
Health workers vaccinated employees of MOLE-BARMM in Cotabato City Saturday.  (Photo by John Unson)

COTABATO CITY --- Private companies in the Bangsamoro region have manifested support to the war on COVID-19 and assured to ensure safety of employees from the disease through corporate initiatives.

Representatives from different firms and large-scale entrepreneurs first manifested willingness to help push the government’s anti-COVID-19 initiatives in the region during Friday’s start of the two-day Bangsamoro Labor Summit here that culminated Saturday.

Speakers from various firms who participated in the summit, among them from the Cotabato Light and Power Company Incorporated (CLPC) and the Lamsan Trading in Maguindanao province, said company output and productivity of employees have been stymied by the coronavirus pandemic.

Anna Lea Lee Nataño, human resource manager of the CLPC, said they have formulated business continuity plans essential in coping up with the challenges brought about by the pandemic that they have to surmount.

“We have full management support to government efforts of addressing this COVID-19 problem,” She said.

Nataño said the CLPC now has a company maxim “business as usual under new normal” to motivate all of them in the company and as an assurance of unhampered service to the communities within their franchise areas.

Speakers lamented that importation of raw materials and transport of products to bulk buyers and to faraway trading centers have drastically been constrained as a result of the pandemic, reducing earnings partly intended for salaries and other fringe benefits of workers.

Participants to the summit also narrated new practices meant to ensure the safety of employees through stringent health protocols and mandatory wearing of biohazard masks and face shields in workplaces.

Regional Labor Minister Romeo Sema told reporters Saturday he and other officials of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao got elated with the commitment of support from private companies to the regional government’s anti-COVID-19 campaign.

“Labor blocs also committed support to achieve that objective. All of these augurs well with the efforts of BARMM’s chief minister, Ahod Ebrahim, to address squarely the COVID-19 problem besetting the autonomous region,” Sema said.

The closing program for the two-day BARMM labor summit, organized by the Ministry of Labor and Employment, was held at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex in the 32-hectare Bangsamoro capitol center in Cotabato City.

Workers from the Ministry of Health and the Integrated Provincial Health Office in Maguindanao led by physicians Ameril Usman and Elizabeth Samama, respectively, gave employees of MOLE-BARMM anti-COVID-19 Sinovac vaccines in a makeshift clinic inside the function facility.

Usman, director-general of MOH-BARMM, urged reporters covering the summit to help them correct a fallacy that Muslims observing the Ramadhan should avoid getting jabs due to religious implications.

The Ramadhan season, where Muslims fast from dawn to dusk for one lunar cycle, lasting for 28 to 29 days, as a religious obligation, started last April 13.

“The Darul Iftah has declared that it is alright for Muslims to be vaccinated during the Ramadhan and that these vaccines are `halal,’ meaning not forbidden,” said Usman, a Muslim of mixed Maguindanaon and Iranun lineage.

The Bangsamoro Darul Iftah, also known as the House of Opinions, is a bloc of Islamic theologians, among them graduates of religious schools in the Middle East and North Africa.

Sema said he is grateful to labor organizations and private companies in the Bangsamoro region for having pledged to continuously impose health protocols in workplaces to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among workers.

“The commitment is a big help to the government’s war on COVID-19,” Sema said.

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