THE Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) will require construction firms to provide worker housing and observe social distancing and other safety rules when work is allowed to resume on public and essential private projects under both modes of quarantine.

In a briefing, Palace Spokesman Herminio L. Roque said Monday that the rules for construction firms released by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will also require construction firms to sequence their works to facilitate minimal contact among workers.

The enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) imposed on Metro Manila is due to expire on May 15, with some parts of the country moving on to a less restrictive general community quarantine (GCQ) starting April 30. A decision is due this week on whether ECQ will continue or be downgraded to GCQ.

Mr. Roque said that an “inventory of works” is needed to allow sequencing of construction “para mapatupad ang social distancing (In order to observe social distancing).”

For private projects, Mr. Roque said “Ang mga contractors ng essential private construction projects under GCQ ay dapat magtalaga ng full time safety officer na magsisiguro sa pagpapatupad ng social distancing measures. (Contractors of essential private construction projects under GCQ should hire a full time safety officer to ensure workers comply with social distancing measures).”

The rules require contractors to provide living quarters and personal protective equipment for the duration of the project, as well as daily meals and hygiene products, while regularly conducting health checks. Health conditions of the workers should also be monitored regularly.

DPWH project overseers have been charged with ensuring that all workers are equipped with Personal Protective Equipment.

Para sa government construction projects, ang DPWH engineers ay dapat magpatupad ng pagsusuot ng Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) sa lugar na pinagtatrabahuhan, (For government projects, DPWH engineers should enforce PPE rules)” Mr. Roque said.

The Palace announced over the weekend that public and essential private construction projects will be allowed during ECQ and GCQ as long as they follow DPWH guidelines.

The guidelines also call for the regular sanitation of the workers’ quarters and equipment. Mr. Roque said, “Iwasan ang sharing ng construction at office equipment pero kung kailangan, ito ay dapat i-disinfect bago ipagamit sa ibang mga trabahador. Magtalaga ng isolated loading/unloading zone para sa lahat ng mga nagde-deliver ng disposable na materyales at equipment. Lahat ng materyales at equipment na pinapasok sa construction site ay dapat na ma-disinfect.”

(Avoid sharing construction and office equipment but if needed, they should be sanitized before this is used by other workers. There should also be an isolated loading/unloading zone for those who deliver disposable materials and equipment. All materials and equipment entering the construction site should be disinfected)

Non-essential personnel and visitors will not be allowed on-site under the rules, while workers will be restricted from leaving the site. Personnel entering the site on a temporary basis such as truck drivers and site inspectors will be subject to health checks.

The ECQ was first imposed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte on March 17 in order to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). High-risk areas are required to observe ECQ rules until May 15 while low to moderate-risk areas have been placed under GCQ. — Gillian M. Cortez