The Department of Labor and Employment – National Capital Region (DOLE-NCR) held an extended online discussion on the salient features of the Department Order No. 224 (D.O. 224), series of 2021, or the “Guidelines on Ventilation for Workplaces and Public Transport to Prevent and Control the Spread of COVID-19” on March 8, 2021.

DOLE-NCR Quezon City Field Office Director, Atty. Joel P. Petaca facilitated the online session together with Resource Speaker Engr. Jose Maria S. Batino, Deputy Executive Director of Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC) and DOLE Assistant Secretary Ma. Teresita S. Cucueco. In attendance were DOLE-NCR officials including Regional Director Sarah Buena S. Mirasol, Division Chief Nelia M. Mungcal, Field Office Directors, and all labor inspectors. 

The discussion also aimed to clarify the provisions of the Department Order, specifically on monitoring the compliance of covered establishments through labor inspection. It also discussed how the Guideline would help lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission in workplaces.

As provided for in the DTI-DOLE JMC 20-04-A, the OSH Committee and/or safety officer of the workplace overseeing the enforcement and monitoring of the minimum public health standards for COVID-19 prevention in the workplace, shall include in its OSH program the monitoring and evaluation on the implementation of said Guideline, at least on a monthly basis or as frequently as possible based on the assessment and recommendation of the OSH committee/safety officer. The labor department, together with DOH, DTI, DPWH, DILG, DOTr, DOT and the private sector partners will extend technical assistance and support to employers and workers to ensure compliance.

On March 3, 2021, DOLE Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III issued D.O. 224 to improve and maintain the quality of ventilation in workplaces and public transport. The Guidelines covers all commercial and industrial establishments, projects, sites, and all other places, where work is being undertaken indoors, except healthcare facilities that will require special considerations to control COVID-19 spread.

END / Eilaine Lou Lumagbas with report from Marian Jane Alumbro