• By The Financial District


The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has cited the facilities of the largest cigarette manufacturer in the country as a model workplace during the global pandemic.

In a visit to the Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Co. plant in Marikina City last Thursday, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III lauded the multinational firm for its strict adherence to safety and health protocols required by government to control the spread of the coronavirus disease.

“The chances of transmission of the virus within this facility is low. It is heavily protected by safety and health protocols,” Bello said, as he was welcomed by Philip Morris International (PMI) Director for Operations Joao Brigido.

While being toured by Brigido around the PMFTC complex, the labor chief was impressed by the strict implementation of physical distancing as well as wearing of face masks and shields.

Bello also took note of the strong presence of disinfectants like alcohol easily accessed by workers at strategic locations of the facility.

“It only shows the utmost sincerity of PMFTC to work with government in protecting Filipinos at workplaces,” Bello said.

“I am truly glad that PMFTC has become a partner of the government in fighting COVID-19. By promoting safety at workplace, they stay in business and preserve employment for our countrymen,” he added. The facility employs about 1,200 workers.

Joining Bello in the visit was Commission on Higher Education chairman Prospero de Vera also of the Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE) team and Marikina Mayor Marcelino Teodoro who discussed the city’s remarkable campaign against the outbreak.

The CODE team went to Marikina in its relentless effort to coordinate the COVID-19 responses of the national and local governments.

During the discussion, Bello reiterated the need for strict observance of safety and health protocols at workplaces.

“My only request from employers and workers is that they follow the guidelines of the government in fighting COVID-19.  We can defeat the virus if we fight as one,” he added.

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