A total of 17 Bureau of Customs (BOC) employees has initially tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to BOC assistant commissioner and spokesperson Atty. Vincent Philip Maronilla during the agency’s Live Updates on May 28.
Some of the 17, he noted, have already recovered and tested negative during their second swab testing.
Maronilla assured the agency is compliant with Department of Health (DOH) health and safety protocols to counter spread of the virus.
The BOC, he added, is continuously conducting contact tracing for those that had direct and secondary contact with infected employees.
Those that had direct contact with infected employees and are symptomatic are subjected to confirmatory test while those asymptomatic will undergo rapid testing and self-quarantine, he explained. Secondary contacts are also subjected to rapid testing and self-quarantine.
Maronilla said BOC services remain uninterrupted, taking note of the agency’s “very critical role” in the country’s food and manufacturing supply chain.
Transactions at the BOC-Port of Manila, BOC-Manila International Container Port, and Office of the Commissioner are all online. “We do not allow non-BOC employees to transact inside our premises,” he said.
District collectors are regularly reminded of the various work schemes they can enforce, such as work-from-home and flexible time schedules, to ensure no disruption in BOC operations.
“We assure our front liners… our employees… stakeholders … that all measures are being done in order to protect the health and safety of our employees, and the health and safety of our stakeholders. That despite all the task that we need to do, the Commissioner of Customs’ number one priority of course is the health and safety of our people,” Maronilla said.
He said BOC, through the help of the Philippine Red Cross, is allocated with slots for free regular swab testing of its employees. DOH also provides rapid testing for BOC employees and those that exhibit symptoms are prioritized for testing. In addition, front liners are provided with personal protective equipment.