THE Department of Energy (DoE) has laid out the response protocol for the Philippine energy sector in the event of a coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak and other similar infectious diseases.
“It is imperative for the energy industry to observe a strict Covid-19 response protocol. Protecting the occupational health and safety of our employees is central to the unimpeded delivery of energy goods and services. As ‘backliners’ during this pandemic, we must remain healthy to keep providing vital energy to all our frontliners,” Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said on Monday.
The protocols and measures outlined in the Administrative Order (AO2020-05-0001), signed by Cusi on May 21, shall cover the following: prevention, detection, isolation, treatment, reintegration, and adopting the “new normal.”
Prevention pertains to disease control or the reduction of disease incidence, prevalence, morbidity, or mortality to a locally acceptable level, resulting from deliberate efforts and continued intervention measures.
Detection is disease surveillance or the ongoing systematic collection, analysis, interpretation and dissemination of outcome-specific data for use in the planning, implementation and evaluation of public health practice.
Isolation refers to the separation of ill or infected persons from others, to prevent the spread of infection or contamination.
Meanwhile, treatment is medical treatment or the management and care of a patient for the purpose of combating disease, injury or disorder.
The DoE, however, said in a statement that restriction on activities is not considered treatment, unless the primary purpose of the restriction is to improve a worker’s condition through conservative care.
Reintegration to the workforce enables employees with clean bills of health to return to the workplace.
Meanwhile, adapting to the new normal is the necessary occupational changes that need to be implemented in the medium term, to ensure the unhampered delivery of energy good and services, while protecting employees in the workplace.
The Task Force on Energy Resiliency (TFER) is responsible for implementing the order, including the alignment of necessary funds and procurement of needed equipment and services, and other necessary needs.
TFER shall also ensure industry players’ compliance to the issuance through the preparation of relevant checklists, daily monitoring toolkits and establishment of a feedback mechanism.
The Energy department and its attached agencies must prepare a public service continuity plan or its equivalent incorporating the Covid-19 response protocol, while industry players are required to incorporate such protocols into their business continuity plan or its equivalent.
According to the agency, the order was promulgated to further provide for a comprehensive virus response code on top of the minimum health standards for the power sector.
Prior to that, the DoE released Department Order 2020-04-0007 that states the agency may issue additional or supplemental guidelines related to the pandemic, and that industries and the private sector are required to comply with the public health standards outlined by the Department of Health and other relevant regulations.