20k McDonald’s frontliners to benefit from free COVID-19 testing
Close to 20,000 McDonald’s restaurant crew and managers will benefit from free COVID-19 tests as part of the government's expanded testing program, which covers workers in the food retail industry and other economy workers.
McDonald’s testing for its employees was formally launched on Friday, October 16, at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City. The event was graced by National Action Plan Against COVID-19 Chief Implementer Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr., Deputy Chief Implementer Sec. Vince Dizon, McDonald’s Philippines President and CEO Kenneth Yang, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) General Manager Jojo Garcia, Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto, and former Rizal Governor Casimiro "Junjun" Ynares III.
The free testing covers employees from McDonald’s own and franchised stores within the National Capital Region. The company’s frontliners will be swabbed at the mega swabbing facilities in Palacio de Maynila and Lakeshore Taguig.
“This program is very timely kasi sa National Action Plan Phase 3, kailangan po talaga magkaroon ng symbiotic relationship between the public and private sectors. Nagpapasalamat kami sa McDonald’s dahil ‘yung kanilang M Safe program, nakita natin na they’re protecting their own frontliners, ‘yung employees nila. Napakagandang halimbawa ito na sana pamarisan ng ibang business sector na they have to protect their own frontliners,” said Galvez.
Galvez highlighted the downward trend of COVID-19 active cases in the country from around 20,000 last month to the current 7,800.
Yang said the M Safe campaign is anchored on their company's continuous commitment to make safety of their employees and customers alike a priority especially amid the COVID pandemic.
"At McDonald's, safety has always been our priority not just with food, but with our people as well. Kasi sa McDonald’s, naniniwala kami na if our employees are safe, then our customers will be safe too,” Yang said. “We’re always strengthening our sanitation and disinfection standards, and this project is another way of strengthening that also. We need to keep safe but we also need to keep up our economy, that is our objective."
Residents in Pasig City and the province of Rizal will also benefit from the said five-day testing operations from October 16 to 20 at the Ynares Gym. The booths will then be turned over to the city government of Pasig for its use in testing its residents.
“Habang tumatagal ang laban natin kontra COVID, gumaganda ang komunikasyon ng national at lokal na pamahalaan. Steps like these, ‘yung testing po natin dito, sa tulong ng McDonald’s, is a really great initiative. Testing, as we all know, is really one of the first important steps in this long fight against COVID-19,” Sotto said.
“Sa Pasig po napili naming for the testing ay ang ating tricycle drivers. Sila po ‘yung nasa kalsada araw-araw, sila ‘yung exposed na exposed. Kaya yung napili po natin yung 1,000 beneficiaries sa tulong ng McDo, ay para sa mga tricycle drivers,” the mayor added.
Secretary Dizon underscored the importance of testing with the resumption of work and business operations.
“Itong testing natin, napaka-importante kasi napaka-valuable ng ating frontliners. Ngayon, kailangan na talaga natin bumalik sa trabaho. I’m sure karamihan sa mga kababayan natin, pagkatapos ng maraming buwan na hindi makapagtrabaho, ay hirap na hirap na rin. Kailangan na umandar na ulit ng ekonomiya. At itong ginagawa ng McDonald’s, napaka-powerful na simbolo nito na kakayanin natin,” Dizon said.
“Whenever the private sector does something like this, it really shows our people that there’s a way to get out of this; there’s a way for us to live with COVID-19,” he added.
As of October 14, the country already has 147 licensed COVID-19 testing laboratories and has conducted 4.2 million tests.
Meanwhile, MMDA General Manager Garcia cited the close coordination of the government’s COVID-19 task force with Metro Manila mayors in implementing guidelines which helped curb transmission of the coronavirus.
“We really appreciate the IATF and the NTF for accepting the suggestions and the coordination with our local mayors dahil gagawa ng guidelines ang ating national government pero ang mag-iimplement nito at enforcement ay ang ating local governments,” he said.