Newly-hired jobseekers across all sectors who will be required to secure a negative RT-PCR result among the pre-employment requirements may now  avail of the one-time grant of free COVID-19 testing at DOH-accredited testing centers, in accordance with the Department Order No. 233, Series of 2022 of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Following the issuance of the order which provided the guidelines for the implementation of the program as provided under Republic Act No.11639, DOLE XI signed memoranda of agreement with the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) and the Davao Regional Medical Center (DRMC) on July 5 and 6, 2022, respectively. The parties were represented by DOLE XI Regional Director Atty. Randolf C. Pensoy, SPMC Medical Center Chief II Dr. Ricardo B. Audan, and DRMC Medical Center Chief II Dr. Bryan O. Dalid.

DOLE XI is among the first DOLE regional offices to put the program into effect with a budget allocation of around Php 3.2 million for this year. SPMC will cater to qualified applicants in Davao City, Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Sur, and Davao Occidental, while DRMC will cater those in Davao del Norte, Davao de Oro, and Davao Oriental.

“This subsidy program will aid the newly-hired jobseekers financially, reducing the amount they need to prepare in order to commence employment,” said RD Pensoy referring to the cost of RT-PCR test that ranges from Php 3,000.00 to Php 5,000.00. “With this, I would like to express my great pleasure, on behalf of the Department, to collaborate with you as we implement this program in support to the working class in Davao Region,” he added.

DOLE XI Technical Services and Support Division Chief Paul V. Cruz further assured the public of a simplified process in the availment of the program and mentioned that overseas-bound Filipinos workers will mostly benefit from this program since RT-PCR test has become an institutional requirement for international travels.

This undertaking is in line with the policy of the State to afford full protection to labor, promote full employment, and guarantee that no person shall be denied access to equal employment opportunities amidst the current health crisis. Priority list includes newly-hired jobseekers in private domestic establishments, agency-hired overseas worker set for deployment, and newly-appointed employee in any branch or instrumentality of the government.

In his message during the ceremonial MOA signing, Dr. Audan of SPMC expressed his gratitude to DOLE XI for partnering with them in this undertaking. “It is actually our honor to be part of this agreement especially now that, in response to the effects of COVID-19, the way workers are hired has changed. This is just one of SPMC’s commitments to help the government agencies in efficiently delivering their services to the Filipino people, particularly in Mindanao.”

In the same way, DRMC Chief Administrative Officer Marvin V. Bohol, CPA, JD, who represented Dr. Dalid, showed his appreciation to the partnership and assured to provide quality service to the beneficiaries of the program. 

Also present during the signing of MOA were DOLE XI-Davao del Norte Field Office Chief Angelina A. Talingting, personnel of the DOLE XI Employment Promotion, Facilitation, and Regulation Unit headed by the Regional Focal Person Marlito D. Ayala, SPMC Chief Administrative Officer Atty. Oscar Mata, and heads and personnel of various offices in said healthcare institutions.### MFKM