• Labor standards, occupational health and safety matter even in times of calamity – Baldoz

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    Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz Wednesday said compliance with general labor standards and occupational safety and health standards matter even in times of calamity as she reminded employers, humanitarian, and relief and welfare organizations implementing emergency employment, or “cash-for-work” programs in disaster-stricken communities, to comply with Philippine labor laws.

    “Please don’t make our workers victims twice. Pay them the correct wages and ensure their safety and health,” said Baldoz, noting that the government’s emergency employment program pays workers P260 per day in Eastern Visayas, P297 per day in Central Visayas, and P287 in Western Visayas on top of social security benefits, such as group insurance.

    The labor chief also said that worker-beneficiaries must also given personal protective gear, such as working gloves, boots, and helmets.

    She reminded employers that national government agencies, specifically the DOLE and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, have a standing agreement that worker-beneficiaries under the emergency employment program, or cash-for-work, are to be paid the minimum wages prevailing in the area, including a minimum work duration of 15 days.

    Baldoz issued the call for compliance with labor and OSH standards as the DOLE’s emergency employment in Eastern Visayas continue to pick up momentum.

    Citing an update report from DOLE Undersecretary Rebecca Chato who is the top official supervising DOLE operation in Region 8, Baldoz said the total number of workers in the program now stands at 9,225 covering 294 barangays in two cities and 11 municipalities in the region.

    In Tacloban City, 590 workers in 25 barangays are enrolled, while in Ormoc City, 1,140 workers in 38 barangays have started actual work.

    The municipalities in Leyte where the program has begun are Alang-Alang (1,140 workers in 38 barangays); Jaro (180 workers in 6 barangays); and Sta. Fe (600 workers in 20 barangays).

    In (Western) Samar, only the town of Basey is enrolled, with 450 workers in 15 barangays.

    In Eastern Samar, 900 workers in 10 barangays are enrolled in the town of Lawaan; Balangiga (390 workers in 13 barangays); Mercedes (480 workers in 16 barangays); Salcedo (1,230 workers in 41 barangays); Guian (835 workers in 29 barangays); Quinapondan (750 workers in 25 barangays); and Giporlos (540 workers in 18 barangays).

    Undersecretary Chato also reported that the DOLE is currently conducting an initial list-up of workers in the town of Gen. McArthur in Eastern Samar, and in the towns of Palo, Leyte, and Burauen, Leyte.

    “All in all, 779 barangays with a total population of 20,370 are covered, with 448 barangays with total population of 14,365 have been oriented on the program,” Baldoz said. PNA

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