News reports indicated that workers from BPOs and malls were among those not evacuated during the earthquake. Some workers were also made to resume work right after, without waiting for the structural integrity of the buildings to be checked.
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DOLE asked to review safety protocols in workplaces
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - April 29, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment should take the initiative in reviewing the safety protocols of employers during emergencies.

“The safety of our workers should always be our number one concern. Business establishments should be aware of safety protocols in times of emergencies and we need to make sure that stiff fines are given to violating employers,” Rico Paolo Quicho said. 

Quicho, first nominee of party-list Sulong Dignidad, stressed employers should take cue from lessons learned after recent earthquakes that hit the country.

At the same time, Quicho encouraged workers who were not allowed to evacuate their offices to file complaints with DOLE and provide specific information to help the agency to act.

He cited Republic Act 11058, the Strengthening Compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Standards Act that requires employers to respond to possible hazards in the workplace and inform workers of these accordingly.

News reports indicated that workers from BPOs and malls were among those not evacuated during the earthquake. Some workers were also made to resume work right after, without waiting for the structural integrity of the buildings to be checked. 

“They can be charged,” Quicho warned. “Our laws says employers cannot compel the workers to go back to work if they see the risks and dangers involved.”

“The workers, on the other hand, can file a complaint against their employers before DOLE if that situation happens,” he added.

Senators, on the other hand, renewed their call to make disaster risk education mandatory in the curriculum of primary schools to foster a culture of preparedness among Filipinos.

Sen. Sonny Angara said doing so would improve the young learners’ understanding of preparedness and response, as well as hone their readiness in dealing with natural calamities.

“Since we live in a country where earthquakes and typhoons are very common, it is imperative that every Filipino is equipped with the basic understanding and knowledge of disaster preparedness and response,” Angara said.

Angara filed the proposal to require disaster awareness and mitigation education in primary schools under Senate Bill 1994 which he filed last year.

The provision on mandatory disaster risk education in SB 1994 expands the present law, Republic Act 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, which mandates the integration of disaster risk and management education in the curriculum of secondary and tertiary levels of education, including the National Service Training Program.

Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito renewed his push for his proposal to create a permanent disaster management department in the wake of two consecutive earthquakes that hit the country last week.

He said he would refile his bill seeking to create the Department of Disaster and Emergency Management.

Ejercito’s Senate Bill 1553 sought to establish a permanent, institutionalized, cohesive and comprehensive framework for disaster preparedness, prevention and mitigation, and response to be implemented by a full-time and focused specialized agency with its own mandate, powers and funding. – With Paolo Romero

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT EARTHQUAKE SAFETY PROTOCOLS
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