Press Release
January 30, 2011


In the wake of the work-related accident in Makati City that killed ten laborers, Senator Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. demands for the definite and straight forward protection of workers nationwide by streamlining the administration and implementation of policies relating to occupational safety.

The lawmaker stressed that it is the duty of the government to safeguard every worker against injury, sickness or death through safe and healthful working conditions. He said a single lead agency is needed to make sure that the government is fulfilling this commitment. "Various agencies both in national and local government are involved in the administration and enforcement of occupational safety and health standard and environmental protection laws. A head agency is important to avoid overlapping of functions and confusion in pinpointing direct responsibility," Bong Revilla said.

He cited the recent accident at a construction site in Makati City where ten workers were killed when they fell from the 34th floor to the seventh floor after the gondola or service elevator carrying them collapsed. "Apparently, there is negligence which led to the tragedy. Aside from this, there were reports about the delinquency on the remittance of their Social Security System contributions. Cases like these could have been prevented if there was a clear primary agency that monitors the occupational safety of our workers," he said.

The senator filed Senate Bill no. 2541 which seeks to rationalize the administration and enforcement of all laws on occupational safety and the protection of workers against ecological and health hazards. Under the bill, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) shall be the lead agency in coordinating and monitoring the activities of all government agencies involved in the implementation of all laws to promote occupational safety and health while the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) shall be the principal agency on policies involving environmental protection in workplaces. The Department of Health (DOH) shall act as support agency by formulating policies, standards and programs in sanitation and conducting periodic inspections of establishments for the purpose of issuing and/ or renewing sanitary permits.

"For our workers and employees to be productive, we must see to it that they have a secured workplace and they are in a good working condition. Hence, it is only proper to clearly identify the government departments that will be responsible in the implementation of labor-related laws to achieve this undertaking," Bong Revilla explained.

The DOLE may prescribe administrative fines for violations of occupational safety and health standards or regulations from one hundred pesos (PIOO.OO) to ten thousand pesos (10,000) a day, starting from the date the violation is uncovered until the same has been corrected by the offender. The DENR may also impose administrative fines at the same monetary range and guidelines for violations of environmental health, safety and protection standards or regulations. "We must assure the conservation of our valuable manpower resources. Unfortunately, there are employers that do not give much attention to their workers' health and safety which resulted to work-related accidents and diseases. Workers' protection must always be the top priority in every workplace," the senator added.

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