EcoWaste: Hazard pay for garbage collectors, our environmental frontliners
MANILA, Philippines — Pro-environmental watchdog EcoWaste Coalition has proposed to the government the granting of hazard pay for garbage collectors, who are being exposed to health risks while carrying out their duties amid the threat posed by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The group on Tuesday said that it has sent letters to four department secretaries.
EcoWaste pointed out that should the hazard pay plan materialize, its calculation should begin on March 17, when the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine took effect, until the quarantine is lifted.
“As frontliners from the environmental sector in the country’s determined efforts to prevent and control COVID-19, we believe that garbage collectors are entitled to hazard pay—regardless of their employment status—due to the risks they face in the performance of essential waste management services,” Eileen Sison, president of EcoWaste Coalition, said in the letter.
The group said the letter was sent to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, and Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado.
Sison stressed that garbage collectors face health hazards due to the prevailing pandemic.
She noted that while President Rodrigo Duterte has authorized the provision of hazard pay for government employees who physically report for work during the ECQ period, it may not apply to most garbage collectors who are often hired by waste management companies contracted by local government units.
“Without their indispensable service, we may be faced with even more environmental and health hazards from uncollected waste,” she added.
The group urged the four department secretaries “to use moral suasion to strongly encourage employers of garbage collectors —be they private companies or LGUs—to grant them daily hazard pay during the ECQ period.”
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