Bongbong Marcos urged to prioritize workers, punish safety standards violators
MANILA, Philippines — A safety group is asking President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to criminalize violations of safety standards because of the rising number of workplace deaths.
In a briefing organized by Gabriela party-list on Tuesday morning, Institute for Occupational Health and Safety Development (IOHSAD) Executive Director Nadia de Leon urged Marcos to listen to the workers’ pleas, especially in cases similar to that of Stephen Corilla, a contractual worker in Mandaue, Cebu who died after cleaning a pulverizer machine.
Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Standards Law violations should be criminalized, De Leon argues, to make companies pay attention to safety and be mindful that workers’ lives matter.
“Nanawagan po kami at hinahamon din po natin ang bagong administrasyon ni President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos at sa lahat po ng mga mambabatas na agad aksyunan ang panawagan ng mga manggagawa para icriminalize ang OSH Standards violations,” de Leon said.
(We are calling for and challenging the new administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and all lawmakers to act on workers’ calls to criminalize the OSH Standards violations.)
“Criminalizing OSH Standards violations would not only help prevent workplace deaths, it would also send a strong message to employers that workers’ lives matter, and putting them at risk in the workplace will not be tolerated,” she added.
During the briefing held after Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas filed the bill amending Republic Act No. 11058 by giving it more teeth against violators, the party list also invited Corilla’s wife Aime Corilla. She is seeking justice after what happened to her husband.
“Gusto ko lang po na mapanagot yung mga taong involve sa pagkamatay ng asawa ko, at mabigyan ng karapat dapat na penalty yung mga kumpanyang pabaya sa safety ng kanilang mga trabahante,” she said.
(I want the people involved in my husband’s death to be held accountable and those appropriate penalties to be given to companies who neglect the safety of their workers.)
Brosas and other members of the House of Representatives Makabayan bloc earlier filed House Bill No. 2126, which would add or increase penalties for willful neglect of safety measures inside workplaces.
Under the bill, if the employer, contractor, or sub-contractor commits any of the gross violations that lead to injuries on the side of the worker, a fine of P300,000 to P500,000 or imprisonment of one year up to six years or both may be imposed.
But suppose the worker dies due to these gross violations. In that case, the employer, contractor, or sub-contractor will be punished for every resulting death, a fine of P1 million to P3 million, or imprisonment of six years to 12 years or both, depending on the court’s decision.
The lawmakers said they seek the amendment of R.A. No. 11058 after 12 deaths —including Corilla’s — happened in the last six weeks as the country’s economy opened up
The deaths include the following:
- death of three workers in Meycauayan last May 31 when the second floor of a building rented by E-ONE Consumers Trading Corporation collapsed
- death of two elevator maintenance workers while fixing the elevator of the Burgundy Corporate Tower in Makati City
- death of six construction workers when a concrete wall next to their barracks in Tagaytay City collapsed
De Leon emphasized that employers should be reminded that failure to prioritize workers’ safety — which can lead to injuries and deaths — bear severe consequences.
“Kailangan pong matigil na ang kapabayaan at malalang paglabag sa OSH Standards na nagreresulta sa pagkamatay ng mga manggagawa at pagdurusa ng mga naiwang pamilya,” she said.
(We need to stop the negligence and serious violations of the OSH standards that could result in workers’ deaths and the suffering of the families they left behind.) With reports from Christine Annie Asistio, INQUIRER.net trainee
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