Labor, Church: Hasten aid for Davao de Oro landslide victims
Following the catastrophic landslide in Maco, Davao de Oro, which had killed at least 27 people with 110 missing, the Federation of Free Workers (FFW) on Friday called on government to provide assistance to the victims and their families.
The labor group urged the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) and the Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC) to give “immediate and comprehensive” assistance on top of the regular benefits from the Social Security System (SSS) and the EEC during such disasters.
“Other than expediting their SSS benefits and ECC work-related statutory benefits, we also suggest to SSS and Dole-ECC to go to the ground to jointly and promptly extend support, including financial aid, psychosocial interventions, and employment assistance to those victims and families affected,” FFW governing board member Arlene Degayo Golloso said.
Labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) also called for immediate support from both the government and Apex Mining Co. Inc. (Amci) to the families of those who died and to those who were injured.
“This is the first step in our fight for justice for them,” KMU secretary general Jerome Adonis said in a separate statement.
The tragedy occurred on Tuesday night, impacting a bus company garage, a barangay hall and residential areas in Maco’s Barangay Masara close to the Amci site. More than 40 of those missing are Amci workers. The Catholic Church is also appealing for aid for hundreds of thousands of families affected by heavy rain and massive flooding across Mindanao, which preceded the Masara landslide and continued on Friday.
Caritas Philippines, the humanitarian arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, is calling for donations for flood victims on social media.
“The Philippines has been hit by massive flooding in recent weeks, and the people of Mindanao are in desperate need of help,” it said on Thursday.“Every little bit helps. Even a small donation can make a big difference in the lives of those affected by the floods.”
The donations would support emergency relief, including food packs, sleeping and hygiene kits, kitchen wares and emergency shelter kits to displaced families.
According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), 356,166 families, or 1.19 million individuals, were affected in Northern Mindanao, Davao region, Soccsksargen, Caraga and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Question for company
It said 673,597 people were displaced, with the majority of them taking shelter outside of evacuation centers.
Caritas Philippines said donations may be sent via bank deposits in Metrobank (632-7-632-02847-0), BDO (00450803419-2) and BPI (4951-0092-24).
Although the area hit by the landslide was outside the mining area, the deaths and injuries were still “work-related,” said Joel Balaus, chair of FFW’s metals, seminconductor and mining sector trade federations group.
“We emphasize the work-relatedness considering that some workers were about to go home when the landslide occurred, affecting those involved in the 24-hour operation of the mining site,” Balaus, an officer of Vishay Philippines Employees Union in FTI, Taguig City, said.
Adonis added: “It should be asked: How does the company take care of its workers who are going to work, while they are at work and while they are heading home from work?”
Call for probe
FFW pointed out that the Philippines had ratified the International Labor Organization’s Convention 176 on safety and health in mines, and ILO Convention 187 on the national occupational safety and health system.
The conventions cite the government’s role in ensuring that workers in mines and in all workplaces are safe and healthy, and that those affected by work-related accident are compensated.
FFW and KMU also called for an investigation of the incident to prevent future occurrences.
Golloso said strict adherence to occupational safety and health standards was needed amid government’s efforts to promote green jobs and environmental safety.
Adonis also called for an immediate stop to open-pit mining and the creation of jobs that are safer for workers and the environment, and truly beneficial to the economy.
PH Red Cross
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) on Thursday said it had deployed two water tankers to the Davao region to help communities who lost access to clean and safe drinking water. Some 8,300 people benefited from 44,200 liters of water in Davao de Oro and Davao del Norte.
Former Sen. Richard Gordon, chair and CEO of PRC, said providing water was a standard response by the Red Cross as water sources were among those immediately damaged or compromised in such disasters.
The PRC also provided cadaver bags, rescue and emergency assistance, blood pressure monitoring, hygiene kits, hot meals and bottled water. It also conducted child-friendly activities for young evacuees as a psychosocial aid.