Rep. Camille Villar files bill to give more benefits to waste workers
MANILA, Philippines — Deputy Speaker Camille Villar has filed a bill to provide more health benefits and training to solid waste management workers.
In filing House Bill No. 9806, or the proposed Waste Workers Health and Welfare Act, Villar, who represents Las Piñas City, said she intends to safeguard the rights and welfare of these workers who face more safety risks in their line of work as she recognized their importance in protecting the environment.
Based on her proposed measure, waste workers are those involved in collecting, transporting, processing, and disposing of solid waste, such as garbage collectors, waste pickers, recyclers, and landfill and dumpsite workers.
“They play a vital role in solid waste management… and contribute greatly in protecting the environment. Despite their importance, waste workers are some of the most under-appreciated and unprotected workers,” Villar pointed out.
“We should all work together to promote the health, safety, and welfare of waste workers throughout the country. Let us recognize the critical role that they play in maintaining the cleanliness and sustainability of our communities,” she added.
Under the proposed measure, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will be tasked to implement the Waste Workers Health and Welfare Program, which includes the following:
- registration and monitoring system
- health coverage and benefits (free annual checkups, vaccinations, hospital assistance in partnership with PhilHealth)
- occupational safety training (regular training programs on the use of personal protective equipment)
- provision of personal protective equipment
- educational assistance
- financial assistance
Under financial assistance, DOLE will collaborate with qualified financial institutions to provide workers with low-interest loans for housing, emergencies, or the establishment of sustainable livelihood businesses.
Villar said the funding for the program should be taken from the DOLE annual budget.