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Para sa manggagawa: Joel Villanueva wants Labor Code amended

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The Senate on Thursday passed on second reading a proposed measure amending the 41-year old Labor Code of the Philippines which, at present, does not impose fines on companies which violate occupational health and safety standards.

Sen. Joel Villanueva, chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor and Employment, sponsored the passage of Senate Bill No. 1317 or “An Act Strengthening Compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHS) and Providing Penalties for Violations Thereof.”

He noted that the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) only issues a Work Stoppage Order (WSO) if there is an imminent danger or would result to disabling injury.

“Obviously, this practice has not been successful in inculcating culture of OSH compliance nor in addressing wanton disregard of OSH standards,” Villanueva said.

Based on the record of the Bureau of Working Conditions (BWC) under DoLE, 52 fatal and 54 non-fatal workplace accidents were reported in 2014.

The number increased to 125 fatal and 69 non-fatal reported workplace accidents in 2015. Meanwhile, as of October 2016, the BWC recorded a number of 22 fatal and 18 non-fatal workplace accidents.

Under SBN 1317, a penalty amounting to P100,000 would be imposed on the erring employer for every day of non-correction of violation.

“I sincerely believe that we’ve said ‘yes’ to this measure not because this day, Valentine’s Day, is meant for love but certainly because we understand the importance of health and safety in our workplaces,” Villanueva said in his sponsorship speech.