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De Lima: Workers affected by calamities ‘deserve’ 5-day emergency leave

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All workers in public and private sector directly affected by calamities must be given a 5-day “special emergency leave,” Senator Leila de Lima said on Tuesday.

She reiterated her call for the passage of her proposed Senate Bill No. (SBN) 1123, which seeks to provide a five-day special emergency leave for all workers directly affected by natural disasters.

De Lima made the proposal “with calamities like typhoons, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions frequently happening in our country.”

Located along the Pacific Belt, an average of 20 typhoons visit Philippines every year. Situated in the “Pacific Ring of Fire,” the Philippines is also vulnerable to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

“Malinaw naman po: Sa mga ganitong di-inaasahang pagkakataon, kinakailangan ng ating mga kababayan ang sapat na panahon upang tutukan ang kaligtasan ng pamilya, at kahit paano’y makapagsimulang makabangon mula sa anumang delubyo,” she said.

Under SBN 1123, the five-day special emergency leave with pay should be available upon the declaration of a state of calamity by the President or by the local government council.

Individuals eligible for a “calamity leave” include those stranded in affected areas, those who incurred diseases brought about by the disaster, those caring for immediate family members affected by natural calamity or disaster, or those needing to urgently repair and clean up their damaged house.

De Lima said it is incumbent upon the State to allow workers to protect not only themselves and their families, but also their properties, in times of natural calamities or disasters.

“Recognizing the environmental consequences of the geographical location of the Philippines as the Pearl of the Orient Seas, the State through this Act seeks to dampen the natural adversities that plague the people,” she said.

“Ours is a tropical country and our industries thrive in water. But the force of the earth that catapults us to our growth as a nation is the same force that endangers our people,” she said.

De Lima said SB 1123 will aid concerned Filipinos “to stand up after the onslaught of calamities and disasters and provide them a few days of respite to facilitate the resumption of their daily activities.”

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