Senator Joel Villanueva on Monday welcomed the Senate's approval on third and final reading of Senate Bill No. 1317 or "An Act Strengthening Compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Standards", authored and sponsored by Villanueva, chair of the Senate committee on labor, employment, and human resources development.
Voting 20-0, the senators approved the bill requiring compliance by employers to the Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHS), to better promote the right of Filipino workers to healthy and safe workplaces.
"This is great news for our workers who have been subjected to unsafe workplace. The passage of this bill is proof that the Senate is concerned on the well-being of every Filipino worker," Villanueva said.
"It is high time that we put high premium on compliance with OSH standards. Losing so many precious lives as proven by the recent fire tragedy in Davao is unacceptable. One of those who died was Maryjoy Hope Daluro, our youth church leader in Jesus Is Lord Church. The pain and suffering caused by this tragedy is tormenting and should never happen again," the senator stressed.
According to Villanueva, the bill would amend the 41-year-old Labor Code to impose higher administrative penalties to employers who will not comply with requirements set under the OSHS.
Under the proposed measure, any erring employer would be served a fine of up to P100,000 as an administrative penalty for every day of non-correction of violation.
The bill also guaranteed the payment of workers' wages and income during work stoppage or suspension of operation due to imminent danger as a result of the employer's violation or fault.
A survey conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in October 2015, results showed that occupational diseases in establishments employing 20 or more workers doubled from 85,583 in 2011 to 171, 787 in 2013.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) also reported 199 fatal workplace accidents and 232 non-fatal accidents from January 2014 to October 2016.
"We sincerely thank our colleagues for supporting this personal crusade which we have been strongly pushing to give due justice to our workers and to assure a level playing field to establishments who comply to the OSH standards," Villanueva said.
"After four Congresses, this bill is now closer to becoming a law. We are hoping that the bicameral version of this important legislation will be ironed out and ready for the President's signature before the last session day of Congress on March 21," Villanueva concluded.