By Leslie Ann Aquino
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the administration of President Duterte remains committed to making decent work available to all Filipino workers.
He said this to participants of the 16th National Occupational and Safety and Health at the PICC in Pasay City, Tuesday.
Bello said as they continue consultation with stakeholders on fine-tuning the policies on fair compensation and security of tenure, they also sustain another pillar of decent work – to be free from work-related injuries and illnesses.
“Our legislators, with the solid backing of Sen. (Joel) Villanueva, crafted Republic Act 11058 which was signed into law by President Duterte earlier this year. The landmark legislation gives premium to compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health standards and penalizes its violation,” he said in his speech.
“The law is an expression of the government’s desire to achieve a 100 percent safe and healthy work environment throughout the country. And the Department of Labor and Employment is a mere instrument for the attainment of this desire,” added Bello.
Labor inspectors, he said are under strict order to enforce occupational safety and health regulations.
“Stiff penalties shall be imposed upon employers and workers who violate them. At the same time however we must help them comply with the regulations,” said Bello.
That’s why, he said he is calling on all sectors to work together in formulating practical occupational safety and health programs at plant levels.
“We must promote OSH as a way of life for all Filipinos,” Bello said.
In an interview, the labor chief said they expect the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Law to be completed and signed by December.
“We are going to have that (IRR) inside 60 days. It was already signed by the President so we will have to come out with it,” said Bello.
Senate labor committee chair Sen. Joel Villanueva, who gave a message during the event, also revealed that the IRR will be signed before the DOLE anniversary next month.
It was in August when President Duterte signed the OSH Law, which ensures a safe and healthful workplace for workers by affording them full protection against all hazards at work.
The law provides that any person who manages, controls, or supervises the work is compelled to ensure that the place of employment is safe for workers, and should be free from hazardous conditions likely to cause death, illness, or physical harm to workers.
It also states that workers may report to their supervisor or employer and work hazard that may be discovered in the workplace, while also being given the right to refuse to work if an imminent danger situation exists that may result in illness, injury, or death.