Lawmaker pushes measure protecting farmers, farmworkers from harmful chemicals

Published December 6, 2018, 1:39 PM

by Patrick Garcia

By Charissa Luci-Atienza
A lawmaker has sought the passage of a bill seeking to provide firmer guidelines on the protection of farmers and farmworkers.

Cong. Sharon S Garin. (FACEBOOK/ MANILA BULLETIN)
Cong. Sharon S Garin. (FACEBOOK/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Deputy Speaker and AAMBIS-OWA Party-list Sharon Garin asked the House Committee on Agriculture and Food to prioritize the passage of House Bill 6279 or the Farm Workers’ Protection Act.

“Our farm workers are the ones heavily affected by the adverse effects of exposure to harmful chemicals,” she said.

Citing the Journal of Rural Medicine of the Japanese Association of Rural Medicine, Garin noted that around five million people die every year as a result of intentional, accidental, and occupational exposure to pesticide poisoning.

Garin also expressed concern about the exposure of young children who are often employed in vegetable growing from an early age.

In a study in Northeast Luzon, children in the area were reported to have health symptoms such as headaches, skin irritation and abdominal pain after the use of chemicals, she noted.

House Bill 6279 requires farm owners and operators to conduct mandatory testing for the presence of organophosphate pesticides in their respective agricultural sites.

It also proposes to educate farmworkers and their families regarding the hazards of exposure to pesticides, how to avoid such exposures to children, personal clothing and possessions, and what to do if pesticide exposure or contamination occurs.

“Every incident of pesticide exposure to farmworkers or their families, whether by direct exposure to pesticide applications or from the drift of pesticides from the application site must be reported to the Department of Agriculture (DA), Garin said.

The bill has pending with House Committee on Agriculture and Food since August 30, 2018.

 
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