De Lima wants calamity leave benefits for workers

Published November 5, 2019, 4:11 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Hannah Torregoza

Detained Sen. Leila de Lima on Tuesday renewed her push for the immediate passage of the bill providing a five-day special emergency leave for all workers in the public and private sectors who are directly affected by natural calamities or disasters in the country.

Senator Leila de Lima

De Lima made the call as the government struggles to rebuild parts of Mindanao that have been devastated by the recent series of earthquakes that hit the region.

The senator filed Senate Bill No. 1123 or the proposed “Calamity Leave” law last year. She said it is high time lawmakers consider expediting its passage into law to allow workers to protect not only themselves and their families, but also their properties, in times of natural calamities or disasters.

“The fight to survive is the daily concern of every Filipino,” De Lima pointed out in a statement.

“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 added.

Under the bill, the grant of a five-day special emergency leave with pay shall be available upon the declaration of a state of calamity by the President of the Philippines or by the Local Sanggunian pursuant to Section 16 of R.A. No. 10121.

Those 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 the victims may avail themselves of the calamity leave but it “shall be limited to the grounds and circumstances, and only upon compliance with the requirements set forth and in conformity with the issued guidelines” to ensure the protection of both the employer and the employee.