Navotas lauded for giving its garbage collectors hazard pay

By Chito Chavez

Environmental group EcoWaste Coalition on Wednesday cited the Navotas City government for extending hazard pay to the city’s garbage collectors who risk their lives while working during the quarantine period.

EcoWaste Coalition national coordinator Aileen Lucero congratulated the Navotas City government for exhibiting its humanitarian side in showing compassion for the garbage collectors.

Sonia Mendoza, chairman of Mother Earth Foundation (MEF), echoed Lucero’s view saying “Navotas sets a good example for other local government units (LGUs) to follow as waste workers carry on with their service to prevent trash from piling up during the COVID-19 public health emergency’’.

In support of the city's zero waste program, Mendoza noted that the waste workers do separate collection of discards that have been segregated at source.

”Based on the signed copy of the ordinance obtained by the EcoWaste Coalition from the Office of Navotas City Mayor Toby Tiangco, City Ordinance No. 2020-10 grants hazard pay of P500 per day to regular, contractual, or casual employees of the city, including contract of service or job order workers, who physically report for work during the ECQ period,’’ Mendoza said.

Tiangco stressed that "our frontliners had to leave the safety of their homes and risk exposure to COVID-19 to be able to fulfill their duties and serve Navoteños’’.

“It is but right that we honor and recognize their sacrifices,’’ he added.

Among those who will receive hazard pay are the doctors, nurses and other staff of the Navotas City Hospital and the Navotas City Health Office and personnel of offices required to maintain a skeletal workforce, as well as garbage collectors, street sweepers, and utility personnel.

The funds necessary to cover the hazard will be obtained from the 2020 Supplemental Budget of the City Government.

Sponsored by all the Navotas City councilors, Tiangco said the ordinance recognizes that “government employees and workers engaged through contract of service or job order, whose services are urgently necessary and who physically report for work during the period of ECQ are inevitably exposed to health risks and hazards”.

Hazard pay, according to Congressional Joint Resolution No. 4, series of 2009, pertains to the “premium given to government personnel exposed to hazardous situations such as, but not limited to, disease-infested areas and areas declared under state of calamity or emergency which pose occupational risks or perils to life.”

Earlier, EcoWaste Coalition appealed to the national government agencies and LGUs to consider providing hazard pay to garbage collectors “to show that society values the contribution of environmental frontliners in our ongoing battle against COVID-19.”

As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on people’s lives and health, both the EcoWaste Coalition and the MEF appealed to national and local authorities to step up compliance to Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

The groups emphasized the need for waste prevention and reduction during the ECQ, including proper waste segregation at source to keep contaminated materials separated from recyclables and other discards that can endanger the health of formal and informal waste workers.