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[Workers Assess Noynoy Series] PNoy, negligent of health and safety in workplace – KMU

With less than a week before Pres. Benigno Aquino III’s second State of the Nation Address, labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno slammed the president for being negligent of the health and safety of Filipino workers, saying the president remains unfazed allowing capitalists to defy international health and safety standards.

KMU cited data from pro-workers’ institution Institute for Occupational Health, Safety and Development or Iohsad showing that there has been 658 work-related deaths and 442 work-related accidents in 2010 and 2011.

The labor center urged the president to junk Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Department Order Number 57-04 which mandates and legalizes the self-assessment of employers with regard to their workers’ health and safety in the workplace.

“Accidents and deaths involving workers in workplaces are not a result of coincidence, but of policies of the Arroyo and Aquino regimes. One of the ways that the government is practically begging capitalists to invest in the country is by ensuring that international standards on health and safety won’t be observed,” said Lito Ustarez, KMU vice-chairperson.

“Letting capitalists assess themselves in relation to workers’ health and safety is like asking cats to assess themselves in relation to mice – yet that is exactly what DOLE DO No. 57-04 does. This absurd and anti-worker policy should be scrapped immediately. The government must take up a greater role in the assessment of workplaces in relation to workers’ health and safety,” Ustarez added.

Citing the Eton tragedy as an incident showing how current health and safety policies fail to protect workers, KMU recalled how the Aquino government offered measly dole-outs to the victims rather than go after the employers and contractors who violated international health and safety standards.

“What happened in Eton is reflective of the health and safety situation in the workplace in the country. President Noynoy Aquino did not even raise a finger to hold Lucio Tan, owner of Eton Properties, responsible for his crime. If he continues to side with big capitalists such as Lucio Tan, the workers will always be working with one foot in the grave. This precedent promotes more grave crimes against workers as the government does nothing to bring justice to victims and their families,” said Ustarez.

“If Pres. Aquino would rather have workers die than peeve profiteers, workers have no other choice but to unite their ranks, revolt and fight such inhuman working conditions,” said Ustarez.

Reference Person: 
Lito Ustarez, KMU vice-chairperson
Contact information: 

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