Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has proposed a five-day special emergency leave for all public and private workers directly affected by natural calamity or disaster to allow them to protect themselves and their families as well as their properties.
Cognizant of the myriad dangers faced during natural calamities and disasters, De Lima filed Senate Bill No. (SBN) 1910 which seeks to provide a five-day special emergency leave with pay for all workers in the public and private sector.
“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 said.
Located along the Pacific Belt, the Philippines is often visited with an average of 20 typhoons every year, some of which wreak havoc across the country, endanger the lives of many people and even destroy properties, vital facilities and agriculture.
Situated in the “Pacific Ring of Fire,” the country is also vulnerable to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, making its geographical location and physical environment susceptible to tsunami, storm surges, landslides, flood, sea level rise, and even drought.
The Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development explained that the State should strike a balance between the duties of every Filipino as an employee and his primal instinct to survive during emergencies.
“The fight to survive is the daily concern of every Filipino, but it is more important when Mother Nature herself makes her presence known,” she added.
De Lima said she is proposing that each worker in the public and private sector should be afforded with protection against the onslaught of calamities and disasters, including taking care of their families and properties against damages and dangers.
“The profound environmental effect of natural disasters and/or calamities to the nation is inevitable, and it for that reasons this proposed measure seeks to at the very least soften the blow of the unforeseen and the inescapable,” she said.
Under her proposed measure, an employee who has rendered at least six months of service should be entitled to a five-day calamity leave with pay in times of natural calamities or disasters.
Qualified to a “calamity leave” are employees who are stranded in calamity-stricken areas, those who have incurred disease or illness, or need to take care of family members, or to attend to repair and clean up their damaged properties during calamity or disaster.
The grant of a five-day calamity leave, however, shall be subjected to careful verification, including the declaration of calamity, medical certificate, announcement of work suspension, road closure, availability of public transportation, among others.