Post-Yolanda: Protect workers from risks

MANILA, Philippines – In the long road to recovery, government's 15-day temporary jobs for Yolanda victims is a great idea. Instead of relying on aid, survivors are given the chance to earn by the labor department's emergency employment program through government's reconstruction efforts.

But the International Labor Organization (ILO) highlighted the need to protect these temporary workers from the risks of injury.

"Putting money in their pocket to support their families is one thing. However, as these workers start clearing and rebuilding their communities, we need to ensure that they are given personal protective equipment," said Lawrence Jeff Johnson of the ILO Country Office for the Philippines in a statement.

ILO is currently working with private organizations Consuelo Zobel Alger Foundation, Ace Hardware and SM Cares to provide protective equipment – masks, hats, gloves, boots and long sleeved shirts.

The Consuela Zobel Alger Foundation donated P1.5 million to finance the purchase of 3,000 sets of protective equipment for workers in Negros Occidental, Northern Cebu, Palawan, Tacloban and Bohol.

"Ace Hardware and SM Cares have also thrown their support in providing personal protective equipment and tools to the workers," ILO added.

Under the emergency employment program, the survivors are given 15-day temporary jobs that ensures them of minimum wages and social security benefits. 

Up to 5.9 million workers were affected by typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), and 2.6 million of them didn't have stable jobs or were living near the poverty line before the November 8 typhoon, according to the ILO. –