DOLE urges prioritization of minimum wage earners, OFWs in COVID vaccine drive

Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 15 2021 11:00 PM

Workers put finishing touches on concrete plant boxes along Mother Ignacia Ave., Quezon City on January 4, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA - The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is urging the national government to include minimum wage earners among sectors that will be prioritized in the vaccination against COVID-19.

Labor Usec. Benjo Benavidez said Friday ensuring the health and safety of workers, including OFWs, would help the economy recover quickly from the pandemic.

“Alam po ninyo at alam din po natin ito ng ating mga kababayan na ang ating labor force ay composed mostly ng ating mga minimum wage earners at katuwang po ng ating mga negosyante, ang atin pong mga minimum wage earner, ito po iyong bumubuhay sa ating ekonomiya,” Benavidez said.

“So, para po tayo maka-recover, para po maka-recover ang ating ekonomiya, kailangan po nating siguraduhin na ang ating mga manggagawa ay ligtas at malusog.”

The national government earlier announced that it plans to vaccinate some 50 to 70 million Filipinos in 2021 against COVID-19, with priority to be given to health workers, indigents, senior citizens and uniformed police and military personnel.

DOLE said it is monitoring the compliance of industries to health and safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19, together with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and local government units (LGUs).

“Kami po ay nakabisita ng mahigit na 72,000 na mga pagawaan at opisina para tingnan po namin iyong pagsunod po nila sa minimum health protocols. At doon po sa mahigit pong 72,000, iyong initial visit po namin ay may 77 po iyong compliance rate. So ibig sabihin po noon, mayroon po tayong mga lampas po sa 23 percent na mga hindi po sumusunod,” Benavidez said.
 
“Subalit ang proseso po natin ay turuan po sila at ipaalam sa kanila kung ano po iyong mga kailangan po nilang sundin. At dahil po doon sa mga technical assistance at technical advises na ibinibigay po natin lalung-lalo na doon sa mga maliliit po nating mga negosyo, sila naman po ay sumusunod,” he continued, adding that compliance of establishments has since risen to 92%.

Benavidez said DOLE will continue to train occupational safety and health officers for free to ensure the continued compliance of establishments to COVID-19 protocols

"Mayroon po tayong mahigit na 1 million establishments at ito pong mga establishments na ito ay kailangan magkaroon ng mga safety officer. Sila po iyong katulong po natin sa pagpapatupad ng occupational safety and health standards,” he said.

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