Sunday, May 19, 2024

Senator Bong Go: Consider Work-From-Home And Virtual Learning Arrangements


Senator Bong Go: Consider Work-From-Home And Virtual Learning Arrangements


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On Thursday, April 18, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go expressed support for adaptive measures to protect workers against the escalating heat index in the country, prompted by the ongoing El Niño phenomenon. Go also emphasized the importance of revisiting work and educational setups to prioritize public health and safety.

“Unahin natin ang kalusugan at kaligtasan ng ating mga kababayan. Tandaan natin na ang kalusugan ay katumbas ng buhay ng bawat Pilipino,” he said.

During an ambush interview after aiding displaced workers in Manaoag, Pangasinan, responding to queries about proposed actions to safeguard workers during the extreme heat, Go stressed the proactive steps that must be considered by the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Education (DepEd).

“Unang-una, ang DOH, I’m sure, at ang DepEd ay pinag-aralan naman po ito. Kaya nga po walang pasok ngayon dito sa inyo, sa lugar nyo sa Pangasinan, at pati rin sa iba’t ibang opisina,” stated Go.

He further expressed affirmation for flexible working arrangements, “Ako po ay nakikiusap sa ating mga iba’t ibang ahensya ng gobyerno na kung pwede magkaroon tayo ng tinatawag na ‘heat breaks’ i-explore natin itong ‘work-from-home’ options. Ikonsidera natin ang kaligtasan ng mga empleyado natin na naiinitan.”

The senator also highlighted the necessity for ‘heat breaks,’ especially for field personnel like construction workers who are directly exposed to the scourging heat outdoors.

Reflecting on the pandemic-induced shift to remote work, he suggested, “Nakasanayan naman natin ito noong panahon ng pandemya na ‘work-from-home’ tayo. Baka pwedeng i-consider po ito ng ating gobyerno kung sakaling magkaroon tayo ng work from home arrangement kung kailanganin.”

Go continued, “Bigyan sila ng mas mahaba o mas frequent na heat breaks in one day. At sa mga may sakit, bigyan ng leave of absence kapag kailangan.”

Additionally, he pointed out the availability of a PhilHealth benefit for heat stroke victims, emphasizing the entitlement of every Filipino to this assistance: “Pwede silang mag-avail ng tulong mula sa gobyerno. Libre ito.”

“At sabi nga ng DOH, workers have a right to heat breaks. Unahin po natin ang kalusugan ng bawat Pilipino. Lahat naman ang Pilipino ay miyembro po ng PhilHealth,” concluded Go.

Health Secretary Ted Herbosa recently highlighted the rights of workers to take heat breaks to avoid heat-related illnesses. This was brought to the forefront following an incident where a 75-year-old man reportedly died from a heat stroke in Ilocos Sur.

Secretary Herbosa supported the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) initiative to permit employees with health issues exacerbated by the heat to take leaves of absence and advocated for night shifts for construction workers to mitigate the risks associated with daytime heat.

The rising heat levels are a significant concern, with the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) warning that the heat index could exceed dangerous levels of 42°C in May, especially affecting Luzon and parts of Visayas and Mindanao.

PAGASA’s Benison Estareja advised the public to adopt precautionary measures such as staying hydrated and using sun protection to combat the extreme temperatures anticipated in the coming weeks.