Anakpawis to govt, employers: Provide immediate aid to abandoned construction workers
On the occasion of the International Day of Occupational Health and Safety, Anakpawis Partylist reiterates call for immediate government support for tens of thousands of construction workers in the National Capital Region abandoned by their employers and contractors during the lockdown and enhanced community quarantine across Luzon.
According to former Anakpawis representative Ariel Casilao, among the most affected by the work stoppage due to the lockdown are construction workers who are mostly transient workers coming from the provinces. Many of them have no permanent residence in Manila, have lost their livelihood after the lockdown, and are wandering in the streets almost begging for food and money to send to their families in the provinces.
“Many of the abandoned construction workers are not listed in the 4Ps program of the DSWD and are not included in the barangay list of beneficiaries for the Social Amelioration Program. Iniwan sila sa ere ng mga amo at employer nila. Kanya-kanyang diskarte ngayon ang mga inabandonang construction workers para makakain at makapagpadala ng pera sa mga pamilya nilang nasa probinsya. The Department of Labor and Employment and LGUs must also look into the serious plight of construction workers.”
Based on IBON Foundation estimates, there are about 2.8 million construction workers nationwided dislocated due to the lockdown. Despite having standards to ensure
occupational safety, a high number of cases of injuries are still reported annually in the construction industry. Furthermore, it is uncertain if proper work methods and labor standards are followed by construction companies employing outside the supervision of DOLE.
Even the International Labor Organization regard construction work as among the most precarious jobs. Most of Filipino construction workers are project-based and contractuals. “Their work is difficult, dirty, and dangerous. They do not have social protection and not afforded with occupational health and safety. Their situation went from bad to worse during the lockdown,” Casilao said.
The dire situation of construction workers was brought to the attention of Anakpawis Partylist after a construction worker sent a message to the group’s Facebook Page seeking help for food assistance. Tulong Anakpawis was able to raise support for 90 construction workers stranded in Paranaque City. The group sent sacks of rice and food packs to the construction workers.
Anakpawis also lambasted the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) and big real estate organizations like the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Association Inc. (CREBA), Socialized and Economic Housing Developers of the Philippines (OSHDP), the National Real Estate Association (NREA) and the Subdivision and Housing Developers Association (SHDA) for insisting the resumption of construction works under without first giving due consideration to the status of abandoned construction workers. The progressive partylist also directed criticism to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) after the agency confirmed that infrastructure projects under the Build, Build, Build program will proceed as planned despite the COVID19 crisis.
“National government agencies and real estate businesses must first come to the aid of construction workers even before thinking about reopening the construction business. Dapat matulungan munang maka-survive ang ating mga manggagawa sa construction. Construction workers will play the main role in uplifting the construction industry and infrastructure from the economic slump brought about by the pandemic.” ###