Aside from being the first among the local government units (LGUs) to have Covid-19 testing facility, the city of Marikina is also the first to adopt a labor-protection ordinance aimed at mitigating the negative impact of the current pandemic among workers.
Sponsored by Councilor Renato Magtubo, City Ordinance No. 027 Series of 2020, also known as COVID 19 Pandemic Workers’ Welfare Ordinance of 2020, was adopted by the City Council last March 18, 2020. Magtubo is also the National Chairman of Partido Manggagawa (PM) and one of the convenors of the labor coalition Nagkaisa.
The ordinance aims to protect jobs and income for workers employed in companies and establishments operating in Marikina City and to help the city government in its effort to contain and effectively address the effects of COVID 19 pandemic to the population of Marikina City.
The ordinance recommends several measures to adopt in the event a company or an establishment’s operation is affected by Covid-19 pandemic. These include a dialogue between workers and employers both in the unionized and non-unionized establishments. Parties to the dialogue may seek the assistance of the city’s LRPESO, the City Mayor, the Chairperson of the Committee on Labor and Capital Relations of the city council or from the representative of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on their impact assessment and determination of appropriate measures to undertake.
Magtubo stressed that impact assessment is very important at this point in time so that employers’ actions such as reduction of working hours, work rotation, temporary reduction of workforce or company shutdown would not be imposed without providing workers some level of protection such as paid leave, return to work assurance, and access to government assistance or subsidies. The ordinance also encourages work-from-home arrangements without diminution of wages and benefits. Personal protective equipment must also be provided by employers for workers who will remain in the frontline.
The ordinance does not yet cover workers in the informal sector whom Magtubo said are the ones needing a wide range level of social protection. But just the same, he urged the city government to conduct a city-wide impact assessment for this huge sector so that they get priority from national subsidies and LGU assistance.
“Emergency measures are always met by bureaucratic gridlock so that the more an LGU is prepared in knowing the problems down the line and getting the inputs of local communities which is a very important aspect of crisis response, the more it can respond quickly and effectively to their particular needs,” said Magtubo.
And in reaction to the Bayanihan Act, the labor leader echoed Nagkaisa’s call that the national bayanihan must be matched by ‘katapatan’ on the part of the Chief executive and his implementing agencies while the people should maintain ‘pagbabantay’ or a strong level of collective vigilance so that emergency powers are put in check.
“Karapatan nating makatanggap ng tulong mula sa gubyerno. Karapatan din nating hindi maabuso,” concluded Magtubo.
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