By Gladys Pino, PNA
MANILA — The Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) on Tuesday said it will make the establishment of “post-earthquake safety protocols” a priority agenda when members convene for the National Conference of Employers (NCE) this May.
ECOP Chair Emeritus Francis Chua, in a reaction to organized labor’s call for employers to ensure that office buildings are inspected and rendered structurally sound before letting their employees return to work after an earthquake, told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that this “point is well taken.”
But “we need to convene, and make this (new safety protocols) as one of our priority agenda in our NCE this May,” Chua said.
Chua admits that ECOP as an organization does not have protocols that automatically kick-in in the aftermath of a disaster “because the government is doing a great job.”
He added, however, that individual companies may have their own disaster response policies on a case to case basis. “Our directors and members always help employees affected by earthquakes and other disasters,” he explained.
The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) made the call after a magnitude 6.1 earthquake rocked parts of Luzon on Monday, shortly after 5:11 p.m., leaving at least 14 dead in Porac and Lubao towns of Pampanga.
The quake, also felt in Metro Manila, caused thousands of private and public sector employees to hastily evacuate their offices and sought safety in open spaces.
TUCP officials said Tuesday that they are acting on reports from workers and employees, who were not evacuated but instead were ordered to report back for work despite the dangers in the immediate aftermath of the quake.
This may be construed as a form of abuse due to perils posed to the employees’ health and safety, the union officials added.
ECOP, formed in September 1975, and envisioned as the voice of Philippine employers on labor and social policy towards the pursuit of national development, will convene its members for the 40th NCE, with theme “Future Proofing Business and Industry” at the Marriott Grand Ballroom from May 28 to 29. (PNA)