Nov 6, 2019

After the series of earthquakes and a tornado that hit Mindanao last week, Senator Leila de Lima refiled Senate Bill 1123 which seeks to give workers affected by natural disasters a five-day paid calamity leave based on certain grounds and circumstances specified in the measure.

On Oct. 16, a magnitude 6.3 tremor hit Cotabato which led to the damage of infrastructures and properties in the region as well as residents suffering from injuries from the disaster. According to the latest report of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (NDRRMC), this was followed by another earthquake on Oct. 29 that killed at least eight people.

A magnitude 6.5 quake struck Central and Eastern Mindanao on Oct. 31, leaving hundreds of people hurt and a number of fatalities across the region. In a report by Inquirer.net, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said many residents left their homes for the fear that it would collapse because of frequent aftershocks.

And just this month, a number of classrooms are totally damaged due to the tornado that hit Marawi City. 

[READ: Help Mindanao earthquake victims by donating and volunteering through these orgs]

In the proposed bill, the five-day special emergency leave with pay shall be granted to those directly affected by natural calamities or disasters. Individuals eligible for a “calamity leave” will only include those who incurred diseases brought about by the disaster, those caring for immediate and affected family members, and those needing to urgently repair and clean up their damaged houses.

The bill also states that the calamity leave can be “applied for five straight working days or on a staggered basis and will not be deducted from the employee’s leave credits” and it will be made available once a state of calamity is declared by the President or by local government officials. 

Employers also have the discretion to grant the leave if the specific area is affected by a natural disaster but not declared under a state of calamity. 

De Lima said the calamity leave “shall be limited to the grounds and circumstances, and only upon compliance with the requirements set forth and in conformity with the issued guidelines.”

“Recognizing the environmental consequences of the geographical location of the Philippines as the Pearl of the Orient Seas, the State through this Act seeks to dampen the natural adversities that plague the people,” she said.

 

Header photo courtesy of Sam Joel Nang, Inquirer.net

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