Philippine unions call for inspection for asbestos of public buildings and for NPEAD!

Published by rudy Date posted on April 14, 2011

Unions will commemorate and highlight the International Workers’ Memorial Day (IWMD) on April 28 with a call for the Philippine government to inspect public buildings and to reduce exposure of workers and their families to presence of asbestos and asbestos containing materials.

The call by the Associated Labor Unions, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, and the Building and Wood Workers International (ALU-TUCP-BWI) underscores the government brimming agenda in implementing international agreements and national laws and regulations for the safety and health of thousands of Filipino workers.

The call also stresses the need to fast-track the promulgation and implementation of  a National Program for Elimination of Asbestos-Related Diseases (NPEAD), a consensus policy document that advocates  strategies for elimination of asbestos-related diseases.

The perceived needs – government records of morbidity and mortality from asbestos-related diseases and the control and supervision of imports of 4,000 to 6,000 metric tons of highly hazardous asbestos and Asbestos-Containing Materials (ACMs) every year—highlight the risks that thousands of Filipino working men and women and their families are exposed to killer dust.
Asbestos in the Philippines are used in fiber cement boards, packaging materials, gaskets, friction and mechanical parts such as brakes and clutch linings in motor vehicles.  Asbestos is also  found in houses, schools, churches, public buildings, malls, and similar structures.

The World Health Organization estimates 125 million workers worldwide who are exposed to asbestos in their workplaces. This translates to an appalling 107,000 workers dying each year to Asbestos-Related Diseases (ARDs).

The April 28 Memorial Day activities will be guided by the theme “Unions Make Work Safer”.  The program commences with a moment of prayer and a ceremonial candle-lighting in memory of workers killed in workplaces, including by asbestos.

The program includes a briefing on the progress of the NPEAD, which development started in September 2009 with a letter from then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo directing the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to take the appropriate action ;  a press conference to call attention to the unions’  call to action statement; and a  hand-over of the call to action to DOLE and the Department of Health (DOH) in Manila, and  the Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC), and DENR in Quezon City .

The commemoration will be capped by a “paseo” in malls  in Makati City and Quezon City. ###

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