Waste industry workers press gov’t to pass magna carta bill

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THE Philippine National Waste Workers Association (PNWWA) said industry workers need a magna carta, currently going through the legislative process in the form of Senate Bill No. 2636, to firm up their pay standards and benefits.

“We are calling on all concerned to support our call to (recognize) the role played by waste workers in our society,” Aloja Santos, president of the PNWWA, said in a briefing on Tuesday.

She added that until the bill is passed, local government units should support waste workers in their localities.

“We are calling for just compensation and social benefits and protection because we provide essential services to society. We are as deserving of such benefits and protection as any other worker, perhaps even more so,” Ms. Santos said.

Froilan Grate, Regional Coordinator of the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives Asia Pacific, said that there are about 100 thousand registered waste workers in the Philippines.

“Many of them are in the informal sector. What we know is that many of them have been subject to abuse or neglect. Many of them have not received the right protection and benefits,” he added.

The Senate bill seeks to enforce labor standards, ensure the provision of health insurance, and offer a measure of job security for waste workers. It is now being discussed in committee in the Senate.

Mother Earth Foundation Chairperson Sonia Mendoza said that the government should also uphold the right of waste workers to full labor protections.

“This commitment sets the foundation for collaborative advocacy,” Ms. Mendoza added.

PNWWA is an alliance of 12 waste workers groups representing over a thousand workers. — Adrian H. Halili