Philippine Senate to call hearing on asbestos ban bill
Associated Labor Unions (ALU)
Building and Woodworkers International (BWI)
Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP)
Manila, Philippines, 19 October 2010 – “Senator Manny Villar as Chair of the Senate Committee on Trade and Commerce will schedule public hearing on Senate Bill No. 89 (SBN-89) banning asbestos when the Senate resumes session on November 8, 2010”, replied Atty. Gladys Garcia from the Senator’s office during the handover of trade union position on the asbestos ban bill 11 October 2010.
“The Committee Chair can set priorities and Senator Villar will bring the asbestos bill to the Committee on Trade and Commerce,” added Atty. Garcia. She said the hearing would invite resource persons to clarify or provide further information on the matter. Atty. Garcia assured that the Committee would invite a resource person from the trade unions.
“Asbestos is a menace. The more asbestos ban is delayed, the more workers, their families and the public are at risk due,” relayed ALU-TUCP Vice President Gerard Seno who headed the delegation. “The Bill provides for safe handling of installed asbestos materials, among other things,” added Seno.
“The Bill provides for a phase out period to give time for the industry and stakeholders to prepare for the ban,” assuaged TUCP Women’s Committee Chair Florencia Cabatingan.
The trade union position supports SBN-89 with proposed amendments. SBN-89 bans the importation, manufacturing, processing, or distribution in commerce asbestos-containing products.
SBN-89 with the proposed amendments protects workers, their families and the public by launching a public education and safety campaign, providing an effective system of inspection and enforcement of standards and safety measures and finally phasing out the use of asbestos and asbestos-containing materials to make a transition to asbestos-free working and general environments.
The Bill and the proposed amendments will build a central registry of workers exposed to asbestos and medical surveillance for early detection and diagnosis, and provide for the consideration of asbestos related diseases as under the category of catastrophic illness and therefore eligible for additional compensation and / or increased benefits.
The handover visit was part of the activities by the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), the Associated Labor Unions (ALU) and the Building and Woodworkers International (BWI) in pushing for the bills banning asbestos pending in the Senate and the House of Representatives.