Hazard pay for disaster workers in Baguio proposed

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BAGUIO CITY  – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance granting hazard pay to the employees of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) and allocating the amount of P200,000 or so much thereof annually for the said purpose.

The ordinance authored by Vice Mayor Faustino A. Olowan states it shall be a policy of the city government to provide hazard duty pay to all officials and employees under the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office subject to Department of Budget and Management (DBM) National /budget Circular No. 451, series of 1996.

The ordinance adds that all CDRRMO officials and employees, whether permanent, casual, co-terminus, contractual or job order in status of employment shall be entitled to the prescribed hazard duty pay which shall be a maximum of P600 per month regardless of the period of exposure.

The ordinance mandates the allocation of the amount of P200,000 or so much thereof from the available funds of the city government for the payment of the hazard duty pay of the CDRRMO officials and employees and that the same shall be included in the annual budget of the city annually.

The ordinance directs the City Finance Committee to issue the necessary certificate of availability of funds to support the appropriation of funds for the said purpose.

Section 3, Article 8 of the 1987 Constitution provides that the State shall protect labor, promote full employment, provide equal opportunities regardless of gender, race, or creed and regulate employee-employer relations.

DBM National Budget Circular No. 451, series of 1996 provides that compensation premium or allowance may be provided for officials and employees, who, because of the nature of their work, are exposed to hazards.

Further, provisions of the circular explains that those in work areas where rescue operations or evacuations had to be carried out due to natural calamities, where the rescuers are directly and actually exposed to harm, danger or occupational risk or perils to life in the course of performing their duties, may be covered with the prescribed hazard duty pay.

Under the circular, officials and employees who are directly involved in rescue operations shall be entitled to hazard duty pay at the maximum rate per month regardless of the period of exposure.

Olowan claimed the officials and employees of the CDRRMO are among the human resource of the city government who are exposed to hazardous work areas as they attend to emergency operations where their lives are placed at risk, transport sick patients from residences to hospitals where they are exposed to health-related viruses or diseases, among others.

He emphasized the city government should provide the foresaid officials and employees with hazard duty pay as an equitable compensation for the services they provide and due to the environment where they are being exposed in the performance of their assigned duties and responsibilities as disaster risk reduction and management workers.

By Dexter A. See

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