Following the catastrophic Feb. 6 landslide in Maco, Davao de Oro—which has, so far, resulted in the loss of 11 lives with 110 individuals reportedly missing—the Federation of Free Workers (FFW) urged the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC) to provide, other than Social Security System (SSS) and ECC benefits, immediate and comprehensive assistance to the victims and their bereaved families.
The labor group likewise extended its deepest sympathies and solidarity to the families of the mine workers affected by the disaster.
The tragic incident occurred on the night of February 6, impacting a bus company garage, a barangay hall, and residential areas in Zone 1 Barangay Masara, close to a mining site operated by Apex Mining.
“While we acknowledge that the affected area is outside the area of mine operations of Apex Mining, as clarified by the company, the FFW stresses that the death or injury resulting from this event is work-related,” said Joel Balaus, chairperson of FFW-Trade Federation 4 (Metals, Semiconductor and Mining).
Balaus, together with some 20 trade union leaders across the manufacturing and service industries, are currently in Manila attending the FFW’s OSH Training, in partnership with the International Labor Organization (ILO) and with the support of the Japanese government
“We emphasize the work-relatedness considering that some workers were about to go home when the landslide occurred, affecting those involved in the 24-hour operation of the mining site,” Balaus added.
Arlene Degayo Golloso, FFW Governing Board member, further recommended: “Other than expediting their SSS benefits and ECC work-related statutory benefits, we also suggest to SSS and DOLE-ECC to go to the ground to jointly and promptly extend support, including financial aid, psychosocial interventions, and employment assistance to those victims and families affected.”
The FFW cited the government-ratified International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 176 on Safety and Health in Mines and ILO Convention 187 on the National OSH System—international treaties that emphasize the government’s role in ensuring that workers in mines and in all workplaces are safe and healthy and that those affected by work-related accident are compensated.
The FFW also called for a thorough investigation of the incident, led by the DOLE, with DENR and the Local Government Unit (LGU), to prevent future occurrences, emphasizing the need for strict adherence to occupational health and safety standards as well as ensuring green jobs and environmental safety.