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Monday, May 27, 2024

Go renews call for work-from-home setups amid dangerous heat levels

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As the country braces for hotter days this May, Sen. Christopher Lawrence Go has renewed his call for some adoptive measures including work-from-home schedules to protect workers from extreme heat.

For students, Go suggested virtual learning arrangements in response to the escalating climate heat index prompted by the ongoing El Niño phenomenon.

The senator also emphasized the importance of revisiting work and educational setups to prioritize public health and safety.

“Let us prioritize the health and safety of our people. Let us remember that health is equivalent to the life of every Filipino,” said Go.

He encouraged both the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Education (DepEd) to take proactive measures.

Go vouched for flexible work arrangements. He called on employers to extend work-from-home options for employees whose daily tasks can be done remotely.

“We got used to working from home during the pandemic. Maybe the government can consider implementing a work-from-home arrangement again,” he said.

He also appealed for some workers to be given ‘heat breaks.’ He highlighted its necessity, especially for field personnel like construction laborers, who are directly exposed to scorching heat outdoors.

“For workers, let us give them longer or more frequent heat breaks in one day. And for sick workers, give them leave of absence, if needed,” said Go.

Further, the senator mentioned the availability of PhilHealth benefits for heat stroke victims.

Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa recently emphasized the rights of workers to take heat breaks to avoid heat-related illnesses.

This was brought to the fore following an incident where a 75-year-old man reportedly died from heat stroke in Ilocos Sur.

Herbosa supported the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) initiative to permit employees with health issues exacerbated by the heat to take leaves of absence and advocated for night shifts for construction workers to mitigate the risks associated with daytime heat.

The rising heat levels are a significant concern, with the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) warning that the heat index could exceed dangerous levels of 42°C in May, especially affecting Luzon and parts of Visayas and Mindanao.

PAGASA’s Benison Estareja advised the public to adopt precautionary measures such as staying hydrated and using sun protection to combat extreme temperatures anticipated in the coming weeks. 

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