EcoWaste Coalition on Monday appealed to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to authorize local government units to give hazard pay to garbage collectors using local development funds.
The health and pro-environment group asked DILG Secretary Eduardo Año to allow LGUs to tap 20 percent of their development fund to give hazard pay for government-assigned waste collection workers during the lockdown amid the pandemic COVID-19.
“We urge the DILG, in coordination with DBM (Department of Budget and Management), to further unlock the restrictions on the use of local development fund to give LGUs the flexibility to provide appropriate hazard pay to garbage collectors servicing their areas during the ECQ,” said Jove Benosa, zero-waste campaigner of the group.
“We request the DILG and the DBM to issue a follow-up Memorandum Circular to this effect,” he added.
EcoWaste Coalition earlier appealed to the government to grant hazard pay to garbage collectors regardless if they are contractual or not since they are also considered frontliners at risk of acquiring the respiratory disease.
Hazard pay for garbage collectors pushed
However, DBM Assistant Secretary Achilles Gerard Bravo, on April 14, replied that “institutional COS (contract of service), such as the garbage collectors from companies engaged by LGUs, are not considered as government personnel as they are continually regarded as employees of the contractor or service provider.”
“The private contractor or service providers may, at their own predilection, grant a benefit similar to the COVID-19 hazard pay to their workers deployed in government agencies and LGUs during the implementation of the quarantine measures,” Bravo also said, according to EcoWaste.
The EcoWaste reiterated that giving hazard pay for garbage collectors is a way of recognizing their important role in waste management during this health crisis in the country.
“Without their indispensable service, we may be faced with even more environmental and health hazards from uncollected waste,” the coalition said.
According to the Asian Development Blog, about 35,580 tons of garbage is generated every day in the Philippines, and more than 8,600 tons per day in Metro Manila alone. On average, each person in the country produces about 0.5 kg and 0.3 kg of garbage every day in the urban and rural areas, respectively.