Pushing for a law banning asbestos and the development of a national program for the elimination of asbestos related diseases (NPEAD) is the trade unions’ approach to the issue of asbestos in the Philippines. These two initiatives are different but are not entirely separate.
The passage of a law requires action from the two chambers of the Philippine Congress – the Senate and the House of Representatives. This needs the filing of a bill in each chamber. A pending bill in the Senate guided our efforts to develop a bill for the House. The difference between the Senate and the House bills became our proposed amendments to the Senate Bill. The Senate committed to call a hearing on the bill when the session resumes this month.
The development of NPEAD involves departments from the executive branch of government and other stakeholders while the legislative process takes its course. The NPEAD focuses on minimizing asbestos hazards and improving support mechanisms for exposed workers based on the mandates of the labor, health, environment and other departments. The labor department committed to hold regular consultations to develop the NPEAD.
The NPEAD will hopefully prepare the framework for the implementation of the law when passed.
Gerard Seno, Ban Asbestos Philippines, Philippines@gban.net