April 28 is recognized by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) as International Workers’ Memorial Day. It is also the United Nation’s World Day for Safety and Health at Work.
Under the presidency of Benigno Aquino, international labor standards for safe working conditions are for set aside for bigger private profits. Labor Department Orders 115-A and 57-04 allowed companies with 200 or more workers to self-assess their compliance with occupational health and safety (OHS) standards.
The Philippines Chapter of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS-Phils) are one with workers in “remembering the dead and fighting for the living” this World Day for Safety and Health at Work.
The most recent case is the death of an employee of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), one of the worst airports in the world. The 39-year-old victim, Elmer Limon, was a wheelchair attendant at the NAIA Terminal 2 when he died from heat stroke.
No less than 72 deaths were caused by the factory fire at Kentex Manufacturing in Valenzuela City on May 13 last year. Earlier, at the Novo Jeans and Shorts in Butuan City, 17 workers died in a fire on May 9, 2012 and eight workers of Asia Micro Tech in Pasay City died in a factory fire on April 30, 2014.
The collapse of an open pit mine in Semirara Mining Corp operations in Caluya, Antique on July 17, 2015 caused the death of nine coal miners. In 2013, five miners died in earlier mine collapse.
Semirara Mining Corp. is the biggest coal miner in the Philippines and accounts for 92 percent of the total production in the country and supplies coal to China, India, Japan, Taiwan, and Thailand.
At least 27 construction workers have died in three cases: 10 workers died in the construction site of Eton Residences in Makati City in January 27, 2011; five died in the construction of a power plant in Pilila, Rizal on February 3, 2013; and 12 people died in the construction of a warehouse in Guiguinto, Bulacan on January 21, 2015.
Five workers were immediately crushed to death and seven more injured when a 42-ton elevated ramp fell on workers at Keppel Subic Shipyard on October 7, 2011. Later the same day, one of the seven injured workers died at the hospital in Olongapo.
Keppel Subic Shipyard, located in the Special Economic Zone, has a 1,300 Filipino workforce. Some of the victims are contractual workers who receive only P235 to P255 ($5.40 to $ 5.86) per day, when the minimum wage in Central Luzon is pegged at P302 ($6.94) plus P28-cost of living allowance ($0.64).
The Metal Workers Alliance of the Philippines (MWAP) — an affiliate of the International Metalworkers Federation uniting workers in the metal industry including automotive, electronics, shipbuilding, mining and steel — denounced the inhumane and unsafe working conditions.