With the impending six months closure of Boracay Island starting April 26, workers and environment groups in Negros Occidental are urging the government to ensure the protection of almost 30,000 registered and informal workers who will be displaced.
Secretary general Wennie Sancho of the General Alliance of Workers Association said yesterday that with their appeal to hold in abeyance the decision to close Boracay, the concerned government agencies should have an adequate safety net to accommodate registered workers in the island.
On March 6, the group of Sancho, together with the Philippine Agricultural, Commercial, and Industrial Workers Union-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines Western Visayas filed a petition to President Rodrigo Duterte asking him to hold in abeyance his decision to close down Boracay Island.
Sancho said Duterte might be determined to close the island but GAWA is urging him and the Department of Labor and Employment to ensure the protection of the workers who will be laid off and their families that will be affected by the president’s decision.
DOLE had earlier reported that there are about 17,000 registered workers in Boracay and Sancho said that if informal workers will be included, there are about 30,000 people who will be affected by the closure.
GAWA also appealed that the government should implement the closure gradually, to assure that not all employees will be drastically affected by the order.
Sancho also said that they are urging other labor groups to air their appeal to the president during the observance of Labor Day on May 1.
“We are not anti-government, we just want to air our grievances on the might-be effects of this closure on the workers,” he said.
Meanwhile, Green Alert Network-Negros Island coordinator, Randy James Rojo, also said yesterday that they welcome the decision of the president as it is intended for the protection of the environment resources in Boracay.
Rojo said that GAN is happy that this decision was made; however, the concerned government agencies should do their jobs accordingly to assure that the affected workers will not be in a worse situation.
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu’s action against the illegal structures in the world-renowned island is commendable and Rojo said GAN hopes this kind of strict enforcement will also be implemented in the illegal structures found in Negros Occidental.*MLG
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