MANILA, Philippines — The Kabataan Party-list on Friday commended all those who volunteered in the relief efforts for the Taal Volcano eruption, especially the youth, and joins its allied organizations in Tulong Kabataan in calling for the youth continue the outpouring of donations and support for those greatly affected by the calamity.
“As residents and volunteers within the area try to minimize the health effects of the ashfall through the proper protective equipment, there have been grave concerns of its sudden price spikes driven by profiteering at the expense of public safety and welfare. We have also received reports of private sector workers being forced to go to work in hazardous conditions in violation of the provisions of RA 11058 Occupational Safety and Health Law, which state that workers have the right to refuse unsafe work. Suspension of work in hazardous areas must be imperative,” said the Kabataan Party-list in a statement issued.
The group said, as the sole youth representative in Congress, they urge the Duterte administration to act immediately to address the needs of communities affected by the Taal Volcano eruption:
1. Ensure implementation of automatic price controls in times of crisis; distribution of personal protective wear such as masks is paramount and so, hoarding and overpricing of such as well as ready-to-eat food and other relief goods, must be reported and penalized in order to prevent the unscrupulous, especially in areas outside the province of Batangas, from capitalizing and profiteering off the desire of Filipinos to help those in need; and
2. For the Department of Labor and Employment to monitor, investigate, and sanction firms which violate RA 11058.
The group said, while the efforts of civilians, private sector and organizations are commendable, it is the government, through the Executive Branch, which bears the obligation for appropriate and immediate disaster response and risk management.
The Duterte government has control over P16-B calamity fund on top of Quick Response Funds (QRFs), which it reduced to half compare to past administrations, the said.
“This youth representation in the past budget deliberations has called for substantial increases of calamity and QRFs, and their strict monitoring and evaluation to ensure that every peso serves its purpose. We must continue to raise our voice for transparency and accountability over the usage of our public funds. We call for support for all #TaalEruption2020-affected communities as we actively offer our time and strength to partake in relief and rehabilitation efforts,” they also said. (Stacy Ang/IAMIGO/Currentph.com)