PRDP maintains safety protocols in project implementation in MIMAROPA
The Coronavirus pandemic undoubtedly has brought a lot of challenges in the different aspects of every Filipino life. Since the first implementation of the community quarantine, declaring a state of calamity in the entire country, a lot of things had to be changed differently as we entered into a new normal way of life. The ongoing situation especially forced the imposition of protective practices to ensure that everyone is without risk of acquiring and spreading COVID-19.
The Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP), implemented by the Department of Agriculture (DA), in the continued execution of its mandate, has recently issued new guidelines on Community and Occupational Safety and Health (COSH) to supplement its existing policies and the protocols being implemented by the national government.
The existing policies of the DA-PRDP follows the Safeguard Policies of the World Bank, which established its Integrated Environmental and Social Safeguards Framework (IESSF) in 2018. It also adheres to the policy objectives of Republic Act No. 11058 which strengthened requirements on occupational safety and health standards.
Through the new issuance, the DA-PRDP incorporated new practices based on guidelines on the Coronavirus pandemic similarly issued by the government’s executive departments including the Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Health, Department of Labor Employment, and foreign agency International Labor Organization.
Specifically, the rules added more responsibilities to the local government unit, contractor, and barangay council to prioritize the safety of workers prior to and during construction of interventions and reduce their risk of exposure to and transmitting the COVID-19 infection at the workplace and the community where they are located.
The contractor company is especially emphasized to maintain access to essential health care and other basic benefits to its employees. Being in the middle of a public health crisis, the contractor, which handles majority of the workers in the construction site of a subproject, is required to provide health protocols in cases of emergencies in addition to their existing response procedures.
In the MIMAROPA region alone, there are six (6) I-BUILD and two (2) I-REAP subprojects that are currently ongoing implementation. Some of these subprojects have already began construction way before the breakout of the Coronavirus.
Through the Social and Environmental Safeguards (SES) Unit, the PRDP MIMAROPA has already started the dissemination of the updated COSH guidelines to ensure that its subprojects are compliant with current rules and regulations imposed by the national government. ### (Leira Vic Colongon, DA-PRDP MIMAROPA RPCO InfoACE Unit)