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DoLE penalizes GMA Network over work safety standards


THE DEPARTMENT of Labor and Employment (DoLE) has ordered GMA Network, Inc. to pay a P100,000 per day penalty after investigations showed that the broadcasting company failed to follow occupational safety and health (OSH) standards, which resulted to the death of veteran actor Eddie Garcia. In an interview with reporters on Wednesday, Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said, “May (There is an) imposition na (to) penalize sila ng (them with) P100,000 a day until they comply.” Under the OSH Law, P100,000 is the maximum fine imposed on employers found to violate standards. This daily fine applies until the OSH violation has been corrected. Mr. Bello said GMA’s violation is its failure to have a safety officer at the shooting location for the television drama. “Kung meron sila ‘di namatay si (If they had one) Eddie Garcia (would not have died). He was not properly attended to,” Mr. Bello said. The DoLE-National Capital Region (NCR) Office, in its recommendation dated July 17, said GMA also failed to submit an accident report as required under the law. GMA will now have to submit a letter to DoLE explaining why they failed to do so. DoLE-NCR will also “require the network to submit schedule and locations of their ‘Teleserye’ (shootings) and will be subjected to spot visit to determine the compliance with the existing Occupational Safety and Health Law.” GMA was yet to issue a statement as of this reporting. — Gillian M. Cortez

House minority bloc files resolution for probe on DoH’s medicine overstock

THE MINORITY bloc in the House of Representatives has filed a resolution calling for an investigation on the overstocking of medicines by the Department of Health (DOH). “I filed a House resolution (No. 203) with the minority block, directing the House committee on health to conduct an investigation and inquiry in this matter with an ending view of instituting fiscal reforms within the agency relative to inventory, use, control, and distribution of medicine by the DoH,” Minority Leader Bienvenido M. Abante Jr., who represents the 6th District of Manila, said in a press briefing Wednesday. He cited the recent admission of DoH Undersecretary Rolando Enrique D. Domingo in a news show that about P3 billion worth of overstocked medicines remain with the agency. The Commission on Audit, in its 2018 report, noted that P300 million worth of medicine, or 2% of the overall stock, was nearing expiry as of Jan. 31, 2019. The report also found that over P30 million worth of expired medicine was distributed to various health centers. “With medicines that are expensive, that is beyond the reach of our citizens, this is not just wasteful but this is criminal,” said Mr. Abante. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras

Lawyers’ group brings protection case before SC

THE NATIONAL Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) has asked the Supreme Court (SC) to reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) denying its protection from alleged threats and attacks by the government. In the petition, the NUPL said the CA “committed errors of law and grievous errors in its findings” when it denied its petition for writ of amparo and habeas data. The appellate court denied the petition saying NUPL members failed to substantially prove that their life, liberty, and security are violated and the group lacked legal standing to file the petition for writ of amparo on behalf of its members. The court also dropped the case against President Rodrigo R. Duterte as the petitioner failed to prove that the President’s declaration of his intention to kill suspected members of the New People’s Army and communists were directed at them. In its SC filing, the group claimed that the CA “sweepingly disposed” their petition. “The continued vilification, harassment and threats to the lives, security and liberty of the petitioners by any act of the respondents, including but not limited to issuing public statements maligning and vilifying the petitioners and their activities as human rights lawyers must stop now. We ask Your Honors to stand by your lawyers,” the NUPL said in its petition. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas