Monday, March 22, 2010

Labor department to issue HIV/AIDS memo

By: Sun Star, Philippines

MANILA -- The Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) will soon release guidelines for companies on how to address the occurrence of HIV/AIDS in the workplace.

The draft memorandum “Guidelines for the Implementation of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Policy and Program in the Workplace,” will be submitted next week to Secretary Marianito Roque for approval.

The guidelines will focus on information and education, integration of HIV policy on the companies’ Occupation and Safety Health (OSH) standards, training of personnel, establishment of an HIV/AIDS center, and voluntary distribution of condoms, among others.

“The program is also in deference to the provisions stated in Republic Act 8504 or the AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998,” said Dr. Ma.Teresita Cucueco, OIC - Executive Director of the Occupational Safety and Health Center of DOLE.

A June 2008 survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revealed that only 26 percent or equivalent to 6,368 out of 24,457 companies in the Philippines had set-up HIV/AIDS policies and programs.

A similar move was done by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) to address the issue of HIV/AIDS in government offices but the draft circular has yet to pass the approval of the CSC board.

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) and Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) said the disease increases business costs like increased burden of healthcare provision, lower productivity of infected employees, increased risks in the workplace and indifference among employees.

(Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)

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