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by Ed Velasco


The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines-International Trade Union Confederation is all set to sign a memorandum of understanding and cooperation with the Climate Change Commission that aims to include in every collective bargaining agreement (CBA) provisions on how to care for nature.

TUCP-ITUC national president Dr. Ernesto Herrera said the MoU signing with CCC will be the highlight of this year’s global Labor Day celebration on May 1. 

“Many of us Filipinos are taking nature for granted.
This is not a good attitude. As a matter of fact, we should double time in helping the environment. We at TUCP-ITUC walk the talk and we’re set to start in our own backyard,” Herrera, a globally respected labor icon, told The Daily Tribune in an exclusive interview. 

According to the official, the aim of the MoU is simple: all CBAs must have provisions on how employers and employees can work in partnership in protecting the environment. 
He said the measures that will be jointly adopted by employers and employees must be doable and not in papers only.
Herrera said the biggest association of labor unions in the country will set a separate committee to monitor if employers and employees who agreed on certain measures in protecting the environment are implementing the programs they agreed to do.

Specific acts Herrera are suggesting for employers and employees to jointly undertake is tree planting; estero cleanup; proper dumping of waste and other similar yet doable acts that aim to protect Mother Earth.

“No CBA will be considered valid if there is no provisions on how to care for the environment,” Herrera, who has authored more than 40 landmark laws when he was still senator, said. 
He said the unusual typhoons that hit the country in the past years and too hot summer season are just some of the manifestations that global warming is indeed true. 
“Can you imagine Yolanda that had a wind speed of 320 kilometers per hour? That is horrible,” he added.

Herrera said many of their members were either killed or lost their houses and belongings when Yolanda slammed provinces in Region 8 in November 2013. 

The very sad experience with the typhoon prompted the TUCP-ITUC to think how to care for nature. 

Herrera said he is very glad that Heherson Alvarez is back as CCC commissioner. He said he has proven the dedication and work attitude of Alvarez being his colleague in the Senate in the 80s. “I know his caliber. When he sponsors a law, he will never let you down.

At CCC, I expect him to be as tough like in his years as senator,” the official added.