Month: April 2011
AN ACT ESTABLISHING AND PROVIDING FOR A FREE PUBLIC SECONDARY EDUCATION AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
Section 1. Title. — This Act shall be known as the “Free Public Secondary Education Act of 1988.”
Sec. 2. Declaration of Policy. — It is the policy of the State to provide for a free public secondary education to all qualified citizens and to promote quality education at all levels.
Sec. 3. Definitions. — For purposes of this Act, the following terms shall mean:
(a) Free Public Secondary Education. — Means that the students enrolled in secondary course offerings in national high schools, general comprehensive high schools, trade, technical, vocational, fishery and agricultural schools, and in schools established, administered, maintained and funded by local government units, including city, provincial municipal and barangay high schools, and those public high schools which may be established by law, shall be free from payment of tuition and other schools fees;
(b) Tuition Fee. — Refers to the fee representing direct costs of instruction, training and other related activities and for the students’ use of the instruction and training facilities;
(c) Other School Fees. — Refer to those fees which cover the other necessary costs supportive of instruction, including but not limited to medical and dental, athletic, library, laboratory and Citizens Army Training (CAT) fees.
However, fees elated to membership in the school community such as identification cards, student organizations and publications may be collected, provided that nonpayment to these fees shall not in any case be a bar to the enrollment or graduation of any student.
Sec. 4. Implementation of Free Public Secondary Education. — The system of free public secondary education as provided in this Act shall commence in School Year 1988-1989, and that the students enrolled in secondary course offerings in national and general comprehensive high schools, state colleges and universities, specialized schools, trade, technical, vocational, fishery and agricultural schools and in schools which may be established by law, shall be free from payment of tuition and other school fees, except fees related to membership in the school community such as identification cards, student organizations and publication which may be collected: Provided, That nothing in this Act shall cause or authorize the reduction or removal of any benefit which the national or local government may have granted to the students, teachers and other school personnel of these public high schools prior to the enactment of this Act.
Sec. 5. Formulation of a Secondary Education Curriculum. — The Department of Education, Culture and Sports shall formulate a secondary education curriculum in order to upgrade its quality, efficiency and access. In addition to providing the high school students with general skills, knowledge and values, such a curriculum must include vocational and technical courses that will give the students gainful employment.
Sec. 6. Limitation. — The right of any student to avail of free public high school shall terminate if he fails for two (2) consecutive school years in the majority of the academic subjects in which he is enrolled during the course of his study unless such failure is due to some valid cause.
Sec. 7. Nationalization of Public Secondary Schools. — To effectively implement the system, the establishment, renaming, conversion, integration, separation, administration, supervision and control of all public secondary schools and public secondary school teachers and other school personnel, including the payment of their salaries allowances and other fringe benefits as well as those already provided by local governments are hereby vested in the Department of Education, Culture and Sports.
Sec. 8. Priority in Admission. — Graduates of public elementary schools in a municipality shall be given priority in admission when the present facilities in the same municipality cannot accommodate all of those applying for enrollment in the public high schools.
Sec. 9. Implementing Rules and Regulations. — The Secretary of Education, Culture and Sports shall issue the necessary rules and regulations to implement this Act.
Sec. 10. Funding. — The President is hereby authorized to realign or transfer any item of appropriation within the Department of Education, Culture and Sports. and/or utilize any savings therein to carry out the purposes of this Act. Whatever additional amount as may be needed for its implementation shall be included in the General Appropriations Acts for the ensuing fiscal years.
Sec. 11. Repealing Clause. — All laws or parts thereof, inconsistent with any provision of this Act shall be deemed repealed or modified as the case may be.
Sec. 12. Effectivity. — This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
Approved: May 26, 1988
AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE DEVELOPMENT AND PROMOTION OF CAMPUS JOURNALISM AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
Section 1. Title. — This Act shall be known and referred to as the “Campus Journalism Act of 1991.”
Sec. 2. Declaration of Policy. — It is the declared policy of the State to uphold and protect the freedom of the press even at the campus level and to promote the development and growth of campus journalism as a means of strengthening ethical values, encouraging critical and creative thinking, and developing moral character and personal discipline of the Filipino youth.In furtherance of this policy, the State shall undertake various programs and projects aimed at improving the journalistic skills of students concerned and promoting responsible and free journalism.
Sec. 3. Definition of Terms.
(a) School. — An institution for learning in the elementary, secondary or tertiary level comprised of the studentry, administration, faculty and non-faculty personnel.
(b) Student Publication. — The issue of any printed material that is independently published by, and which meets the needs and interests of, the studentry;
(c) Student Journalist. — Any bona fide student enrolled for the current semester or term, who was passed or met the qualification and standards of the editorial board.He must likewise maintain a satisfactory academic standing.
(d) Editorial Board. — In the tertiary level, the editorial board shall be composed of student journalists who have qualified in placement examinations.In the case of elementary and high school levels, the editorial board shall be composed of a duly appointed faculty adviser, the editor who qualified and a representative of the Parents-Teachers’ Association, who will determine the editorial policies to be implemented by the editor and staff members of the student publication concerned.
At the tertiary level, the editorial board may include a publication adviser at the option of its members.
(e) Editorial Policies. — A set of guidelines by which a student publication is operated and managed, taking into account pertinent laws as well as the school administration’s policies. Said guidelines shall determine the frequency of the publication, the manner of selecting articles and features and other similar matters.
Sec. 4. Student Publication. — A student publication is published by the student body through an editorial board and publication staff composed of students selected but fair and competitive examinations.
Once the publication is established, its editorial board shall freely determine its editorial policies and manage the publication’s funds.
Sec. 5. Funding of Student Publication. — Funding for the student publication may include the savings of the respective school’s appropriations, student subscriptions, donations, and other sources of funds.
In no instance shall the Department of Education, Culture and Sports or the school administration concerned withhold he release of funds sourced from the savings of the appropriations of the respective schools and other sources intended for the student publication. Subscription fees collected by the school administration shall be released automatically to the student publication concerned.
Sec. 6. Publication Adviser. — The publication adviser shall be selected by the school administration from a list of recommendees submitted by the publication staff. The function of the adviser shall be limited to one of technical guidance.
Sec. 7. Security of Tenure. — A member of the publication staff must maintain his or her status as student in order to retain membership in the publication staff. A student shall not be expelled or suspended solely on the basis of articles he or she has written, or on the basis of the performance of his or her duties in the student publication.
Sec. 8. Press Conferences and Training Seminar. — The Department of Education, Culture and Sports shall sponsor periodic competitions, press conferences and training seminars in which student-editors/writers and teacher-adviser of student publications in the elementary, secondary and tertiary levels shall participate. Such competitions, conferences and seminars shall be held at the institutional, divisional, and regional levels, culminating with the holding of the annual national elementary, secondary or tertiary School Press Conferences in places of historical and/or cultural interest in the country.
Sec. 9. Rules and Regulations. — The Department of Education, Culture and Sports, in coordination with the officers of the national elementary, secondary or tertiary organizations or official advisers of student publications, together with student journalists at the tertiary level and existing organizations of student journalists, shall promulgate the rules and regulations necessary for the effective implementation of this Act.
Sec. 10. Tax Exemption. — Pursuant to paragraph 4, Section 4, Article XIV of the Constitution, all grants, endowments, donations, or contributions used actually, directly and exclusively for the promotion of campus journalism as provided for in this Act shall be exempt from donor’s or gift tax.
Sec. 11. Appropriations. — For the initial year of implementation, the sum of Five million pesos (P5,000,000.00) is hereby authorized to be charged against the savings from the current appropriations of the Department of Education, Culture and Sports. Thereafter, such amount as may be necessary shall be included in the General Appropriations Act.
Sec. 12. Effectivity. — This Act shall take effect after fifteen (15) days following the completion of its publication in the Official Gazette or in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation.
Approved: July 5, 1991
AN ACT INSTITUTING A FRAME WORK OF GOVERNANCE FOR BASIC EDUCATION, ESTABLISHING AUTHORITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY, RENAMING THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, CULTURE AND SPORTS AS THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
SECTION 1. Short Title. – This Act shall be known as the “Governance of Basic Education Act of 2001.”
Sec. 2. Declaration of Policy. – It is hereby declared the policy of the State to protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality basic education and to make such education accessible to all by providing all Filipino children a free and compulsory education in the elementary level and free education in the high school level. Such education shall also include alternative learning systems for out-of-school youth and adult learners. It shall be the goal of basic education to provide them with the skills, knowledge and values they need to become caring, seIf-reliant, productive and patriotic citizens.
The school shall be the heart of the formal education system. It is where children learn. Schools shall have a single aim of providing the best possible basic education for all learners.
Governance of basic education shall begin at the national level it is at the regions, divisions, schools and learning centers herein referred to as the field offices – where the policy and principle for the governance of basic education shall be translated into programs, projects and services developed, adapted and offered to fit local needs.
The State shall encourage local initiatives for improving the quality of basic education. The State shall ensure that the values, needs and aspirations of a school community are reflected in the program of education for the children, out-of-school youth and adult learners. Schools and learning centers shall be empowered to make decisions on what is best for the learners they serve.
Sec. 3. Purposes and Objectives. – The purposes and objectives of this Act are:
(a) To provide the framework for the governance of basic education which shall set the general directions for educational policies and standards and establish authority, accountability and responsibility for achieving higher learning outcomes;
(b) To define the roles and responsibilities of and provide resources to, the field offices which shall implement educational programs, projects and services in communities they serve;
(c) To make schools and learning centers the most important vehicle for the teaching and learning of national values and for developing in the Filipino learners love of country and pride in its rich heritage;
(d) To ensure that schools and learning centers receive the kind of focused attention they deserve and that educational programs, projects and services take into account the interests of all members of the community;
(e) To enable the schools and learning centers to reflect the values of the community by allowing teachers/learning facilitators and other staff to have the flexibility to serve the needs of all learners;
(f) To encourage local initiatives for the improvement of schools and learning centers and to provide the means by which these improvements may be achieved and sustained; and
(g) To establish schools and learning centers as facilities where schoolchildren are able to learn a range of core competencies prescribed for elementary and high school education programs or where the out-of-school youth and adult learners are provided alternative learning programs and receive accreditation for at least the equivalent of a high school education.
Sec. 4. Definition of Terms. – For purposes of this Act, the terms or phrases used shall mean or be understood as follows:
(a) Alternative Learning System -is a parallel learning system to provide a viable alternative to the existing formal education instruction. It encompasses both the non-formal and informal sources of knowledge and skills;
(b) Basic Education – is the education intended to meet basic learning needs which lays the foundation on which subsequent learning can be based. It encompasses early childhood, elementary and high school education as well as alternative learning systems four out-of-school youth and adult learners and includes education for those with special needs;
(c) Cluster of Schools – is a group of schools which are geographically contiguous and brought together to improve the learning outcomes;
(d) Formal Education – is the systematic and deliberate process of hierarchically structured and sequential learning corresponding to the general concept of elementary and secondary level of schooling. At the end of each level, the learner needs a certification in order to enter or advance to the next level;
(e) Informal Education – is a lifelong process of learning by which every person acquires and accumulates knowledge, skills, attitudes and insights from daily experiences at home, at work, at play and from life itself;
(f) Integrated School. – is a school that offers a complete basic education in one school site and has unified instructional program;
(g) Learner – is any individual seeking basic literacy skills and functional life skills or support services for the improvement of the quality of his/her life;
(h) Learning Center – is a physical space to house learning resources and facilities of a learning program for out-of-school youth and adults. It is a venue for face-to-face learning and activities and other learning opportunities for community development and improvement of the people’s quality of life;
(i) Learning Facilitator – is the key learning support person who is responsible for supervising/facilitating the learning process and activities of the learner;
(j) Non-Formal Education – is any organized, systematic educational activity carried outside the framework of the formal system to provide selected types of learning to a segment of the population;
(k) Quality Education – is the appropriateness, relevance and excellence of the education given to meet the needs and aspirations of an individual and society;
(I) .School – is an educational institution, private and public, undertaking educational operation with a specific age-group of pupils or students pursuing defined studies at defined levels, receiving instruction from teachers, usually located in a building or a group of buildings in a particular physical or cyber site; and
(m) .School Head – is a person responsible for the administrative and instructional supervision of the school or cluster of schools. chan robles virtual law library
GOVERNANCE OF BASIC EDUCATION
Sec. 5. Principles of Shared Governance. – (a) Shared governance is a principle which recognizes that every unit in the education bureaucracy has a particular role, task and responsibility inherent in the office and for which it is principally accountable for outcomes;
(b) The process of democratic consultation shall be observed in the decision-making process at appropriate levels. Feedback mechanisms shall be established to ensure coordination and open communication of the central office with the regional, division and school levels;
(c) The principles of accountability and transparency shall be operationalized in the performance of functions and responsibilities at all levels; and
(d) The communication channels of field offices shall be strengthened to facilitate flow of information and expand linkages with other government agencies, local government units and non-governmental organizations for effective governance.
Sec. 6. Governance. – The Department of Education, Culture and Sports shall henceforth be called the Department of Education. It shall be vested with authority, accountability and responsibility for ensuring access to, promoting equity in, and improving the quality of basic education. Arts, culture and sports shall be as provided for in Sections 8 and 9 hereof.
Sec. 7. Powers, Duties and Functions. – The Secretary of the Department of Education shall exercise overall authority and supervision over the operations of the Department.
A. National Level In addition to his/her powers under existing laws, the Secretary of Education shall have authority, accountability and responsibility for the following:
(1) Formulating national educational policies;
(2) Formulating a national basic education plan;
(3) Promulgating national educational standards;
(4) Monitoring and assessing national learning outcomes;
(5) Undertaking national educational research and studies;
(6) Enhancing the employment status, professional competence, welfare and working conditions of all personnel of the Department; and
(7) Enhancing the total development of learners through local and national programs and/or projects.
The Secretary of Education shall be assisted by not more than four (4) undersecretaries and not more than four (4) assistant secretaries whose assignments, duties and responsibilities shall be governed by law. There shall be at least one undersecretary and one assistant secretary who shall be career executive service officers chosen from among the staff of the Department.
B. Regional Level
There shall be as many regional offices as may be provided by law. Each regional office shall have a director, an assistant director and an office staff for program promotion and support, planning, administrative and fiscal services.
Consistent with the national educational policies, plans and standards, the regional director shall have authority, accountability and responsibility for the following:
(1) Defining a regional educational policy framework which reflects the values, needs and expectations of the communities they serve;
(2) Developing a regional basic education plan;
(3) Developing regional educational standards with a view towards bench-marking for international competitiveness;
(4) Monitoring, evaluating and assessing regional learning outcomes;
(5) Undertaking research projects and developing and managing region wide projects which may be funded through official development assistance and/or or other finding agencies;
(6) Ensuring strict compliance with prescribed national criteria for the recruitment, selection and training of all staff in the region and divisions.
(7) Formulating, in coordination with the regional development council, the budget to support the regional educational plan which shall take into account the educational plans of the divisions and districts;
(8) Determining the organization component of the divisions and districts and approving the proposed staffing pattern of all employees in the divisions and districts;
(9) Hiring, placing and evaluating all employees in the regional office, except for the position of assistant director;
(10) Evaluating all schools division superintendents and assistant division superintendents in the region;
(II) Planning and managing the effective and efficient use of all personnel, physical and fiscal resources of the regional office, including professional staff development.;
(12) Managing the database and management information system of the region;
(13) Approving the establishment of public and private elementary and high schools and learning centers; and
(14) Performing such other functions as may be assigned by proper authorities.
C. Division Level
A division shall consist of a province or a city which shall have a schools division superintendent, at least one assistant schools division superintendent and an office staff for programs promotion, planning, administrative, fiscal, legal, ancillary and other support services.
Consistent with the national educational policies, plans and standards the schools division superintendents shall have authority, accountability and responsibility for the following:
(1) Developing and implementing division education development plans;
(2) Planning and managing the effective and efficient use of all personnel, physical and fiscal resources of the division, including professional staff development;
(3) Hiring, placing and evaluating all division supervisors and schools district supervisors as well as all employees in the division, both teaching and non-teaching personnel, including school heads, except for the assistant division superintendent;
(4) Monitoring the utilization of funds provided by the national government and the local government units to the schools and learning centers;
(5) Ensuring compliance of quality standards for basic education programs and for this purpose strengthening the role of division supervisors as subject area specialists;
(6) Promoting awareness of and adherence by all schools and learning centers to accreditation standards prescribed by the Secretary of Education;
(7) Supervising the operations of all public and private elementary, secondary and integrated schools, and learning centers; and
(8) Performing such other functions as may be assigned by proper authorities.
D. Schools District Level
Upon the recommendation of the schools division superintendents, the regional director may establish additional schools district within a schools division. School districts already existing at tile time of the passage of the law shall be maintained. A schools district shall have a schools district supervisor and an office staff for program promotion.
The schools district supervisor shall be responsible for:
(1) Providing professional and instructional advice and support to the school heads and teachers/facilitators of schools and learning centers in the district or cluster thereof;
(2) Curricula supervision; and
(3) Performing such other functions as may be assigned by proper authorities.
E. School Level
There shall be a school head for all public elementary schools and public high schools or a cluster thereof. The establishment of integrated schools from existing public elementary and public high schools shall be encouraged.
The school head, who may be assisted by an assistant school head, shall be both an instructional leader and administrative manager. The school head shall form a them with the school teachers/learning facilitators for delivery of quality educational programs, projects and services. A core of non-teaching staff shall handle the school’s administrative, fiscal and auxiliary services.
Consistent with the national educational policies, plans and standards, the school heads shall have authority, accountability and responsibility for the following:
(1) Setting the mission, vision, goals and objectives of the school;
(2) Creating an environment within the school that is conducive to teaching and learning;
(3) Implementing the school curriculum and being accountable for higher learning outcomes;
(4) Developing the school education program and school improvement plan;
(5) Offering educational programs, projects and services which provide equitable opportunities for all learners in the community;
(6) Introducing new and innovative modes of instruction to achieve higher learning outcomes;
(7) Administering and managing all personnel, physical and fiscal resources of the school;
(8) Recommending the staffing complement of the school based on its needs;
(9) Encouraging staff development;
(10) Establishing school and community networks and encouraging the active participation of teachers organizations, nonacademic personnel of public schools, and parents-teachers-community associations;
(11) Accepting donations, gifts, bequests and grants for the purpose of upgrading teachers’ learning facilitators’ competencies, improving ad expanding school facilities and providing instructional materials and equipment. Such donations or grants must be reported to the appropriate district supervisors and division superintendents; and
(12) Performing such other functions as may be assigned by proper authorities.
The Secretary of Education shall create a promotions board, at the appropriate levels, which shall formulate and implement a system of promotion for schools decision supervisors, schools district supervisors, and school heads. Promotion of school heads shall be based on educational qualification, merit and performance rather than on the number of teachers/learning facilitators and learners in the school.
The qualifications, salary grade, status of employment and welfare and benefits of school heads shall be the same for public elementary, secondary and integrated schools.
No appointment to the positions of regional directors, assistant regional directors, schools division superintendents and assistant schools division superintendents shall be made unless file appointee is a career executive service officer who preferably shall have risen from the ranks.
TRANSFER OF CULTURAL AGENCIES
Sec. 8. Cultural Agencies. – The Komisyon ng Wikang Pilipino, National Historical Institute, Records Management and Archives Office and the National Library shall now be administratively attached to the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and no longer with the Department of Education. The program for school arts and culture shall remain part of the school curriculum.
ABOLITION OF THE BUREAU OF PHYSICAL EDUCATION AND SCHOOL SPORTS
Sec. 9. Abolition of BPESS. – All functions, programs and activities of the Department of Education related to sports competition shall be transferred to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC). The program for school sports and physical fitness shall remain part of the basic education curriculum.
The Bureau of Physical Education and School Sports (BPESS) is hereby abolished. The personnel of the BPESS, presently detailed with the PSC, are hereby transferred to the PSC without loss of rank, including the plantilla positions they occupy. All other BPESS personnel shall be retained by the Department.
SUPPORT AND ASSISTANCE OF OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
Sec. 10. The Secretary of Education and the Secretary of Budget and Management shall, within ninety (90) days from the approval of this Act, jointly promulgate the guidelines on the allocation, distribution and utilization of resources provided by the national government for the field offices, taking into consideration the uniqueness of the working conditions of the teaching service.
The Secretary of the Department of Education shall ensure that resources appropriated for the field offices are adequate and that resources for school personnel, school desks and textbooks and other instructional materials intended are allocated directly and released immediately by the Department of Budget and Management to said offices.
Sec. 11. The Secretary of the Department of Education, subject to civil service laws and regulations, shall issue appropriate personnel policy rules and regulations that will best meet the requirements of the teaching profession taking into consideration the uniqueness of the working conditions of the teaching service.
Sec. 12. The Commission on Audit, in the issuance of audit rules and regulations that will govern the utilization of all resources as well as the liquidation, recording and reporting thereof, shall take into account the different characteristics and distinct features of the department’s field offices, its organizational set up as well as the nature of the operations of schools and learning centers.
Sec. 13. Governance in the ARMM; – The Regional Education Secretary for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) shall exercise similar governance authority over the divisions, districts, schools and learning centers in the region as may be provided in the Organic Act. without prejudice to the provisions of Republic Act No. 9054, entitled “An Act to Strengthen and Expand the Organic Act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Amending for the Purpose Republic Act No. 6734, entitled’ An Act Providing for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, as amended'”.
Sec. 14. Rules and Regulations. – The Secretary of Education shall promulgate the implementing rules and regulations within ninety (90) days after the approval of this Act: Provided, That the Secretary of Education shall fully implement the principle of shared governance within two (2) years after the approval of this Act.
Sec. 15. Separability Clause. – If for any reason, any portion or provision of this Act shall be declared unconstitutional, other parts or provisions hereof which are not affected thereby shall continue to be in full force and effect.
Sec. 16. Repealing Clause. – All laws, decrees, executive orders, rules and regulations, part or parts thereof, inconsistent with the provisions of this Act, are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.
Sec. 17. Effectivity Clause. – This Act. shall take effect fifteen (15) days following its publication in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation.
Approved: August 11, 2001
AN ACT TO RATIONALIZE WAGE POLICY DETERMINATION BY ESTABLISHING THE MECHANISM AND PROPER STANDARDS THEREFOR, AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE ARTICLE 99 OF, AND INCORPORATING ARTICLES 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 126 AND 127 INTO, PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 442, AS AMENDED, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE LABOR CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES, FIXING NEW WAGE RATES, PROVIDING WAGE INCENTIVES FOR INDUSTRIAL DISPERSAL TO THE COUNTRYSIDE, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:
Sec. 1. This Act shall be known as the “Wage Rationalization Act.”
Sec. 2. It is hereby declared the policy of the State to rationalize the fixing of minimum wages and to promote productivity-improvement and gain-sharing measures to ensure a decent standard of living for the workers and their families; to guarantee the rights of labor to its just share in the fruits of production; to enhance employment generation in the countryside through industry dispersal; and to allow business and industry reasonable returns on investment, expansion and growth.
The State shall promote collective bargaining as the primary mode of setting wages and other terms and conditions of employment; and, whenever necessary, the minimum wage rates shall be adjusted in a fair and equitable manner, considering existing regional disparities in the cost of living and other socio-economic factors and the national economic and social development plans.
Sec. 3. In line with the declared policy under this Act, Article 99 of Presidential Decree No. 442, as amended, is hereby amended and Articles 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 126 and 127 are hereby incorporated into Presidential Decree No. 442, as amended, to read as follows:
“Art. 99. Regional Minimum Wages. – The minimum wage rates for agricultural and non-agricultural employees and workers in each and every region of the country shall be those prescribed by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards.”
“Art. 120. Creation of the National Wages and Productivity Commission. – There is hereby created a National Wages and Productivity Commission, hereinafter referred to as the Commission, which shall be attached to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for policy and program coordination.”
“Art. 121. Powers and Functions of the Commission. – The Commission shall have the following powers and functions:
(a) To act as the national consultative and advisory body to the President of the Philippines and Congress on matters relating to wages, incomes and productivity;
(b) To formulate policies and guidelines on wages, incomes and productivity improvement at the enterprise, industry and national levels;
(c) To prescribe rules and guidelines for the determination of appropriate minimum wage and productivity measures at the regional, provincial or industry levels;
(d) To review regional wage levels set by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards to determine if these are in accordance with prescribed guidelines and national development plans;
(e) To undertake studies, researches and surveys necessary for the attainment of its functions and objectives, and to collect and compile data and periodically disseminate information on wages and productivity and other related information, including, but not limited to, employment, cost-of-living, labor costs, investments and returns;
(f) To review plans and programs of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards to determine whether these are consistent with national development plans;
(g) To exercise technical and administrative supervision over the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards;
(h) To call, from time to time, a national tripartite conference of representatives of government, workers and employers for the consideration of measures to promote wage rationalization and productivity; and
(i) To exercise such powers and functions as may be necessary to implement this Act.
“The Commission shall be composed of the Secretary of Labor and Employment as ex-officio chairman, the Director-General of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) as ex-officio vice-chairman, and two (2) members each from workers and employers sectors who shall be appointed by the President of the Philippines upon recommendation of the Secretary of Labor and Employment to be made on the basis of the list of nominees submitted by the workers and employers sectors, respectively, and who shall serve for a term of five (5) years. The Executive Director of the Commission Secretariat shall also be a member of the Commission.”
“The Commission shall be assisted by a Secretariat to be headed by an Executive Director and two (2) Deputy Directors, who shall be appointed by the President of the Philippines, upon recommendation of the Secretary of Labor and Employment.”
“The Executive Director shall have the same rank, salary, benefits and other emoluments as that of a Department Assistant Secretary, while the Deputy Directors shall have the same rank, salary, benefits and other emoluments as that of a Bureau Director. The members of the Commission representing labor and management shall have the same rank, emoluments, allowances and other benefits as those prescribed by law for labor and management representatives in the Employees’ Compensation Commission.”
“Art. 122. Creation of Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards. – There is hereby created Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards, hereinafter referred to as Regional Boards, in all regions, including autonomous regions as may be established by law. The Commission shall determine the offices/headquarters of the respective Regional Boards.
“The Regional Boards shall have the following powers and functions in their respective territorial jurisdiction:
(a) To develop plans, programs and projects relative to wages, incomes and productivity improvement for their respective regions;
(b) To determine and fix minimum wage rates applicable in their region, provinces or industries therein and to issue the corresponding wage orders, subject to guidelines issued by the Commission;
(c) To undertake studies, researches, and surveys necessary for the attainment of their functions, objectives and programs, and to collect and compile data on wages, incomes, productivity and other related information and periodically disseminate the same;
(d) To coordinate with the other Regional Boards as may be necessary to attain the policy and intention of this Code;
(e) To receive, process and act on applications for exemption from prescribed wage rates as may be provided by law or any Wage Order; and
(f) To exercise such other powers and functions as may be necessary to carry out their mandate under this Code.
“Implementation of the plans, programs and projects of the Regional Boards referred to in the second paragraph, letter (a) of this Article, shall be through the respective regional offices of the Department of Labor and Employment within their territorial jurisdiction; Provided, however, That the Regional Boards shall have technical supervision over the regional office of the Department of Labor and Employment with respect to the implementation of said plans, programs and projects.
“Each Regional Board shall be composed of the Regional Director of the Department of Labor and Employment as chairman, the Regional Directors of the National Economic and Development Authority and Department of Trade and Industry as vice-chairmen and two (2) members each from workers and employers sectors who shall be appointed by the President of the Philippines, upon recommendation of the Secretary of Labor and Employment, to be made on the basis of the list of nominees submitted by the workers and employers sectors, respectively, and who shall serve for a term of five (5) years.
“Each Regional Board to be headed by its chairman shall be assisted by a Secretariat.”
“Art. 123. Wage Order. – Whenever conditions in the region so warrant, the Regional Board shall investigate and study all pertinent facts; and, based on the standards and criteria herein prescribed, shall proceed to determine whether a Wage Order should be issued.
Any such Wage Order shall take effect after fifteen (15) days from its complete publication in at least one (l) newspaper of general circulation in the region.
“In the performance of its wage-determining functions, the Regional Board shall conduct public hearings/consultations, giving notices to employees’ and employers’ groups, provincial, city and municipal officials and other interested parties.
“Any party aggrieved by the Wage Order issued by the Regional Board may appeal such order to the Commission within ten (l0) calendar days from the publication of such order. It shall be mandatory for the Commission to decide such appeal within sixty (60) calendar days from the filing thereof.
“The filing of the appeal does not operate to stay the order unless the person appealing such order shall file with the Commission an undertaking with a surety or sureties satisfactory to the Commission for the payment to the employees affected by the order of the corresponding increase, in the event such order is affirmed.”
“Art. 124. Standards/Criteria for Minimum Wage Fixing. The regional minimum wages to be established by the Regional Board shall be as nearly adequate as is economically feasible to maintain the minimum standards of living necessary for the health, efficiency and general well-being of the employees within the framework of the national economic and social development program. In the determination of such regional minimum wages, the Regional Board shall, among other relevant factors, consider the following:
(a) The demand for living wages;
(b) Wage adjustment vis-à-vis the consumer price index;
(c) The cost of living and changes or increases therein;
(d) The needs of workers and their families;
(e) The need to induce industries to invest in the countryside;
(f) Improvements in standards of living;
(g) The prevailing wage levels;
(h) Fair return of the capital invested and capacity to pay of employers;
(i) Effects on employment generation and family income; and
(j) The equitable distribution of income and wealth along the imperatives of economic and social development.
“The wages prescribed in accordance with the provisions of this Title shall be the standard prevailing minimum wages in every region. These wages shall include wages varying with industries, provinces or localities if in the judgment of the Regional Board conditions make such local differentiation proper and necessary to effectuate the purpose of this Title.
“Any person, company, corporation, partnership or any other entity engaged in business shall file and register annually with the appropriate Regional Board, Commission and the National Statistics Office an itemized listing of their labor component, specifying the names of their workers and employees below the managerial level, including learners, apprentices and disabled/handicapped workers who were hired under the terms prescribed in the employment contracts, and their corresponding salaries and wages.
“Where the application of any prescribed wage increase by virtue of a law or Wage Order issued by any Regional Board results in distortions of the wage structure within an establishment, the employer and the union shall negotiate to correct the distortions. Any dispute arising from wage distortions shall be resolved through the grievance procedure under their collective bargaining agreement and, if it remains unresolved, through voluntary arbitration. Unless otherwise agreed by the parties in writing, such dispute shall be decided by the voluntary arbitrator or panel of voluntary arbitrators within ten (10) calendar days from the time said dispute was referred to voluntary arbitration.
“In cases where there are no collective agreements or recognized labor unions, the employers and workers shall endeavor to correct such distortions. Any dispute arising therefrom shall be settled through the National Conciliation and Mediation Board and, if it remains unresolved after ten (10) calendar days of conciliation, shall be referred to the appropriate branch of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). It shall be mandatory for the NLRC to conduct continuous hearings and decide the dispute within twenty (20) calendar days from the time said dispute is submitted for compulsory arbitration.
“The pendency of a dispute arising from a wage distortion shall not in any way delay the applicability of any increase in prescribed wage rates pursuant to the provisions of law or Wage Order.
“As used, herein, a wage distortion shall mean a situation where an increase in prescribed wage rates results in the elimination or severe contraction of intentional quantitative differences in wage or salary rates between and among employee groups in an establishment as to effectively obliterate the distinctions embodied in such wage structure based on skills, length of service, or other logical bases of differentiation.
“All workers paid by result, including those who are paid on piecework, takay, pakyaw or task basis, shall receive not less than the prescribed wage rates per eight (8) hours work a day, or a proportion thereof for working less than eight (8) hours.
“All recognized learnership and apprenticeship agreements shall be considered automatically modified insofar as their wage clauses are concerned to reflect the prescribed wage rates.”
“Art. 126. Prohibition Against Injunction. – No preliminary or permanent injunction or temporary restraining order may be issued by any court, tribunal or other entity against any proceedings before the Commission or the Regional Boards.”
“Art. 127. Non-Diminution of Benefits. – No Wage Order issued by any Regional Board shall provide for wage rates lower than the statutory minimum wage rates prescribed by Congress.”
Sec. 4. (a) Upon the effectivity of this Act, the statutory minimum wage rates of all workers and employees in the private sector, whether agricultural or non-agricultural, shall be increased by twenty-five pesos (P25.00) per day, except that workers and employees in plantation agricultural enterprises outside of the National Capital Region (NCR) with an annual gross sales of less than five million pesos (P5,000,000.00) in the preceding year shall be paid an increase of twenty pesos (P20.00), and except further that workers and employees of cottage/handicraft industries, non-plantation agricultural enterprises, retail/service establishments regularly employing not more than ten (10) workers, and business enterprises with a capitalization of not more than five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) and employing not more than twenty (20) employees, which are located or operating outside the NCR, shall be paid only an increase of fifteen pesos (P15.00): Provided, That those already receiving above the minimum wage rates up to one hundred pesos (P100.00) shall also receive an increase of twenty-five pesos (P25.00) per day, and except that the workers and employees mentioned in the first exception clause of this section shall also be paid only an increase of twenty-pesos (P20.00), and except further that those employees enumerated in the second exception clause of this Section shall also be paid only an increase of fifteen pesos (P15.00): Provide, further, That the appropriate Regional Board is hereby authorized to grant additional increases to the workers and employees mentioned in the exception clauses of this Section if, on the basis of its determination pursuant to Article 124 of the Labor Code such increases are necessary.
(b) The increase of twenty-five pesos (P25.00) prescribed under this Section shall apply to all workers and employees entitled to the same in private educational institutions as soon as they have increased or are granted authority to increase their tuition fees during school year 1989-1990. Otherwise, such increase shall be so applicable not later than the opening of the next school year beginning 1990.
(c) Exempted from the provisions of this Act are household or domestic helpers and persons employed in the personal service of another, including family drivers.
Retail/service establishments regularly employing not more than ten (10) workers may be exempted from the applicability of this Act upon application with and as determined by the appropriate Regional Board in accordance with the applicable rules and regulations issued by the Commission. Whenever an application for exemption has been duly filed with the appropriate Regional Board, action on any complaint for alleged non-compliance with this Act shall be deferred pending resolution of the application for exemption by the appropriate Regional Board.
In the event that applications for exemptions are not granted, employees shall receive the appropriate compensation due them as provided for by this Act plus interest of one percent (1%) per month retroactive to the effectivity of this Act.
(d) If expressly provided for and agreed upon in the collective bargaining agreements, all increases in the daily basic wage rates granted by the employers three (3) months before the effectivity of this Act shall be credited as compliance with the increases in the wage rates prescribed herein, provided that, where such increases are less than the prescribed increases in the wage rates under this Act, the employer shall pay the difference. Such increases shall not include anniversary wage increases, merit wage increases and those resulting from the regularization or promotion of employees.
Where the application of the increases in the wage rate under this Section results in distortions as defined under existing laws in the wage structure within an establishment and gives rise to a dispute therein, such dispute shall first be settled voluntarily between the parties and in the event of a deadlock, the same shall be finally resolved through compulsory arbitration by the regional arbitration branch of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) having jurisdiction over the workplace.
It shall be mandatory for the NLRC to conduct continuous hearings and decide any dispute arising under this Section within twenty(20) calendar days from the time said dispute is formally submitted to it for arbitration. The pendency of a dispute arising from a wage distortion shall not in any way delay the applicability of the increases in the wage rates prescribed under this Section.
Sec. 5. Within a period of four (4) years from the effectivity of this Act and without prejudice to collective bargaining negotiations or agreements or other employment contracts between employers and workers, new business enterprises that may be established outside the NCR and export processing zones whose operation or investments need initial assistance as may be determined by the Department of Labor and Employment in consultation with the Department of Trade and Industry or the Department of Agriculture, as the case may be shall be exempt from the application of this Act for not more than three (3) years from the start of their operations: Provided, That such new business enterprises established in Region III (Central Luzon) and Region IV (Southern Tagalog) shall be exempt from such increases only for two (2) years from the start of their operations, except those established in the Provinces of Palawan, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Quezon and Aurora, which shall enjoy such exemption for not more than three (3) years from the start of their operations.
Sec. 6. In the case of contracts for construction projects and for security, janitorial and similar services, the prescribed increases in the wage rates of the workers shall be borne by the principals or clients of the construction/service contractors and the contract shall be deemed amended accordingly. In the event, however, that the principal or client fails to pay the prescribed wage rates, the construction/service contractor shall be jointly and severally liable with his principal or client.
Sec. 7. Upon written petition of the majority of the employees or workers concerned, all private establishments, companies, businesses, and other entities with twenty five (25) or more employees and located within one (1) kilometer radius to a commercial, savings or rural bank shall pay the wages and other benefits of their employees through any of said banks and within the period for payment of wages fixed by Presidential Decree No. 442, as amended, otherwise known as the Labor Code of the Philippines.
Sec. 8. Whenever applicable and upon request of a concerned worker or union, the bank shall issue a certification of the record of payment of wages of a particular worker or workers for a particular payroll period.
Sec. 9. The Department of Labor and Employment shall conduct inspections as often as possible within its manpower constraint of the payroll and other financial records kept by the company or business to determine whether the workers are paid the prescribed wage rates and other benefits granted by law or any Wage Order. In unionized companies, the Department of Labor and Employment inspectors shall always be accompanied by the president or any responsible officer of the recognized bargaining unit of any interested union in the conduct of the inspection. In non-unionized companies, establishments or businesses, the inspection shall be carried out in the presence of a worker representing the workers in the said company. The workers’ representative shall have the right to submit his own findings to the Department of Labor and Employment and to testify on the same if he cannot concur with the findings of the labor inspector.
Sec. 10. The funds necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act shall be taken from the Compensation and Organizational Adjustment Fund, the Contingent Fund, and other savings under Republic Act No. 6688, otherwise known as the General Appropriations Act of 1989, or from any unappropriated funds of the National Treasury: Provided, That the funding requirements necessary to implement this Act shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act for the succeeding years.
Sec. 11. The National Wages Council created under Executive Order No. 614 and the National Productivity Commission created under Executive Order No. 615 are hereby abolished. All properties, records, equipment, buildings, facilities, and other assets, liabilities and appropriations of and belonging to the abovementioned offices, as well as other matters pending therein, shall be transferred to the Commission. All personnel of the above abolished offices shall continue to function in a holdover capacity and shall be preferentially considered for appointments to or placement in the Commission.
Any official or employee separated from the service as a result of the abolition of offices pursuant to this Act shall be entitled to appropriate separation pay and retirement and other benefits accruing to them under existing laws. In lieu thereof, at the option of the employee, he shall be preferentially considered for employment in the government or in any of its subdivisions, instrumentalities, or agencies, including government-owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries.
Sec. 12. Any person, corporation, trust, firm, partnership, association or entity which refuses or fails to pay any of the prescribed increases or adjustments in the wage rates made in accordance with this Act shall be punished by a fine not exceeding twenty-five thousand pesos (P25,000.00) and/or imprisonment of not less than one (1) year nor more than two (2) years: Provided, That any person convicted under this Act shall not be entitled to the benefits provided for under the Probation Law.
If the violation is committed by a corporation, trust or firm, partnership, association or any other entity, the penalty of imprisonment shall be imposed upon the entity’s responsible officers, including, but not limited to, the president, vice president, chief executive officer, general manager, managing director or partner.
Sec. 13. The Secretary of Labor and Employment shall promulgate the necessary rules and regulations to implement the provisions of this Act.
Sec. 14. All laws, orders, issuances, rules and regulations or parts thereof inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed, amended or modified accordingly. In any provision or part of this Act, or the application thereof to any person or circumstance, is held invalid or unconstitutional, the remainder of this Act or the application of such provision or part thereof to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.
Nothing in this Act shall be construed to reduce any existing wage rates, allowances and benefits of any form under existing laws, decrees, issuances, executive orders, and/or under any contract or agreement between the workers and employers.
Sec. 15. This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its complete publication in the Official Gazette or in at least two (2) national newspapers of general circulation, whichever comes earlier.
|(SGD) RAMON V. MITRA
Speaker of the House of Representatives
|(SGD) JOVITO R. SALONGA
President of the Senate
This Act which is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 1084 and House Bill No. 23227 was finally passed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives on June 5, 1989.
|(SGD) QUIRINO D. ABAD SANTOS, JR
Secretary of the House of Representatives
|(SGD) EDWIN P. ACOBA
Secretary of the Senate
Approved: June 9, 1989
(SGD) CORAZON C. AQUINO
President of the Philippines
Invest half an hour to protect the environment by changing how you live each day
By Larry West, About.com Guide
You may not be able to reduce global warming, end pollution and save endangered species single-handed, but by choosing to live an earth-friendly lifestyle you can do a lot every day to help achieve those goals.
And by making wise choices about how you live, and the amount of energy and natural resources you consume, you send a clear message to businesses, politicians and government agencies that value you as a customer, constituent and citizen.
Here are five simple things you can do—in 30 minutes or less—to help protect the environment and save Planet Earth.
Drive Less, Drive Smart
Every time you leave your car at home you reduce air pollution, lower greenhouse gas emissions, improve your health and save money.
Walk or ride a bicycle for short trips, or take public transportation for longer ones. In 30 minutes, most people can easily walk a mile or more, and you can cover even more ground on a bicycle, bus, subway or commuter train. Research has shown that people who use public transportation are healthier than those who don’t. Families that use public transportation can save enough money annually to cover their food costs for the year.
When you do drive, take the few minutes needed to make sure your engine is well maintained and your tires properly inflated.
- Benefits of Public Transportation
- Keeping Your Tires Properly Inflated Could Help Save the Planet—and Your Life
Eat Your Vegetables
Eating less meat and more fruits, grains and vegetables can help the environment more than you may realize. Eating meat, eggs and dairy products contributes heavily to global warming, because raising animals for food produces many more greenhouse gas emissions than growing plants. A 2006 report by the University of Chicago found that adopting a vegan diet does more to reduce global warming than switching to a hybrid car.
Raising animals for food also uses enormous amounts of land, water, grain and fuel. Every year in the United States alone, 80 percent of all agricultural land, half of all water resources, 70 percent of all grain, and one-third of all fossil fuels are used to raise animals for food.
Making a salad doesn’t take any more time than cooking a hamburger and it’s better for you—and for the environment.
Edit Article | Posted: Apr 17, 2008
With Earth Day nearly upon us, and all of the talk about the damage that humans are doing to the environment, maybe you feel as though you aren’t doing your part. Fear not, I’ve compiled a list of some very easy things that you can do to have the greatest impact on the environment in the shortest amount of time. So, without further adeiu, here they are:
I mean non-organic strawberries here. Strawberry production, as well as some grape, tomato, and other fruit production still uses Methyl Bromide as a pesticide and fungicide. Methyl Bromide (MB) is one of the most damaging chemicals to the ozone layer destroying ozone molecules 50 times faster than other ozone depleting compounds. While outlawed in 1987 as a part of the Montreal Protocol, a loophole called the “critical-use exemption” allows countries to continue to use the chemical if they decide that there is no suitable replacement. That exemption has prompted the Environmental Protection Agency to approve the use of 4,813.5 metric tonnes of the stuff for 2008. As an added benefit, the fruits and vegetables that are often produced using consistently rank at the top of the “most contaminated” list each year. http://www.foodnews.org/methodology.php
Drink Your Water
You should know this one already. The government suggests that you drink eight glasses of water per day, but why not drink those eight glasses out of a convenient plastic bottle? Everyone else is! Each hour, 2.5 million individual water bottles are thrown away in the United States alone. By using a plastic bottle, you get the added benefit of potentially consuming a chemical called bisphenol A (BPA) that comes from plastic which mimics natural estrogen. Too much estrogen can result in certain kinds of cancer as well as hampering fertility in some people.
Fill’er up With Biofuel
Two recent studies published in the journal Science provide an economist’s view of the biofuel industry. Because biofuels are currently the subject of much venture speculation as well as government promotion, more and more farmers are jumping on the bandwagon. That means that the crops they used to produce that can’t be turned into fuel are being farmed elsewhere, and more often than not, environmentally valuable lands are converted to agricultural lands instead. Time Magazine recently published an article illustrating how this macroeconomic phenomenon is played out in one of the more valuable carbon stores, the Amazon rainforest. In one photo, a tiny sliver of forest is seen against a sea of newly converted agricultural land.
Eat Meat – Lots of Factory-Raised, Grain-Fed Meat
Those vegetarians have it all wrong. A great way to stick it to Mother Nature is to treat yourself to an extra helping of beef. If you, along with everyone else in America heeds the advice, it will have the same impact as putting an additional half million cars on the road. Imported meat is better because of the gas used to get it to you, but at very least, try to find some locally grown animal to eat. All the better if it was raised in a factory farm. The runoff created could have the added benefit of introducing bacteria into waterways and killing fish along the way.
Keep a Well-Fed, Well Watered Lawn
With water shortages looming all over the western US this summer, it would only be right if you had a nice looking lawn. A green lawn means using a lot of water and a lot of fertilizer. Water often, but especially during the hottest part of the day or whenever it is windy. Also, make sure to use lots of high nitrogen fertilizer to keep the lawn green. If you’re really doing it right, you’ll want to water heavily right after fertilizing heavily. Maybe the runoff created will take out any fish that are left.
Artisanal and small-scale mining refers to mining activities that use rudimentary methods to extract and process minerals and metals on a small scale. Artisanal miners also frequently use toxic materials in their attempts to recover metals and gems. Such miners work in difficult and often very hazardous conditions and, in the absence of knowledge or any regulations or standards, toxic materials can be released into the environment, posing large health risks to the miners, their families and surrounding communities.1 In this context, gold mining operations are particularly dangerous, as they often use the mercury amalgamation process to extract gold from ores.
Artisanal gold mining is one of the most significant sources of mercury release into the environment in the developing world, with at least a quarter of the world’s total gold supply coming from such sources.2 Artisanal gold miners combine mercury with gold-carrying silt to form a hardened amalgam that has picked up most of the gold metal from the silt. The amalgam is later heated with blowtorches or over an open flame to evaporate the mercury, leaving small gold pieces. The gaseous mercury is inhaled by the miners and often by their immediate family, including their children. Mercury that is not inhaled during the burning process, settles into the surrounding environment or circulates globally for future deposition far from the site, where it is absorbed and processed by a variety of living organisms. This transforms elemental mercury into methylmercury. Methylmercury is one of the most dangerous neurotoxins that contaminate the food chain through bioaccumulation.
Most artisanal gold miners are from socially and economically marginalized communities, and turn to mining in order to escape extreme poverty, unemployment and landlessness.3 The dangers force miners to not only risk persecution by the government, but also mine shaft collapses, and toxic poisoning from the variety of chemicals unsafely used in processing. Despite the many dangers of this activity, artisanal mining operations continue to spread as the demand for metals increases and other livelihoods such as farming, are no longer economically viable.
UNIDO estimates that mercury amalgamation from this kind of gold mining results in the release of an estimated 1000 tons of mercury per year, which constitutes about 30% of the world’s anthropogenic mercury emissions. It is estimated that between 10 and 15 million artisanal and small scale gold miners worldwide, including 4.5 million women and 600,000 children.4 According to UNIDO, as much as 95 percent of all mercury used in artisanal gold mining is released into the environment, constituting a danger on all fronts – economic, environmental and human health.5
Artisanal gold mining releases mercury into the environment in its metallic form during amalgamation and as mercury vapor during the burning process. When metallic mercury is used to concentrate the gold, small amounts can be washed out along with the unwanted tailings or sediments. One study estimates that one or two grams of metallic mercury is lost for every gram of gold produced using the amalgamation process.6 Once mercury is released into waterways, it enters the food chain through the digestion of bacteria and becomes far more toxic– methylmercury. Methylmercury bioaccumulates in the food chain and is ingested by residents of downstream communities as they eat contaminated fish. The most direct pathway however, is the inhalation of mercury vapors created during the burning process. An immediate toxic exposure, miners and their families are most affected by these noxious vapors. A study of artisanal gold mining in Peru concluded that for every gram of gold that is produced, at least two grams of mercury are emitted into the atmosphere.7
Children that are exposed to mercury are particularly at risk for developmental problems. Exposure to mercury can cause kidney problems, arthritis, memory loss, miscarriages, psychotic reactions, respiratory failure, neurological damage and even death.
Some sites that have been noted as examples of the problem
The Blacksmith Institute has initiated a series of appropriate technology demonstrations to limit mercury emissions associated with small-scale mining, involving the use of retort technology to reduce mercury vapors and enable recapture of mercury from the amalgam for reuse. These programs are carried out in conjunction with UNIDO’s Global Mercury Project. Such programs can be very effective at the community level, although they are labor intensive to implement and challenging to replicate.
1 Hilson, Gavin; Hilson, Christopher J.; and Pardie, Sandra. “Improving awareness of mercury pollution in small-scale gold mining communities: Challenges and ways forward in rural Ghana.” November 13, 2006.
2 Veiga, M.M., et al. (2005). Pilot Project for the Reduction of Mercury Contamination Resulting From Artisanal Gold Mining Fields in the Manica District of Mozambique
3 Tschakert, Petra and Singha, Kamini. “Research on Smal-Scale Gold Mining in Ghana.” Pennsylvania State University: Department of Geography. October 11, 2006. Available at http://www.geog.psu.edu/news/petra_ghana.html
4 Veiga, M.M., Baker, R. (2004). Protocols for Environmental and Health Assessment of Mercury Released by Artisanal and Small Scale Miners, Report to the Global Mercury Project: Removal of Barriers to Introduction of Cleaner Artisanal Gold Mining and Extraction Technologies
5 Veiga, M.M., et al. (2005). Pilot Project for the Reduction of Mercury Contamination Resulting From Artisanal Gold Mining Fields in the Manica District of Mozambique
6 Timmins, Kerry J. “Artisanal Gold Mining without Mercury Pollution.” United Nations Industrial Development Organization. UNIDO. January 31, 2003. Available at http://www.natural-resources.org/minerals/cd/docs/unido/asm_mercury.pdf
7 “Slum at the Summit.” Earth Report. Television Trust for the Environment. Accessed on September 15, 2008. Available at http://www.tve.org/earthreport/archive/doc.cfm?aid=1623
Indoor Air Pollution (IAP) describes the adverse ambient air conditions inside households, schools, places of work and other indoor spaces. This can be caused by a range of sources, including stoves, smoking and machinery. Most IAP occurs in the developing world.
The most significant cause of indoor air pollution in the developing world is the burning of coal or unprocessed biomass fuels for cooking, heating and light. More than 50% of the world’s population gets their energy for cooking in this way. Almost all of these people live in poor countries.
Biomass fuels include wood, animal dung and crop residues. While high income nations have long since converted to petroleum products or electricity for cooking, most people in the developing world still rely heavily on this most basic form of energy production. In China,
India and Sub Saharan Africa, it is estimated that more than 80% of urban households get their energy for cooking in this manner1, and more than 90% in rural areas.2
Biomass fuels are typically burned in rudimentary stoves. Importantly, few of these fully combust the fuel, therefore resulting in inefficient use of precious fuel and unnecessarily large air emissions.3 The high amount of emitted particulate coupled with usually poor ventilation produces indoor concentrations of toxic fumes which are a very real health risk to families. Those most affected are women, who do most of the cooking, as well as infants, who are often times strapped to the backs of their mothers.
Indoor Air Pollution mostly affects health through inhalation, but can also affect the eyes through contact with smoke. IAP happens largely in the household where cooking, sleeping, eating and other activities take place. Women and children are therefore most at risk. The burning of biomass fuels adds to particulate. Particles with diameters of less than 10 microns (PM10) and particularly those less than 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5) are small enough to penetrate deeply into the lungs.4
The US EPA recommends exposure standards based on a 24 hour average. In this time frame, it is recommended that average concentrations of PM10 should not exceed 150 ug/m3. In homes that cook with biomass fuels, concentrations are typically in the range of 300 to 3000 ug/m3, or up to 20 times higher than recommended levels. At times of cooking this number can reach as high 30,000 ug/m3 or 200 times the recommended level.
Indoor Air Pollution contributes to nearly 3 million deaths annually, and constitutes 4% of the global burden of disease.5 The largest health effects include:
•Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI). ARI accounts for 1/8 of the total disease burden in India, making it the largest single disease category6
•Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) COPD includes bronchitis, and accounts for 16% of female deaths in China.7
•Lung Cancer. Some two-thirds of women in China, India, and Mexico are non-smokers8
•Cataracts. Studies have found that women that use biomass fuels for cooking are as much as 2.4 times more likely to suffer from cataracts caused blindness.9
•Tuberculosis. Studies have found an adjusted risk of 2.7 for women that cook with wood in India.10
•Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes. In rural Guatemala, babies born to women that cook with wood fuels were 63 g lighter than those born to women using gas and electric.11
Some sites that have been notes as examples of the problem
Because Indoor Air Pollution is so widespread, Blacksmith receives few nominations for specific sites. Biomass fuel use strongly correlates with per capita income, as this is what inhibit or encourages the transition to cleaner fuels and stoves. Therefore the area most worth highlighting here is Sub Saharan Africa, where per capita incomes remain lowest.
What is Being Done
Hundreds of campaigns have been implemented around the world to end the threat posed by IAP. Most of these have focused on the introduction of more fuel efficient stoves. However, these efforts need to be complemented by more comprehensive approaches to include improved ventilation, lifestyle changes, and host of other interventions ultimately resulting in a transition to cleaner burning fuels.
1 Smith, K.R. “Indoor air pollution in developing countries: recommendations for research.” Indoor Air 2002: 12: 198-207.
2 Bruce, Nigel; Neufeld, Lynnette; Boy, Erick and West, Chris. “Indoor biofuel air pollution and respiratory health: the role of confounding factors among women in highland Guatemala” International Journal of Epidemiology. 1998: 27: 454-458
6 Smith, K.R. “Indoor air pollution in developing countries: recommendations for research.” Indoor Air 2002: 12: 198-207.
8 Bruce, Nigel; Neufeld, Lynnette; Boy, Erick and West, Chris. “Indoor biofuel air pollution and respiratory health: the role of confounding factors among women in highland Guatemala” International Journal of Epidemiology. 1998: 27: 454-458
9 Smith, Kirk R. “National burden of disease in India from indoor air pollution” PNAS. November 2000. Vol 97. No. 24: 13286-13293.
11 Bruce, Nigel; Neufeld, Lynnette; Boy, Erick and West, Chris. “ Indoor biofuel air pollution and respiratory health: the role of confounding factors among women in highland Guatemala” International Journal of Epidemiology. 1998: 27: 454-458
Indoor Air Pollution is a widespread problem in poor communite like this one worldwide. Kolkata, India. Photo by Blacksmith Institute.
Preparing meals in poorly ventilated spaces. Latin America. Photo by Blacksmith Institute.
Every human needs about 20 liters of freshwater a day for basic survival (drinking and cooking) and an additional 50 to 150 liters for basic household use.1 With growing populations and an overall increase in living standards, not only is the overall demand for freshwater pushing limits (one third of world now lives in areas of “water stress”2) but increasing pollution from urban, industrial and agricultural sources is making available resources either unusable or – if there is no alternative – dangerous to health. Almost 5 million deaths in the developing world annually are due to water related diseases, much of this being preventable with adequate supplies of safe water.3
Rural communities around the world traditionally take their water supply from rivers or from shallow dug wells. Growing concentrations of people combined with the increasing industrialization of land use have resulted in many major rivers becoming highly polluted. Sometimes the pollution levels even cause the rivers to become biologically dead and poisonous to drink. In areas where surface water is not readily available, groundwater is the primary water source and serves an estimated 20% of the global population who live in arid and semi-arid regions.4 Underground aquifers are slower to show problems but now are increasingly affected by contamination that is extremely difficult to undo.
Treatment of contaminated drinking water is possible at an urban or a community scale, but it requires financial and human resources not often available. Even when provided, the quality after treatment is often still uncertain and remaining subtle pollutants in trace quantities can still pose health risks (such as the infamous “gender benders” which are believed to upset human hormone balance). The efforts to reduce or prevent pollution of critical waters are numerous, but the scale of the challenges is enormous. River basins containing tens of millions of residents are almost unmanageable, given the weak capability and tools that are normally available and the low priority that is usually given to reducing pollution. This attitude is changing as the human and economic costs are recognized, but the timescale for major improvements is probably decades, at least in the larger systems.
Key pollutants in the water systems are typically pathogens arising from human waste (bacteria and viruses), heavy metals and organic chemicals from industrial waste. Ingestion of pathogens through drinking contaminated water or with food prepared using contaminated water is the most common pathway. Eating fish from contaminated waters can be risky, since they can absorb and concentrate both pathogens and toxics such as heavy metals and persistent organics. In addition, human health may be affected by crops that take up pollutants from contaminated water used for irrigation or from land flooded by polluted rivers.
Pathogens can cause a variety of gastro-intestinal diseases, which can be fatal to babies and to other vulnerable populations. WHO data shows water pollution is one of the greatest causes of mortality that can be linked to environmental factors. Boiling water can destroy most pathogens, however this requires fuel, a commodity often in short supply in poor households. (Some of these diseases may be related to poor hygiene rather than direct ingestion of contaminated water but this in turn is often a result of the lack of adequate amounts of clean water.)
Toxic contaminants in fish or other foods are less likely to cause acute poisoning but can have serious long-term effects, depending on the pollutants and the doses. Understandably, fishing communities along rivers are particularly at risk since they have a steady diet of the local fish over many years.
Some site that have been noted as examples of the problem
Water quality problems are affecting virtually all of the developing world’s major rivers. Northern India suffers immense flooding in its river systems but in the dry season, pollution problems dominate, especially in the upper reaches, including around New Delhi. In China, industrialization has created serious problems in rivers such as the Huai, where large sections of the river are acknowledged to be in the lowest possible water quality classification. Similar problems exist in many other urbanized waterways.
Even where the main stem of a river remains acceptable, serious problems are often seen in the smaller branches – usually local streams which have become urban drains (and dumps or “rubbish tips”). Unfortunately, these urban drains are also the main source of water for drinking and daily use for poor communities along their banks. This problem will only worsen as competition for limited or degraded resources intensifies. Over the next few decades, up to two-thirds of the world’s population will be affected by water scarcity.5
What is Being Done
India has a Ganga Action Plan, launched in the 1980’s to reduce the pollution of the river Ganges, but measurable progress has been slow, despite the expenditure of hundreds of millions of rupees. In China, investment of billions of dollars over twenty years (along with closure or relocation of many industries) has produced a significant improvement in the Huangpu River in the centre of Shanghai, but increasing upstream loads from urbanization and industry are causing measurable deterioration even in the mighty Yangtze. These programs reflect the decades of effort and investment that are needed. The experience of the west on rivers such as the Rhine and the Thames has demonstrated that rehabilitation is eventually possible.
Better off communities can afford water treatment systems and wealthier people can take avoidance measures such as tankered or bottled water from safe sources, but the poor have limited options and need to look towards provisions of public water supplies. Unfortunately, many developing nations face their own public water challenges. Where the problem is localized or can be linked clearly to a few specific sources or pollutants, smaller scale interventions can be effective, in terms both of achieving some improvement to water quality and also of starting a longer-term process. However, large amounts of time and resources are typically needed.
1 Gleick, Peter H. “Basic Water Requirements for Human Activities: Meeting Basic Needs.” Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security. International Water Resources Association. Water International, 21 (1996) 83-92.
2 Kirby, Alex. “Water scarity: A looming crisis?” BBC. October 19, 2004. Available at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3747724.stm
3 Pruss-Ustun, Annette; Bos, Robert; Gore, Fiona; Bartram, Jamie. “Safer Water, Better Health: Costs, benefits and sustainability of interventions to protect and promote health.” World Health
4 “Vital Water Graphics: Problems related to freshwater resources.” United Nations Environment Programme. 2002. Available at http://www.unep.org/dewa/assessments/ecosystems/water/vitalwater/20.htm
5 Rijsberman, Frank R. “Water scarcity: Fact or fiction?” Agricultural Water Management. 80.1-3, (2006) 5-22.
Chromium polluted surface water. India. Photo by Blacksmith Institute.
Polluted surface water. Dar es Saalam, Tanzania. Photo by Blacksmith Insitute.