May in the Philippines, is the month for fiestas, where fireworks or pyrotechnics are on display as part of the celebration. This occasion is second to the New Year celebrations, in terms of firecracker use.
Sadly, October 12, 2016 shook, literally shook, the Fireworks Capital of the Philippines, the town of Bocaue in Bulacan. An explosion shook a store and damaged at least two houses around it. Fatalities were two- the owner of the store and a man aged 56 years old. Vehicles parked near the area of the blast were also damaged.
Government agencies notably the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE’s) Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC) and DOLE Regional Office No. III, rushed to the scene. With the local government of Bocaue headed by Mayor Joji Villanueva-Tugna, the said agencies, along with the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), came to an agreement that the operations of the stores and the manufacturers would have to be temporarily closed until certain interventions are put in place. And one of these interventions is the completion by the owners and manufacturers of the Basic Occupational Safety and Health for the Industry. In addition, the PNP, the DTI and the Employees Compensation Commission (ECC), were also given slots to further strengthen knowledge and information especially on the licensing requirements (PNP and DTI) as well as know their entitlements once they are injured at work (ECC).
The beauty of it was that not only government groups were at work. A private organization, the OSHMS360 Corp, an OSHC-DOLE – accredited safety training organization, were invited and subsequently accepted, to provide the resource speakers at no cost to government. At least four of its core group of speakers accepted the challenge as their own way of “paying it forward” to the workers of the industry. They were Ms. Rosanna Tubelonia, Engr. Dexter Alister V. Bacani, EnP Jovertlee Pudan, and Ms. Rodelia Distor.
The BOSH was conducted on October 25-28, 2016, at the Bocaue Municipal Hall Compound. Mayor Villanueva gave a pep talk to the participants and promised that the suspension order will be lifted at the next working day for those who attended the training. The DOLE Region 3 Bulacan Office Head, Atty. May Lynn C. Gozun, added her own inspirational talk.
But for OSHMS360 Corp, an initiative like this is its own psychological reward!