Escudero seeks insurance coverage, more benefits for powerline workers

(Photo from Chiz Escudero / Facebook)
(Photo from Chiz Escudero / Facebook)

Senator Francis Escudero is pushing for mandatory provision of insurance coverage and other benefits for all line workers in the power utility sector.

Hence, Escudero filed Senate Bill 2303, an act providing mandatory insurance coverage and other benefits for all line workers.

"The continuous and reliable supply of electricity—crucial in sustaining our economic growth and maintaining our way of life—rests on the hands of lineworkers who construct, install, maintain, rehabilitate and repair our electrical transmission and distribution systems," Escudero said.

SB 2303 seeks "to mandate private distribution utilities, electric cooperatives, and transmission or grid operators to provide insurance coverage to all their respective line workers and extend other entitlements such as retirement and disability benefits, death and burial assistance, and medical expense reimbursements, among others."

"While they perform both critical and dangerous work, a number of them do so bereft of any form of coverage against death, accidents, illness, and other fortuitous events that could be sustained in the line of duty," Escudero said.

Escudero hopes that the provision of insurance coverage and other benefits would "ensure that lineworkers, as well as their families, are protected from the risks and perils of their chosen occupation."

SB 2303 defines "lineworkers" as "persons, including crews, drivers, and helpers, who are directly responsible for the construction, installation, maintenance, reconstruction, rehabilitation, and repair of electrical transmission and distribution systems, including underground cables, electrical substations, and other related electrical facilities."

Escudero proposed that all lineworkers shall be entitled to life, accident, or disability insurance benefits.

The minimum insurance coverage shall be P200,000; P400,000; and P600,000 for small, medium, and large electric cooperatives, respectively.

Meanwhile, lineworkers in extra-large and mega-large electric cooperatives shall have a minimum insurance coverage of P800,000 and P1,000,000, respectively.

For private distribution utilities, the minimum insurance coverage shall be Pl,500,000; and for transmission or grid operators, the minimum insurance coverage shall be P2 million.

In addition to the mandated insurance coverage, Escudero also wants employers of lineworkers to ensure the provision of retirement benefits; death benefits and burial assistance; Disability benefits; as well as reimbursement of actual medical expenses in case of death, accident, sickness, disability or injury sustained by the lineworker in the line of duty.

Other benefits and entitlements may be identified by the Department of Labor and Employment in consultation with the concerned stakeholders.

Daily Tribune