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Pimentel bats for ‘work break’ for outdoor workers amid high heat index

Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel on Monday urged the government and private sectors to implement a "temporary work break" from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for outdoor-based workers amid the rising temperature this summer season.

In an interview, Pimentel said workers directly exposed to the heat of the sun, including construction workers, street sweepers, and traffic enforcers should be allowed to stop working when the heat index usually peaks to ensure their health and safety.

“[‘Yung] pinakamainit [na oras]. Sa ibang bansa ginagawa na 'yun. I hope the DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) will also study that,” said Pimentel.

(They should be allowed a work break during the hottest hours of the day. This is being practiced in other countries, so I hope the DOLE will study it.)

The short break should be in accordance with the advisory of PAGASA, he added.

The state weather bureau warned on Sunday that the heat index in the country would remain at "extreme caution." On Monday, the country’s highest heat index was monitored in Dagupan City, Pangasinan at 43°C.

The heat index is a measure of the temperature that a person feels in contrast to the actual air temperature.

Last week, PAGASA warned of hotter days in May as the Philippines recorded a 55°C heat index in the said period last year. 

Meanwhile, some construction workers said they were aware of the possible danger in working under the extreme heat so they make some adjustments every summer.

“Pag medyo mainit, yung ibang trabaho sa loob muna ginagawa. Pag medyo kulimlim na, puwede na bumalik sa labas,” foreman Jack Bolus said in Raffy Tima’s “24 Oras” report on Tuesday.

(When it's hot, we work on the inside areas. When the humidity improves we continue to work on the exterior.)

However, this has an effect on the construction timeline of some projects.

“Okay po sa amin kaso sir syempre yung amo namin, syempre dalawang oras din yung masasayang,” Bolus said.

(It's okay with us, however, it depends on our boss. That's two hours of work that will be wasted.)

“Parang normal din lang sir kasi sanay na yung katawan namin sa init,” brick installer Virgilio Boral said.

(Our bodies are used to the heat.)

“Mas doble yung init sa labas sir e, kung doble triple pa siguro yung init niya sa labas lalo na pag dami sinasalang tapos maraming baga, sobrang init sir,” cook Gil Baldemoro said.

(It's twice as hot outside, sometimes it is extremely hot outside, especially if there's a lot of food to cook and then there's a lot of smoke, it's too hot.)

“Hindi mo maiwasang hindi mahilo, so tubig na lang sir, tubig nang tubig,” Baldemoro said.

(You will feel dizzy, so I just drink a lot of water.)

Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) also advised workers to drink plenty of water while working under the heat to avoid possible dehydration. —with Richa Noriega/ VAL, GMA Integrated News