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House panel approves measures to benefit power line workers

A HOUSE of Representatives committee has approved the consolidation of measures that will, among others, increase the insurance coverage and benefits of power line workers.

In a hearing Tuesday, the House Committee on Energy approved the committee report on the draft substitute bill for House Bill (HB) 471, also known as A Bill Establishing the Lineman Training Academy of the Philippines; HB 472 or the proposed National Lineman Appreciation Day Act; and HB 3247 or the Lineworker Appreciation and Benefits Act, subject to amendments.

“We have passed this which will now be on the floor… let’s just make sure the amendments… are taken up on the floor,” according to the Committee’s Chairman, Representative Juan Miguel M. Arroyo.

HB 471 called for free training at the proposed Lineman Training Academy of the Philippines, allowing more workers to practice the trade. The bill’s authors, who represent the power sector, said line work is considered a “hard to fill” occupation.

Representative and HB 471 and 472 author Presley C. De Jesus said at the same hearing that the bills “are assurances that (line workers) are not left behind. Considering they are the backbone of the electric power industry and also considered frontliners.”

The Department of Energy’s (DoE) Electric Power Industry Management Bureau (EPIMB) Director Mario C. Marasigan said at the hearing that the DoE “has no objections and we support (the measures).”

The measures also received support from the National Electrification Administration, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, and the Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives. — Gillian M. Cortez

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