Press Release
December 14, 2015

Senate bats for reduced retirement age
of surface mine workers, horse jockeys

The Senate today approved on third and final reading two bills seeking to lower the retirement age of surface mine workers and horse jockeys.

Sen. Sonny Angara, acting chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, said both Senate Bill No. 2836 and Senate Bill No. 129, seek to reduce the retirement age of surface mine workers and horse jockeys from 60 to 50 years old and from 60 to 55 years old respectively.

"Under existing law, only underground workers can retire at age 50. Mining is one of the world's most dangerous occupation which put the lives of our miners at risk. Like underground miners, surface mine workers are also susceptible and vulnerable to chronic conditions caused by toxic chemicals, aside from the danger of exposing them to explosions and cave-ins," said Angara.

Underground mine workers refer to persons employed to extract mineral deposits underground or to work in excavations such as shafts, tunnels, drifts, crosscuts and raises.

On the other hand, surface mine workers refer to persons employed above ground of mining sites who extract minerals from mining pits. They also maintain the electrical and mechanical equipment and fixtures in the mining sites. Surface mine workers include, but not limited to, mill plant workers and mechanical, electrical and tailings pond personnel.

Likewise, Angara said, race horse jockeys are also exposed to extreme conditions which require a lot of physical strength.

"Jockeys run deadly risks in their every race. Theirs are the most hazardous job of any professional athletes. They are exposed to many perils. One misstep during the race can send a jockey and his horse tumbling to the ground, where he can be permanently crippled and even crushed to death by his own horse or by another horse running behind them," he said.

Angara said both professions have made substantial contributions to the economy, creating more than 250,000 jobs nationwide with about P22 billion added to the country's budget in the form of taxes, fees and other royalties. (MaeJoy Albano-Miranda)

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