Iloilo City enforces ‘heatstroke’ breaks for traffic aides

(Rex Girao Jr Photo)

By Mariela Angella Oladive

To protect workers from heat-related illnesses, the Iloilo City government has implemented a “heatstroke break” policy amid ongoing heat waves.

Mayor Jerry Treñas recently announced that department heads have been instructed to adjust or shorten the field time for personnel such as street sweepers and traffic aides.

Traffic Management Unit head Uldarico Garbanzos explained that traffic enforcers are given breaks from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. as a humane consideration to avoid excessive heat exposure.

In an interview on Monday, May 20, Garbanzos emphasized the importance of hydration, stating that while visibility during peak hours is crucial, enforcers are encouraged to pause and rehydrate to mitigate the risks associated with extreme temperatures.

During peak heat hours from noon until 4 p.m., enforcers will not be expected to maintain a constant presence in the midst of traffic. Instead, they will adopt a reactionary approach, intervening only in cases of congestion or accidents.

“For that period, they are just beside the streets so they won’t suffer from heat waves,” Garbanzos clarified.

To ensure adherence to these measures, inspectors have been deployed to oversee the activities of traffic enforcers.

Mayor Jerry Treñas highlighted the role of closed-circuit televisions installed by the city government in monitoring traffic flow and promptly addressing congestion issues.

“When there are congestions, Col. Garbanzos is informed, so he can direct traffic enforcers,” Treñas explained.

For the past months, the city has been experiencing a high heat index, prompting the local government to suspend face-to-face classes and the Monday flag-raising ceremony.

On Monday and yesterday, May 21, the city faced a forecasted heat index of 44°C.

In addition to these measures, in-person classes have been suspended citywide, with exceptions granted to schools equipped with air-conditioned and well-ventilated classrooms capable of withstanding extreme heat conditions.


Non-Communicable Disease Coordinator Dr. Althea Tampos provided guidance on recognizing and treating heatstroke, which can result from prolonged exposure to high temperatures or physical exertion.

Symptoms include headache, dizziness, nausea, flushed skin, extreme thirst, and a body temperature exceeding 40°C. Severe cases may involve confusion, disorientation, and potential organ damage.

Dr. Tampos advised moving anyone showing signs of heatstroke to a cool area, offering small sips of water, loosening clothing, and applying ice packs or cool towels.

She cautioned against administering paracetamol, aspirin, or ibuprofen, and recommended a brief rest before taking a bath to avoid sudden changes in body temperature.