Saturday, April 30, 2011
SENATE OFFICE, Manila, May 1, 2011-Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, who is also the concurrent chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development and of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Labor and Employment (COCLE) pushes for the enactment of pro-labor legislative measures upon the resumption of Congress session on May 9 as his pledge to the entire Filipino workforce today.
Estrada outlined his three legislative agenda such as the upholding and strengthening the rights of workers to decent pay and benefits; ensuring equal employment opportunities for all; and improving welfare mechanisms for the overseas Filipino workers and their families.
As the citizenry are celebrating the Labor Day today, the Senator said that in order to achieve progress and development this reminded us more that human resources are the most important resource in any country; thus, there is a need to strengthen our resolve to take care of them and accord what is due them and their hard work.
Estrada has filed numerous proposals for the just compensation for workers like Senate Bill 812 which provides P125 daily across-the-board wage increase; Senate Bill 760 which increases penalties for non-compliance of the prescribed adjustments in wage rates of workers; and Senate Bill 80 which grants annual productivity incentive to all workers in the private sector.
The Senator’s bill has already been passed by the Senate on third and final reading the Kasambahay Bill which raises the minimum wage for household workers and expands their benefits.
Estrada also intends to address discrimination in employment and had already conducted hearings on the matter.
The Senator explained that gender, indigenous cultural grouping, age, among others need not deter anyone from securing gainful employment. Discrimination in the workplace, despite the guarantees from the Labor Code and the Constitution for equal employment opportunities, still plagues our society.
Among his anti-discrimination bills are Senate Bill 429 which prohibits discrimination against women on account of sex; Senate Bill 556 which promotes equal employment opportunities for indigenous cultural communities; Senate Bill 587 which establishes job training program for mature workers; Senate Bill 930 which prohibits gender discrimination in employment advertising; and Senate Bill 891 which ensures equal opportunities to Muslims and tribal Filipinos.
Estrada believes that the government must lay down better welfare mechanisms for the overseas Filipino workers and their dependents in response to the growing concerns related to overseas employment in aspects of health, remittance and investments, and family setup.
Since the 13th Congress, Estrada is pushing for the passage of creating a Migrant Workers Hospital (Senate Bill 428) and OFW Bank (Senate Bill 648). The OFW Bank is seen to lower cost of OFWs’ financial transactions and to enhance their income generation capabilities as investors, while the OFW Hospital shall provide free healthcare benefits to OFWs and their relatives, adding that to grant a special leave of absence of fifteen (15) days with full pay to all legitimate spouses of OFWs, Estrada also filed Senate Bill 568. (Jason de Asis)
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