Monday, May 30, 2011

Senators repeal two articles of labor code under Senate bill 2701

SENATE OFFICE, Manila, May 31, 2011-To provide equal employment opportunities for men and women in night work, the Senate yesterday has approved on Third and Final Reading Senate Bill 2701 repealing Articles 130 and 131 of the Labor Code of the Philippines which was sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development.

Estrada said that his committee has decided to repeal the two articles which limit the job spectrum for female workers where they initially wanted to expand the exceptions prescribed by the Labor Code on women worker on night work since it aims to level the employment field for men and women while maintaining protection for women workers; but after hearing the invaluable inputs of Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, they decided to go all out in dismantling the discriminatory provisions in the Labor Code against  women workers.

Under Article 130, it prohibits nighttime work (generally between 12:00 midnight and 6:00 AM) for women in industrial, commercial and non-industrial undertakings (other than agricultural) while in Article 131 provides exceptions on cases of emergencies, urgent work on machineries, managerial posts, cases permitted by the Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment, among others.

Estrada said that these stipulations prove oppressive when we look at the boom of call center industry which operates on a 24-hour system, adding that before women workers can actually work, they have to suffer a burdensome process of securing paper work and permits.

“It introduced a new chapter in the Labor Code on the employment of night workers and provided measures on health assessment, installation of mandatory facilities for workplaces, compensation and benefits for night workers under the Senate Bill 2701,” Estrada said, noting that the provisions include those which provide that workers shall have the right to undergo a health assessment without charge and to receive advice on how to reduce or avoid health problems associated with their work and one that requires the employers to provide first-aid facilities, sleeping and resting quarters and means of transportation (subject to exceptions and guidelines by the DOLE).

“The measure is in compliance with our obligation to the CEDAW or the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women and consistent with the objectives of Republic Act 9710 or the Magna Carta for Women,” Estrada ended. (Jason de Asis)

Senate passed bill that will enhance early education on children below 6 years old

SENATE OFFICE, Manila, May 30, 2011-Senator Edgardo J. Angara said that it is expected to benefit 17 million Filipino children after the senate passed today on Third and Final Reading the Senate bill 2802 otherwise known as early years act that would enhance early education among children below six years old.
Angara, who authored the bill along with Senate President Pro-Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito and Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago said that the proposed law aims to shift the concept of the day care center from a playroom to a learning center by rationalizing and restructuring the day care into an early childhood education center.

“The bill aims to improve the educational system in the country with the crafting of a formal curriculum for pre-school pupils that will enable them to cope with elementary lessons,” Angara said, saying that forty percent of the children entering Grade I are not ready for school. As such, four out of 10 children drop out of the elementary level and never return to complete their education.

“The National Achievement Test conducted earlier among 1.6 million Grade Six students revealed that a mean percentage score (MPS) of 59.9 percent which means that for every ten items, a Grade Six student can correctly answer five items,” the Senator said.

Angara said that the measure aim to address the lack of facilities and limited teaching staff besetting pre-school education where he estimate that only 46% or about 2.5 million children below six years old are being accommodated by the available 49,000 day care centers nationwide.

“For the implementation of the Act, P500 million per year for the first five years will be appropriated for the National ECCD Program, which will be sourced from PAGCOR,” Angara said, adding that an initial annual appropriation of P1 billion from the GAA shall be provided to the ECCD Council.

Angara explained that they were able to minimize the initial funding requirement because the basic infrastructures for the child development centers are already there. “We will be using the existing daycare centers nationwide and turning them into more education-oriented institutions,” Angara said.

“The bill also seeks for the training of additional childhood development teachers so they could detect and identify gifted and development disorders and disabilities among children below six years old and make the corresponding recommendations where it entails more than just child-minding and childcare to includes the provision of health, nutrition, early education and social development services for the children. (Jason de Asis)


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