In a pledge to the entire Filipino workforce this Labor Day, Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada vows to push for the enactment of pro-labor legislative measures upon the resumption of Congress session on May 9.
Sen. Estrada, 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), outlines his legislative agenda into: 1) upholding and strengthening the rights of workers to decent pay and benefits; 2) ensuring equal employment opportunities for all; and 3) improving welfare mechanisms for the overseas Filipino workers and their families.
“Now that we are celebrating the Labor Day, we are reminded once more that human resources are the most important resource any country could have in order to achieve progress and development. It is only appropriate that we strengthen our resolve to take care of them and accord what is due them and their hardwork,” Sen. Estrada states.
Sen. Estrada filed numerous proposals providing for the just compensation for workers, including 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.
Kasambahay Bill, which raises the minimum wage for household workers and expands their benefits, has already been passed by the Senate on third and final reading.
Moreover, Sen. Estrada intends to address discrimination in employment and had already conducted hearings on the matter.
“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,” Sen. Estrada explains.
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.
Furthermore, Sen. 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.
Sen. Estrada has been pushing for the passage of creating a Migrant Workers Hospital (Senate Bill 428) and OFW Bank (Senate Bill 648) since the 13th Congress. The OFW Bank is seen to lower cost of OFWs’ financial transactions and enhance their income generation capabilities as investors, while the OFW Hospital shall provide free healthcare benefits to OFWs and their relatives.
Sen. Estrada also filed Senate Bill 568 which intends to grant a special leave of absence of fifteen (15) days with full pay to all legitimate spouses of OFWs.