A Senate comeback for former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada could ensure the creation of two national agencies that would help match skills and labor opportunities for the millions of Filipinos displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Estrada, president of the Partido ng Masang Pilipino, conceptualized the creation of the two agencies during his 12-year stint as chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor.
He said putting up the two agencies – the National Employment Assistance Center (NEAC) and National Manpower Data and Placement Center (NMDPC) – will be among the priority measures he will pursue if he is elected to the Senate in May.
Estrada stressed the need to prioritize the creation of the two agencies, saying that these will help address the currently problematic labor situation.
“The unemployment rate has climbed to 8.1 percent based on state figures. Creation of the two agencies will boost government’s ability to match skills and labor opportunities for local employees as well as overseas Filipino workers (OFWs),” he stressed.
Earlier, the former senator from San Juan said he will channel his energy to advocacies that address unemployment and champion the welfare of wage earners if given the chance to make a Senate comeback.
During his more than a decade Senate stint, Estrada racked up a host of pro-labor measures but is seeking a fresh term to continue his advocacies. He was principal author of the Apprenticeship Training Act to provide skills training and access to employment, particularly the youth.
“Also included in the bills I filed were those intended for the safety and welfare of construction workers under the ‘Occupational Safety and Health In The Construction Industry Act’,” he said.
For public transport drivers, Estrada pushed for the “Comprehensive Assistance Program for Public Utility Vehicle Drivers Act” to ensure that they are covered by the Social Security System, Philhealth, social security benefits, livelihood and credit assistance, and aid to their families. “I will strongly pursue these measures again,” he added.
He also vowed to work for measures that will provide support to industries severely affected by the pandemic including wage subsidies to allow factories to keep their roster of workers.
Strengthening the agri sector is also in his Senate priority agenda since agriculture is still the country’s top job generator. “A stronger agricultural sector will also disperse economic progress to the countryside,” said the veteran senator.