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Legarda Calls for Strengthened Protection of Filipino Workers Here and Abroad

April 30, 2018

In celebration of Labor Day, Senator Loren Legarda today stressed the need to strengthen the protection of Filipino workers both here and overseas, citing the labor force’s significant contributions to the country’s economy and overall development.

“The celebration of Labor Day is a recognition of the important role that our workers play in the development of our country. I salute our workforce for their significant contribution to our economy. Our country would not function without them. Thus, it is the duty of government to address their concerns and protect their fundamental rights,” said Legarda.

The Senator also said that in entering into trade agreements with other nations and sending Filipino workers overseas, the government must ensure that labor rights are at the centerpiece of these initiatives.

“We must ensure that our economic pursuits are beneficial to our labor force. We have the moral and legal obligation to defend the rights of each and every Filipino to decent work, which includes decent wages, salaries, benefits and good working conditions,” she added.

Legarda said that aside from the Labor Code, which needs to be amended to address current issues faced by Filipino workers, other laws are in place for the protection of workers—such as the Domestic Workers Act (RA 10361) and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Act (RA 10801)—as well as promoting gender equality in the workplace (Magna Carta of Women, RA 9710), and eliminating child labor (Anti-Child Labor Law, RA 9231).

The Philippines has also ratified the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 151, which guarantees the right of public employees to organize, provides adequate protection against acts of anti-union discrimination, and mandates that public employees’ organizations shall enjoy complete independence from public authorities.

Legarda also said that there is a proposed measure she co-authored in the Senate that seeks to amend certain provisions under the Labor Code of the Philippines, specifically on strengthening workers’ right to security of tenure. The proposed measure under Senate Bill No. 1116 is principally authored by Senator Joel Villanueva.

Meanwhile, Legarda, who chairs the Senate Committee on Finance, also called on concerned government agencies to ensure that programs for livelihood and employment are efficiently implemented and reach individuals and communities that greatly need such government interventions.

The 2018 national budget includes funding for a lot of programs on jobs creation and livelihood opportunities—employment facilitation, capacity building, rural and emergency employment services under the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), training for work scholarship programs under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), employment facilitation under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), establishment of Negosyo Centers, business management training services, and shared service facilities under the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), among many others.

Legarda has authored and co-authored laws on jobs and livelihood creation and labor rights, such as the Domestic Workers Act, Public Employment Service Office (PESO) Act, Barangay Kabuhayan Act, Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act, the Magna Carta for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act and its expanded version, Anti-Child Labor Law, Green Jobs Act, and the JobStart Philippines Act.

She also sponsored in the Senate the ratification of treaties protecting migrant Filipino workers, including the ILO Convention 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers and the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) for the protection of the rights of seafarers.