Senators on Wednesday night finished the period of interpellations on Senate Bill No. 1363 or the "Telecommuting Act of 2017", moving the proposed measure closer to becoming a law.
"We are looking forward to starting the period of individual amendments next week, and we hope to pass the measure on third and final reading before the last day of session on May 31," said Villanueva, chair of senate committee on labor, employment, and human resources development.
Villanueva's bill seeks to promote work-from-home by encouraging the employers to allow telecommuting or the partial or total substitution of computers or telecommunication technologies for the commute to work by employees.
"We want to push for our Filipino workers to have a meaningful work-life balance by encouraging employers to explore telecommuting as a way of allowing work flexibility," Villanueva said.
Aside from promoting work-life balance, the bill also seeks to address traffic congestion and its tremendous effect on the country's economy.
The senator cited statistics which prove that the enormous traffic, especially in Metro Manila, has caused inconvenience to more than a million daily commuters and drastic loss to our economy.
Based on a study conducted by the Japan International Coordination Agency (JICA), the traffic costs in Manila is foreseen to increase to 6 billion pesos a day by 2030 from 2.4 billion pesos per day in 2015.
"Para po sa ikabubuti ng manggagawang Pilipino ang panukalang ito. Mas magkakaroon sila ng mahabang oras para sa kanilang mga mahal sa buhay. Hindi na kinakailangan pang sumuong sa trapik upang pumunta sa opisina dahil maari na nilang gawin ang kanilang trabaho sa kani-kanilang tahanan sa tulong na rin ng makabagong teknolohiya," Villanueva said.
"Our workers have the right to a work-life balance. They have the right to a flexible work arrangement. They have the right to be allowed to work-from-home," Villanueva stressed.