Senator Joel Villanueva sought the protection and job security of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) reservists who are called to fulfill their military service.
In a co-sponsorship speech, Villanueva shared the sacrifices being faced by AFP reservists who had to take a leave from their current jobs and be away from their families to perform their call of duty.
The senator said he believes that it is every citizen’s dream to serve the country but it is also equally important to ensure his or her job security while being called for public service.
“Hindi po dapat mawalan ng trabaho ang isang Reservist dahil sa pagtugon n’ya sa imbitasyong maglingkod sa bayan, na sa palagay ko’y ang pinakamataas at pinakamarangal na uri ng gawaing maaaring gampanan ng kahit sinong Filipino,” Villanueva said.
In 2017, the AFP has a total of 385,116 Reservists—almost three times the number of active force in the AFP.
In fact, the AFP remains among the least capable militaries in the region in terms of warring capability but not when it comes to the number of reservists it has like engineers, IT experts, bankers, doctors, among others.
Villanueva, who is an AFP reservist himself, said he believes more individuals would be enticed to join the country’s Reserve Force if the government would ensure their protection and job security.
Thus, Villanueva co-authored Senate Bill No. 1698 or the “Reservist Employment Rights Act” that seeks to address any discrimination in the workplace, whether public or private, based on one’s association with the military. The measure was principally authored by Senator Bam Aquino.
Under the bill, reservists are entitled to their original position without loss of seniority rights or reduction of pay. Also, their military service should not be considered a break in the employment for retirement purposes.
“Reservists have the right to return to the same job they were doing before they were mobilized; they have the right to receive the same salary level prior to their call to military service; and they have the right to equal treatment in the workplace,” Villanueva emphasized.
“I believe the benefits of this measure are definitely tangible to any employer – Reservists are highly valued because they have the confidence, resourcefulness and attitude that service in the armed forces necessitates and harnesses,” the senator said.