Villanueva: Workers must be the centerpiece of economic recovery
Senator Joel Villanueva underscored the importance of ensuring the welfare of workers affected by the pandemic as the Senate labor committee started deliberations Monday into several proposed measures.
Villanueva’s committee tackled bills on media workers welfare, occupational safety and health standards for workers in the movie and television industry, service incentive leave, registry of skilled workers in barangays, and expansion of prohibited acts of discrimination against women in the workplace.
“We are discussing these bills today within the context of the pandemic and the country’s unemployment rate of 8.7% in April 2021 which translates to 4.14 million Filipinos without jobs. Pero kailangan na po nating umaksyon ngayon. Kailangan po at tingin ko importante po na pagusapan at i-discuss ang mga panukalang ito. At higit sa lahat, kailangan po nating aksyunan ang pangangailangan ng ating bayan post-pandemic. Ang ating mga manggagawa po dapat ang centerpiece ng ating economic recovery. I believe that these bills are aligned and consistent with that direction,” Villanueva said.
The labor committee chair highlighted the importance of organizing skilled workers at the grass roots level, similar to a program he implemented during his time as TESDA secretary.
“Halos ganito po ang layunin ng inilunsad natin noon sa TESDA, young TESDA Specialista Program kung saan ginugrupo natin ang mga skilled workers, binibigyan po sila ng mga “nurturers” para malaman ng buong komunidad at mai-market ang skills nila,” Villanueva said.
The lawmaker also expressed his commitment to work on stamping out acts of discrimination against women in the workplace, which is contained in Senate Bill No. 2093 which he filed in March this year.
"At higit sa lahat, kailangan po nating aksyunan ang pangangailangan ng ating bayan post-pandemic. Ang ating mga manggagawa po dapat ang centerpiece ng ating economic recovery."
The bill prohibits the following acts:
Favoring a male over a female employee with respect to assignments and dismissal solely on account of gender
Denying employment or statutory benefits to women by reason of gender
The bill also seeks to penalize not only employers, who commit any of the prohibited acts of discrimination, but also employees or persons "who aid or abet in the commission of such acts."
Villanueva said the labor committee would continue to scrutinize the position papers sought from resource persons on the bills which were deliberated on, “taking into consideration the realities of the pandemic that we are facing.”
“Your Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development will remain your reliable partner in ensuring the safety and welfare of our workers, especially during this unprecedented pandemic,” he said. “We look forward to discussing the following issues during TWG or perhaps if we call for another hearing because we will be collaborating with other members of this committee.”