Statement of the Commission on Human Rights lauding the proposed bill for national employment recovery and job creation

Statement of the Commission on Human Rights lauding the proposed bill for national employment recovery and job creation

The Commission on Human Rights welcomes the approval of the consolidated version of the House Bill No. 8400 (HB 8400) or “An Act Institutionalizing and Expanding the National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS) to a Jobs Creation Plan” and the Senate Bill No. 2035 (SB 2035), or “An Act Establishing the National Employment Master Plan” or ‘Trabaho Para Sa Bayan Plan.’ The consolidated bill is geared towards employment generation and job quality improvement in order to address the recovery of the labor market after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Trabaho Para sa Pilipino Act aims to involve more participation of local government units (LGUs) towards formulating programs and projects that focus on producing more employment opportunities in each locality. Tagged as a priority under the current administration, this bill establishes a Jobs Creation Plan, which will provide effective delivery of skills training and development programs, alongside support and incentives to businesses and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

The consolidated bill also seeks to address unemployment, underemployment, youth unemployment, rising precarity and informality of working arrangements, and the reintegration of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) among others. This will focus on improving the employability and competitiveness of workers, promoting the self-reliance of MSMEs, and incentivizing the private sector within a three- to ten-year development timeline.

The Commission commends the authors of HB 8400, namely Representatives Gus Tambunting Eduardo “Bro. Eddie” Villanueva, Juan Fidel Felipe, Zaldy Co, Christopherson Yap, Jonathan Keith Flores, Gerville Luistro, Raoul Danniel Manuel, Janice Salimbangon, and Manuel Jose Dalipe among others. We equally acknowledge the efforts of Sen. Joel Villanueva as the sponsor of SB 2035, alongside co-authors Senators Imee Marcos, Win Gatchalian, Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Juan Miguel F. Zubiri, Christopher Lawrence T. Go, Ramon Bong Revilla Jr., and Loren B. Legarda for forwarding a similar bill in the Senate. This strongly demonstrates the commitment of the legislative branch to fulfill its citizens’ right to work, as well as to create an enabling environment for progressive and productive employment opportunities.

The proposed Trabaho Para sa Pilipino Act advances every Filipino’s right to choose and accept work freely, which is guaranteed in both domestic and international law. It is enshrined in Article XIII, Section 3 of the 1987 Constitution that: “The State shall afford full protection to labor, local and overseas, organized and unorganized, and promote full employment opportunities for all.” The proposed bill also adheres to Article 6 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which underscores the State’s obligation to ensure its citizens’ right to work and to take measures to safeguard this.

The Commission lauds both Houses of Congress for crafting a legislation that can pave the way to providing Filipinos employment opportunities on a national scale, while paying attention to the specific industries and emerging sectors across communities. We hope that the proposed measure will be coupled with equal attention to ensuring that just and favorable conditions of work are continually being fulfilled.

To date, the consolidated bill has been transmitted to the Office of the President. We are hopeful of the President’s swift approval, not only for economic recovery, but to help many vulnerable families and individuals who are still recovering from the pandemic and are currently bearing the brunt of inflation. Easing the challenges in the labor market through concrete measures will allow many disadvantaged Filipinos to make a decent and adequate living for themselves and their families. ###