SENATOR Loren Legarda on Monday, May 1, will pay tribute and pledge support to the millions of Filipino workers all over the world as the nation celebrates Labor Day, citing their 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 sacrifices and significant contribution to our economy. Our country would not function without them. We should address their concerns and protect their fundamental rights, including those working overseas,” said Legarda.
The Senator said that the government must ensure that labor rights are at the centerpiece of the new trade agreements with the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
“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, chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, noted that the 2017 General Appropriations Act (GAA) includes funding of programs on jobs creation and livelihood opportunities—employment facilitation, capacity building, rural and emergency employment services under the Department of Labor and Employment, training for work scholarship programs under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, employment facilitation under the Department of Social Welfare and Development, establishment of Negosyo Centers, business management training services, and shared service facilities under the Department of Trade and Industry, among many others.
She also said the importance of promoting green skills and green jobs, noting that the Philippines has the potential to generate thousands of green jobs, especially if there are more renewable energy investments in the country.
The Green Jobs Act, co-authored by Legarda, offers tax incentives to companies that create green jobs or employment that contributes to preserving or restoring the quality of the environment. It also covers industries that hire professionals including solar PV system designers and installers, engineers and technicians of turbines, energy and resource-efficiency consultants, sanitation and waste management experts, biodiversity and ecology fieldworkers, forest guards, river clean-up crew, organic farmers and recycling plant workers, among others.
“I hope through this law, we can encourage more Filipinos to train in green skills such as management in agriculture, forestry, horticulture, environmental information technology and other careers that contribute to environmental preservation,” Legarda said.
Legarda has authored and co-authored laws such as the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act and its expanded version, Anti-Child Labor Law, Kasambahay Law, Public Employment Service Office Act, Barangay Kabuhayan Act, Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act, the Magna Carta for Micro, small and medium enterprises, and the Job Start 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 for the protection of the rights of seafarers.