THREE lawmakers joined forces in filing a bill in Congress which seeks to protect the welfare of the workers in informal employment.

Representatives Sonny Angara (Aurora), Danilo Fernandez (Laguna), Erin Tanada (Quezon) filed House Bill 768 or the Magna Carta of Workers in Informal Employment bill.

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The three House members filed the same bill individually in the 14th Congress but did not take off which prompted them to consolidate all their points into one bill.

"I hope it won't take six years to have this passed. Hopefully, with the help of other congressmen, by the end of 2011 baka kaya na natin," Tanada said.

Upon enactment into law, the Magna Carta of workers in informal employment will give social protection benefits to almost 25 million members of the informal sector and institutionalize appropriate regulation and due representation.

Civil society groups Magkaisa, ECSR-Asia and the multisectoral Fair Trade Alliance (FairTrade) are optimistic that the bill will be enacted into law this incoming Congress with uplifting the poor as one of the key goals of President Noynoy Aquino.

For his part, Fernandez said that the sector should be made visible to the government which in turn shall accord them social protection.

The local government units shall protect the informal employees against hazards and sudden loss of income; and provide them social insurance and basic health care.

Angara meanwhile emphasized the need to address the absence of monitoring system and regulations to protext the informal sector's working environment.

The Magna Carta seeks to create and Informal Economy Development Authority (IEDA) which shall be attached to the Office of the President. It shall serve as a one-stop shop that will facilitate efforts to promote the viability and growth of the informal economy. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)