Press Release
April 30, 2018


A day before the country observes the international labor day, Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros called for the immediate passage of the Security of Tenure (SoT) Bill to end the mass exodus of Filipino workers to other countries wanting to earn a decent living.

The Senator said that the passage of the SoT Bill is an integral part of a comprehensive alternative to the country's labor export policy.

"If the government wants our overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to return home and end the Filipino diaspora, let us ensure that they will return to a country where regular and decent jobs are plentiful, where women workers are treated with the highest respect and where their health is the primary concern of the state," Hontiveros said.

"Huwag lang natin silang pauwiin. Pauwiin natin sila na may pag-asa at kasiguraduhan ng mas magandang bukas sa sarili nilang bansa," Hontiveros added.

Hontiveros, who is currently the Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women, said that the SoT Bill will protect workers from unscrupulous and discriminatory contracting and sub-contracting and strengthen the security of tenure of workers. The measure will also help in closing the gender gap in the labor sector. Citing data from the International Labor Organization (ILO), the Senator said that women in several ASEAN countries, including the Philippines, tend to have a bigger share of vulnerable employment than men.

"Filipino women have a lower labor participation rate compared to men, and those fortunate enough to be employed are more exposed to vulnerable employment like contractual jobs. Bukod sa mas mahirap makakuha ng disenteng trabaho Ang mga kababaihan, kung makahanap man ng pagkakakitaan, ito ay mga trabahong kontraktuwal," Hontiveros explained.

ENDO: A health risk to workers

Hontiveros, who is also the Vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Health, said that labor contractualization, popularly known as "ENDO", referring to "end of contract" jobs, is also a public health risk to many Filipino workers.

"Contractual workers are more vulnerable to health risks than regular workers as contractualization is a scheme meant to avoid paying workers the social and health benefits that regular employees are entitled to. Thus, contractual workers are forced to endure precarious working conditions and pay for their own health expenses when they get sick or injured at work," Hontiveros said.

Thus, aside from the SoT Bill, Hontiveros expressed confidence that her fellow lawmakers in the House of Representatives (HoR) will pass its version of the Expanded Maternity Leave Law to achieve a more progressive approach to health care in the labor sector.

"The passage of these landmark labor laws is important, especially in the context of the challenges posed by our diplomatic row with Kuwait affecting hundreds of thousands of OFWs, and the growing clamor for regular and decent jobs as well as a modern maternity health policy at par with international standards," Hontiveros said.

"Where President Duterte has failed in his promise to the Filipino workers, I am hopeful that the Legislature will deliver," Hontiveros ended.

House Bill 6908, or "An Act Strengthening the Security of Tenure of Workers" was already passed on third and final reading by the HoR. Its counterpart measure is still pending at the committee level in the Senate.

Meanwhile, the Expanded Maternity Leave Law, authored and sponsored by Hontiveros was passed by the Senate last year. Its version in the HoR is awaiting approval.

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