"I join Rep. Fernandez in his call."
Last week I quoted the first part of Deputy Speaker Dan Fernandez’ privilege speech entitled, “Beyond COVID-19: Focusing on Workers in Informal Economy.” Fernandez told the House of Representatives that some major problems related to the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) could have been prevented if the Magna Carta of Workers in the Informal Economy (MACWIE) were already a law.
This week, in his sponsorship speech of his bill on granting ABS-CBN a provisional franchise, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano also outlined his priorities for this 18th Congress in relation with moving on post-COVID-19. I was glad to hear of his intent to look into ways to help poor workers and most of those he mentioned belong to the informal economy. Hopefully, the HOR now sees the urgency of passing MACWIE into a law.
Again, I am yielding my space to the second part of Rep. Fernandez’ speech.
“Outside of the problem with numbers, SOBRANG BAGAL DIN PO NG PAG-RELEASE NG SAP. During a crisis, we cannot be slow. Time is of the essence. The long and complicated process required by the DSWD in the identification, validation, and revalidation of beneficiaries is counterproductive… HINDI PO NATIN MAAARING PIGILIN ANG PAGKALAM NG TIYAN NG ATING MGA MAHIHIRAP NA KABABAYAN. NAKAMAMATAY DIN PO ANG GUTOM, HINDI LANG ANG COVID-19.
What this Representation knows is, of the targeted 18 million families as beneficiaries for April, only 11 million have actually received SAP as of the last information I received… ANO’NG PETSA NA PO, DSWD?
Not only are people angry and hungry because of the very long wait, many qualified families are also excluded from SAP.
If MACWIE is already a law, these problems would not be as big as they are.
FIRST, data would not have been a significant problem despite the absence of a census this year. MACWIE has strong provisions on database of WIE from the LGU to the national level. To qualify as beneficiaries of programs under the law, the workers, their livelihood activities no matter how small, as well as their organizations would need to register with their LGUs. This means that government… will have the needed data about them.
HINDI PO NATIN SANA NAGING PROBLEMA ANG BILANG NG DAPAT TUMANGGAP NG AYUDA, ANG KANILANG LOCATION, PATI NA RIN PO ANG LEVEL NG TULONG NA MAAARING TANGGAPIN...
HINDI RIN PO SANA NAGING PROBLEMA ANG MAHABANG PROSESO NG IDENTIFICATION, VALIDATION, AT REVALIDATION NG MGA BENEFICIARIES.
HINDI PO SANA MALAKI ANG KULANG NG ATING TARGET BENEFICIARIES.
MAS NAGING MABILIS PO SANA ANG PAGDATING NG TULONG SA MGA NANGANGAILANGAN.
HINDI SANA MAGUGUTOM ANG MARAMI NATING MGA MANGGAGAWA, HINDI SILA MAGPIPILIT LUMABAS KAHIT MAY ECQ AT MAE-EXPOSE SA COVID-19.
HINDI PO MAGAGALIT SA PAMAHALAAN ANG ATING MAHIHIRAP NA MANGGAGAWA.
SECOND, if the government lacks the human resources to deliver assistance, the organizations of WIE workers could have been tapped to help. After all, under MACWIE, these groups would have been accredited by LGUs and/or national government. I know for a fact that these organizations are willing to help because MACWIE directly came from them.
THIRD, the level of assistance needed from a single government agency may not be as big. This is because if MACWIE is already a law, workers in the informal economy would have social protection like membership with the Social Security System under customized programs. These social protection mechanisms would lessen the workers’ vulnerability to risks such as those brought about by COVID-19.
This means that the workers would not be at the mercy of one government entity because they would also stand to benefit from SSS as contributing members.
Moreover, if MACWIE has been in place, our government, both LGUs and national agencies would have running programs for them as provided by law. Possibly, workers in the informal economy would be in a better position than now.
This means that both government and workers would be a bit better prepared to face the COVID-19 pandemic.
FOURTH and last Mr. Speaker, if MACWIE has been passed earlier, our plans to move forward AFTER COVID-19 would be better informed because of the presence of data, relevant programs, and consultation, coordination, and implementation structures, systems, and mechanisms with active participation of accredited WIE organizations.
I said earlier that this is the time to plan our next steps in helping our poor citizens restart and regain control of their lives. If MACWIE is already a law, we will not start from scratch. We will have a good idea of what 25.7 million workers need, we will even have a nuanced understanding of what need to be done in relation with the major groups of workers like women and young workers, the senior workers, homeworkers, those in the service industry, the vendors and sellers, farmers and fisherfolk, and others. We will only need to continue, update, upgrade, or add on to existing programs in coordination with the workers’ organizations.
I can only imagine how easier and faster we can develop said plans, and how much more responsive these plans could be.
Another important thing that I would like to say is, all studies point to the fact that AFTER ALL CRISES, THE NUMBERS OF WORKERS IN THE INFORMAL ECONOMY SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASE. Those who lose their employment transfer to informal work.
As it is Mr. Speaker, the possibility of many workers losing their jobs is big. Add to this, we see that tens of thousands of our OFWs are coming back home. If they stay, what kinds of livelihood activities will they engage in? Most possibly, they will also be in the informal economy. Thus, we in government really need to be BETTER prepared.
This representation knows that MACWIE remains to be a bill. I hope that this honorable House now sees how important this bill is. I hope that we have learned from this COVID-19 crisis.
Mr. Speaker, my dear colleagues, let us now work on our roadmap to moving forward. MARAMING MGA NAGING PAGKUKULANG AT PAGKAKAMALI SUBALI’T TAYO PO AY MAY MALAKING MAGAGAWA UPANG ANG MGA ITO AY MAPUNAN AT MAITAMA. MARAMI PO TAYONG DAPAT GAWIN UPANG UMPISAHAN ANG ATING PAGBANGON.
25.7 MILLION WORKERS IN THE INFORMAL ECONOMY ARE WAITING AND MORE WILL BE ADDED TO THEIR RANKS.
TODAY IS THEIR DAY. THIS REPRESENTATION, AND I AM SURE THAT THE WHOLE HOUSE , TOO, WOULD LIKE TO RECOGNIZE THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS AND ALSO ADDRESS THE DECADES OF NEGLECT THEY HAVE EXPERIENCED. “
I join Rep. Fernandez in his call for the urgent passage of MACWIE into a law.
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