THE House of Representatives approved Tuesday on third and final reading a bill that seeks to institutionalize and expand the present National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS) to a jobs creation plan.
The short title of House Bill (HB) No. 8400 is “Trabaho para sa Pilipino Act.” Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez said the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in the closure or downsizing of many businesses, which in turn meant the loss of tens of thousands of jobs.
“Now that we are recovering gradually from the health crisis, we have to regain lost jobs and create more employment and income opportunities for our people,” Speaker Romualdez, head of the 311-member House of Representatives, said after lawmakers voted 235 against three and zero abstention approving HB No. 8400 on third and final reading.
He said the expansion of NERS created under Executive Order No. 140 into a comprehensive national jobs creation blueprint is the House answer to the problems of unemployment and underemployment.
“Through this plan, and with the cooperation of the concerned agencies and especially of local government units (LGUs) throughout the country, we hope to address these twin issues related to employment,” he added.
HB No. 8400 is a consolidation of two related measures authored by Parañaque Rep. Gus Tambunting and Rep. Eduardo “Bro. Eddie” Villanueva of CIBAC Party-list.
Some of the principal authors include Reps. Juan Fidel Felipe, Zaldy Co, Christopherson Yap, Jonathan Keith Flores, Gerville Luistro, Raoul Danniel Manuel, Janice Salimbangon, and Manuel Jose Dalipe.
The proposed law creates an inter-agency council for jobs and investments to be chaired by the secretary of trade and industry, with the secretary of labor and employment as co-chairperson.
The secretaries of finance, budget and migrant workers, director general of the National Economic and Development Authority, head of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), one representative from employers’ organizations, and one representative from labor groups will sit as council members.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) will serve as the council’s secretariat.
The inter-agency body is mandated to formulate a medium-term and long-term jobs creation plan (JCP) that shall include objectives and targets, action components, success measures, and performance indicators.
It shall harmonize the employment, livelihood and training projects and programs of the national government toward the preservation and creation of more jobs.
It shall collaborate with LGUs in planning, devising and implementing employment recovery and job generation programs within their localities.
It shall ensure that these programs are aligned with the JCP.
The council shall also craft and provide guidelines for the institutionalization of the JCP in each government agency.
The bill requires the active participation of LGUs in the national plan to recover jobs and generate more employment opportunities within their communities.
The Department of Trade and Industry, DOLE and TESDA, in coordination with other concerned agencies and private stakeholders, shall issue implementing rules and regulations.
Initial funding shall be charged against the agencies’ budgets. Subsequent requirements are to be included in their proposed annual appropriations.