House to continue promoting workers’ welfare – Romualdez

May 1, 2023 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 188 views

SPEAKER Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez (SFMR) on Monday joined the nation in greeting workers, acknowledging the “sacrifices” they make for their families and the country, and celebrating Labor Day (May 1).

“Our workers are the backbone not only of their families but of the economy and the nation. The economy would not be running if not for their tireless toil,” Speaker Romualdez said.

“This is the reason why we in the House of Representatives always make it a point to attend to their concerns. We are committed to continue working on measures that protect their rights, promote their welfare and preserve their jobs and incomes,” he said.

He stressed that recently-enacted laws that aim to enhance economic growth and improve the investment climate in the country are geared toward job and income preservation.

Among these pieces of legislation are liberalization amendments introduced in the Public Service Act, Retail Trade Law, and Foreign Investments Act, which are intended to attract more foreign investments.

“The investment-diplomatic missions of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and his economic team, joined by a small group of House members, are all aimed at sustaining economic growth,” Speaker Romualdez said.

“If we can keep the economy on the high growth path, our workers’ jobs and incomes are not only preserved, but we create more economic opportunities for them and their families, and our people in general,” he said.

House Committee on Labor and Employment chairman and Rizal 4th District Rep. Fidel Nograles, AGRI Party-list Rep. Wilbert T. Lee, and Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte backed Speaker Romualdez’s statement and vowed to continue fighting for workers’ welfare.

“Nananatili ang hamon na itaguyod ang karapatan at kapakanan ng bawat manggagawang Pilipino,” Nograles, a stalwart of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD), said.

“As we strive to recover from the massive blow dealt by the pandemic, our people can rest assured that we will continue fighting for workers’ welfare through meaningful legislation and by working with the government, industries, and workers themselves,” Nograles said on the country’s commemoration of Labor Day.

Nograles called for patience amid calls for the government to increase the minimum wage of workers to help the poor cope with the steady rise in the price of basic goods.

“Naiintindihan natin ang pinagmumulan ng panawagang ito. Ngunit kailangan din nating balansehin ang interes ng iba pang stakeholders.

We cannot rush our deliberations on such a crucial measure,” Nograles said.

“Kaunting pasensiya pa po, para masiguro natin na ang ipapasa nating batas ay tunay na makakaresolba ng problemang hinaharap ng ating mga manggagawa,” the lawmaker said.

Lee has urged the national government to “continue investing heavily” in agriculture to help farmers.

“Maraming kailangang gawin upang maayos ang agrikultura. But all these measures point to one thing—that the government needs to continue investing heavily to make the sector vibrant,” Lee said. “With improved agriculture, we also improve the livelihood of our farmers and other producers and help them escape the cycle of poverty.”

The lawmaker noted that urgent action is needed to help farmers and fisherfolk, who continue to belong to the poorest sectors of society, have a better quality of life.

According to the 2021 poverty statistics released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), fisherfolk had the highest poverty incidence of 30.6 percent, followed by farmers with 30 percent.

For his part, Villafuerte sought swift congressional action on measures designed to better protect and provide more benefits to millions of Filipino workers in the maritime, teaching, media, and show business (showbiz) professions.

Villafuerte, president of the National Unity Party (NUP), called on senators to consider passing after the March 25 to May 7 legislative breaks the Senate versions of House-approved measures providing labor protection to seafarers in both foreign-flagged and Philippine-registered vessels, better working conditions plus more job-related benefits for journalists and showbiz folk, and allowing all government workers to retire early when they reach the age of 56.

He likewise appealed to the House to consider passing after the break two bills raising the take-home pay and institutionalizing the classroom supply allowance to our public schoolteachers.

“This is an appeal on the occasion of this week’s annual celebration of Labor Day to our senators to consider the passage of at least four measures that have already been passed by the House of Representatives, in a bid to ensure better conditions in the workplace for our seafarers, public schoolteachers, showbiz folk and journalists,” Villafuerte said.

“I am likewise hoping that the House could give priority attention after the break to a measure bumping up the salaries and making permanent an allowance for the teaching supplies of our 800,000 public schoolteachers,” he added.

A former Camarines Sur governor, Villafuerte hoped the Senate could tackle the four bills for the benefit of seafarers, government employees, and media and showbiz workers, and the House could work on the teacher-friendly bill when Congress reopens on May 8.

Villafuerte had authored these five bills with fellow Camarines Sur Reps. Luis Miguel Villafuerte and Tsuyoshi Anthony Horibata and the Bicol Saro Party-list.