By Zaldy De Layola

INFORMAL WORKERS. Street vendors are among those who will benefit from a measure that proposes the creation of the Magna Carta of Workers in the Informal Economy once it is enacted into law.  At least 11 bills are being consolidated in the House of Representatives that will push the measure.  (PNA file photo)

MANILA– House Committee on Labor and Employment chair and Rizal 4th District Rep. Fidel Nograles on Sunday vowed to consolidate 11 bills that are all pushing for the creation of the Magna Carta of Workers in the Informal Economy.

“We see the need for the Magna Carta for informal workers, who are growing in number as a result of the pandemic,” Nograles said in a press statement.

“Panahon na para paigtingin ang proteksyon at isulong ang mga karapatan nila, at makakaasa po ang ating mga kababayan na tututukan ng komite ang pagpasa nito (Now is the time to improve the protection and push for the rights, and they can rest assured that (our) committee is seriously working for the passage of this measure),” he added.

The committee, he said, started its deliberations last week to consolidate all the 11 bills proposing the Magna Carta of Workers in the Informal Economy (Macwie).

Macwie covers various issues concerning labor rights, proper working conditions, and benefits, access to resources like credit facilities and capacity-building training, and decent wages, among others.

Data from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) shows that 36.2 percent of the total 47 million employed Filipinos, or 17 million workers, are from the informal sector.

These include self-employed workers such as ambulant vendors, small transport workers, construction workers, and unpaid family members who help in micro businesses of their families, and farmers.

Nograles said since there is still no law that recognizes their rights, many informal workers suffer from various kinds of abuses in the workplace.

“Dahil wala silang mga pormal na dokumento para patunayan na sila’y empleyado, walang mga benepisyong natatanggap ang mga informal workers, at hirap rin silang hingin ang tulong ng pamahalaan kung sila’y naaabuso (Because they do not have formal documents to prove employment, no benefits are being received by them, and it’s hard for them to seek assistance from the government if they are abused),” he said.

“Kung mapapasa natin ang Magna Carta, masasaklaw ang mga informal workers sa mga social protection programs at mabibigyan ng mga benepisyo kagaya ng maternity benefits. Ginagarantiya rin nito na hindi basta-basta mapapalayas ang mga informal workers sa mga lugar na pinagtatrabahuhan nila (If we succeed to pass the Magna Carta, then they will be covered by social protection programs and will entitled to receive benefits, like maternity benefits. It will also guarantee that informal workers cannot be simply dismissed or terminated from their job),” he added. (PNA)