By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Paolo (Bam) Aquino IV on Thursday pushed for the approval of the measure seeking to promote the welfare of military reservists.
Aquino said it is important that the government promote the importance of military reservists as the country faces issues such as disaster preparedness and anti-terrorism drive.
“Now, more than ever, the AFP needs a dedicated, experienced and sophisticated reserve force – comparable to the Reserve Forces of other great nations,” said Aquino.
Aquino is co-sponsor and co-author of Senate Bill No. 1698 or the proposed Reservist Employment Rights Act. Sen. Joel Villanueva, chair of the Senate committee on labor and employment earlier sponsored the bill’s Committee Report No. 242.
The senator said some of the country’s reservists are actually entrepreneurs, I.T. professionals, teachers, doctors, lawyers, nurses, sales agents, security guards and employees of different government agencies.
But some of them are in danger of losing their jobs while doing great service to the country.
“While they risk their lives for the country, they are at risk of losing their livelihood, which should not be the case,” he said.
The bill seeks to ensure proper training and compensation for reservists, on top of protection from discrimination in job hiring, reintegration, promotion, or any benefit of employment.
The measure also aims to protect reservists who suffer any injury or disability during their service, ensuring their reintegration to the civilian work force, as long as they can perform the essential function of their original employment.
“We must pass this measure to guarantee that at the end of their required military service, reservists will be reinstated to their civilian careers, and to an equivalent position without loss of seniority or decreased pay,” Aquino said.
“Our reservists chose to put their lives on the line for our safety and security. We owe it to them to professionalize the Reserve Force and assure them their employment rights,” he stressed.