Hontiveros pushes for Magna Carta for workers in informal economy

Published January 6, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Hannah Torregoza

Senator Risa Hontiveros is pushing for the passage of a bill that seeks to protect the dignity of workers in the informal economy sector by providing a Magna Carta for workers, enterprises, and organizations under this category.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros (Senator Risa Hontiveros / Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)
Sen. Risa Hontiveros (Senator Risa Hontiveros / Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)

In filing Senate Bill No. 1221, or the proposed Magna Carta of Workers in the Informal Economy (MACWIE), Hontiveros emphasized the need to ensure the welfare of workers in the informal sector by securing their workplaces and prohibiting demeaning acts against them.

The bill highlights social protection as it seeks to ensure that workers in the informal economy sector will not be evicted from their homes and workplaces without the proper legal grounds.

The measure also prohibits the confiscation of their materials and impounding of their vehicles, such as in the case of tricycle and pedicab drivers, unless these have been used for criminal activities.

Hontiveros said the informal economy “hums with the activities of millions of Filipinos who work tirelessly on sometimes thankless jobs” where they are not regulated or protected by the state.

“However, policy makers and legislators should understand that the informal economy is still a relatively underdeveloped and unexplored avenue for reducing poverty, inequality and unemployment,” Hontiveros said in the explanatory note of the bill. “It is then, in the interest of everybody that workers in the informal economy are protected.”

The senator said the proposed MACWIE aims to establish the formal rights of informal economy workers, particularly their right to security in the workplace and the right to a living wage and equal remuneration.

“Their organization is also secured and workers in the formal economy are encouraged to organize themselves for their mutual benefit and cooperation,” she said.

Under the bill, government agencies and local government units (LGUs) are encouraged to provide safety nets such as conditional cash transfers, cash-for-work, emergency employment schemes, and fee waivers, among others.

She also said the measure focuses on making social insurance universally available to workers in the informal sector.

“Social Security, Pag-Ibig, and PhilHealth shall be made accessible and affordable to them, and the state is enlisted to subsidize the corresponding contribution of employers’ had the informal economy workers been in formal employment,” the lawmaker said.

The proposed law will cover those who own and operate economic units, including self-employed workers, self-employed own-account workers, employers, members of cooperatives, and members of other social and solidarity economy units.

It also covers home-based workers or contributing family workers, employees holding informal jobs in or formal enterprises, workers in unrecognized or unregulated employment relationships, and volunteer, contractual, job orders, and other vulnerable workers in government instrumentalities and agricultural workers or fisherfolk.