House acts on measure to mitigate sudden loss of jobs

Published August 5, 2020, 5:13 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The House Committee on Labor and Employment directed Wednesday (August 5) its sub-panel to convene and conduct “further studies” on a bill seeking to institutionalize a National Unemployment Insurance Program that would provide assistance to workers during periods of unemployment.


1-PACMAN partylist Rep. Enrico Pineda, committee chairman, directed the SubCommittee on Employment, chaired by Baguio lone District Rep. Mark Go to process House Bill No. 7028 or the proposed “Philjobs Act of 2020”, principally authored by Marikina 2nd District Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo. 

“This House bill will be referred to the subcommittee chaired by Congressman Go, together with the House bill that was filed by (Manila Teachers) Congressman (Virgilio) Lacson, also of the same nature,” Pineda said at virtual meeting of the panel.

He instructed Go to consolidate Quimbo’s HB 7028, with Lacson’s House Bill 5701 or the proposed “Unemployment Labor Assurance Mutual (ULAM) Fund Act, and come up with a substitute measure. 

Lacson’s bill seeks to mandate private business enterprises to contribute and set aside an amount for the benefit of their employees and contractee’s employees.

In her sponsorship speech, Quimbo, an economist, said the current plight of the country’s Filipino workers should prod Congress to immediately act on her unemployment insurance measure, which seeks to protect individuals in times of job loss and provide financial and training support for job search. 

Quimbo said the unemployment benefits being given by the Social Security System and the Government Service Insurance System to their members are not enough.

She noted that as  of July 8, the SSS approved 84.4 million pesos worth of unemployment benefits to aid those affected by COVID. “This is only enough to cover about 7,700 minimum wage workers for 2 months,” she said.

Under HB 7028, a National Unemployment Insurance Program shall be institutionalized. 

Quimbo said her bill will cover all formal sector employees both from private and public sectors, and will also seek to encourage, through incentives, the registration of informal sector workers. 

“Premium contributions to the program shall be progressive, actuarially determined, and equally shared among government, employer, and employee. Basic unemployment benefit payments will be equivalent to 80 percent of the member’s basic pay, for up to three months,” she said.

The House Assistant House Minority Leader said her bill calls for the establishment of the Philippine Job Insurance Corporation (PhilJobs), which is tasked to  administer and manage the program.