Congresswoman willing to lobby for passage of Magna Carta of BHWs to senators

Published December 10, 2022, 11:00 AM

by Raymund Antonio

After the House of Representatives passed on second reading the proposed Magna Carta of Barangay Health Workers (BHWs), BHW Party-list Rep. Angelica Natasha Co on Saturday, Dec. 10, vowed to lobby to “each and every Senator” the quick passage of the bill.

Senate of the Philippines’ plenary hall (Senate PRIB)

The Senate, according to the congresswoman, has yet to draft a consolidated substitute bill as counterpart measure to the proposed Magna Carta of BHWs in the lower chamber.

“The greater challenge now in the path ahead of the proposed Magna Carta for Barangay Health Workers is to ensure full support among the Senators,” Co said in a statement.

“Once the proposed BHW Magna Carta is approved on the third and final reading in the House of Representatives, I will lobby each and every Senator to integrate the BHW Party-list’s flagship bill into the Senate version yet to be developed in their chamber,” she added.

The proposed measure has been gaining traction in the lower chamber.

On Dec. 5, the House Committee on Ways and Means approved the tax provisions of the substitute bill consolidating proposed measures for the Magna Carta of BHWs.

READ: Magna Carta for Barangay Health Workers hurdles House panel

The bill, which was referred by the mother committee—the House Committee on Local Government—aims to provide protection to BHWs, as well as open opportunities for career growth. It was later designated as House Bill (HB) No.6557 and was approved on second reading by the House plenary.

In the Senate, there are at least 14 bills focused on BHWs, but Co stressed the importance of securing the upper chamber’s support to see the law come into fruition.

“If the Senate integrates the House version into their consolidated Senate bill, that would be the best-case scenario for our cause,” the lawmaker explained, because “It would hasten the process because if the House version is infused into the Senate version, there may be no need for a bicameral conference. After all, there would be nothing to reconcile and so the bill skips ahead to ratification by both chambers.”

The lawmaker has been one of the principal authors of the proposed measure since the 18th Congress.

READ: House approves proposed Magna Carta for BHWs on 2nd reading

The proposed Magna Carta of BHWs was unable to gain traction in the Senate during the 18th Congress “for lack of material time and because of the higher priority given to pandemic response measures and economic reforms”.

“The legislative conditions are improved now, so our focus will be on convincing the Senators to support our bill and ensure its smooth sailing in the Senate,” she said.