MANILA (Mabuhay) – Two lawmakers have proposed to establish an employment assistance program to help jobseekers from poor communities.
Reps. Christopher S. Co (Party-list, Ako Bicol) and Rodel M. Batocabe (Party-list, Ako Bicol) filed House Bill 4333, which seeks to create the Rural Employment Assistance Program for the benefit of qualified head of family or single adult member of poor households in the rural areas.
Co said the proposed measure is patterned after the National Employment Guarantee Act, 2005, which was enacted by the Parliament of India.
He said under the National Employment Guarantee Act of India, every household whose adult member volunteered to do unskilled manual work is guaranteed employment of not less than 100 days in every year.
“Under that same law, if the adult member is not provided with employment within 15 days from receipt of his application for employment, the adult member shall be entitled to a daily unemployment allowance,” Co explained.
For his part, Batocabe said the Rural Employment Assistance Program, however, is aimed at providing temporary employment to qualified heads of family or single adult members of poor households who volunteer to do unskilled manual work in rural areas where they reside.
He further said that the program is similar to the Cash for Work Program, one of the sustainable livelihood programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
“Under the bill, the program will be implemented by the DSWD in coordination with the local government units (LGUs) for a period of five years,” Batocabe said.
The measure defines rural areas as barangays, which have a population size of less than 5,000. Barangays, which do not have an establishment with 100 or more employees, of five or more establishments with a minimum of 10 employees, or five or more facilities within the two-kilometer radius from the barangay hall, are also classified as rural areas.
Poor household refers to members of a family related to each other by blood, marriage or adoption and normally residing and sharing meals together and who are identified by the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) of the DSWD.
The bill mandates the DSWD to take charge of evaluating the qualified head of family or single adult member of poor households who volunteers to do unskilled manual work for a period of 60 days in a year.
The LGUs, on the other hand, is directed under the measure to provide the works or activities where the qualified head of family or single adult member of poor households can be employed.
These activities or works include construction or repair of health stations, hospitals, schools and day care centers; river dredging; communal gardening; mangrove and tree planting or reforestation as well as communal farm preparation and planting, among others.
The qualified head of family or single adult member of poor households is entitled to a wage rate of not less than 75 percent of the prevailing minimum wage set by the National Wages and Productivity Commission.
The party-list solons said the bill is designed to make the rural poor productive in order to uplift their lives and their families as well as spur economic growth in their communities. (MNS)