Feb 3, 2014

Social protection, unemployment insurance for Filipinos – ILO, TUCP Partylist

DAVAO City – In a public forum dubbed “Sustainable and Dignified Living for All” organized by the Trade Union Congress Party (TUCP Party List) at ALU Hotel in Davao City today, Mr. Jeff Lawrence Johnson, the country Director for the Philippines of the International Labor Organization (ILO) stressed the importance of having protection of workers against continuing global economic crisis resulting in high global unemployment and increasing threats to lives and livelihoods posed by climate change.

Mr. Johnson said that unemployment is a problem, but the real problem now especially in the Philippines is vulnerable employment.

As of 2013, unemployment rate in the Philippines stood at seven percent (7%) while the gross domestic product (GDP) remained high at around seven percent (7%).

“It is good news that the Philippines still has strong economic growth, but how is this translated to the people. The real challenge for the Philippines is how to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth,” added ILO’s Johnson.

Forty percent (40%) of those with employment are in vulnerable jobs – lowly paid, family workers are unpaid, without security of tenure. ‘The income gap has to be addressed,” remarked Mr. Johnson.

“Social protection such as unemployment insurance will reduce the problems some of the major problems currently faced by the government. If Vietnam can implement unemployment insurance, I see there is no reason the Philippines can’t do it. The challenge for the Congress of the Philippines is how to pass a legislation on unemployment insurance,” said the ILO-Philippines country director.

Responding to Mr. Johnson and speaking before the media and leaders of labor federations in Mindanao, Visayas and Mindanao, TUCP Party –List Raymond Democrito Mendoza committed to file a bill that will mandate guaranteeing unemployment insurance to everyone.

The solon said that the House bill on unemployment insurance that he will file will be in addition to the bill that he co-authors which promotes the welfare of workers in the informal sector – the Magna Carta for Workers in the Informal Economy (MCWIE). The The Committee on Labor and Employment of the House of Representatives conducted its first hearing on the bill on January 22.

In the recently concluded General Assembly of TUCP-Partylist in Davao City on February 3, the Party highlighted the problems of poverty, inequality, and the increasing number of those in precarious jobs in the country.

TheTUCP Partylist Agenda in the next two years will be geared towards realization of quality well-being and life of dignity for everyone. This includes advocacies that promote the interest and welfare of workers, consumers, and other basic sectors of the society on urgent issues such as security of tenure and jobs, stopping contractualization of workers, and pushing for living wage. The Party list shall also pursue steps in the next two years towards expansion and institutionalization of social protection programs which include job guarantee, unemployment insurance, and universal access to social services such as healthcare, water, and electricity.

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