Press Release
March 12, 2018

Sen. Joel Villanueva's speech on the approval of the Reservist Employment Rights Act

Mr. President, we support Senate Bill No. 1698 or the "Reservist Employment Rights Act" not only because this measure will protect the Reservist's right to work but it will also restore the Filipino brand of patriotism which is - "bayan bago ang sarili".

This phrase, "bayan bago ang sarili", is still relevant today. I believe, Mr. President, that many Filipinos, especially the youth, are driven to serve the nation.

While making a living is definitely something that should come first - to help uplift the economic condition of their families, many would still want to show their worth as Filipinos by joining the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Physicians, engineers, bankers and even IT experts who left their lucrative jobs to serve the AFP even without pay can attest to this observation.

Mr. President, we should also give this opportunity to young professionals and ordinary workers who, of course, cannot give up their jobs or put the welfare of their families or children at stake when duty calls.

Hence, Senate Bill No. 1698 seeks to guarantee the rights of any member of the Reserve Force of the AFP when he or she is called up for service or mobilized and when he or she returns to work.

Karapatan po ng isang reservist na makabalik sa kanyang dating trabaho, makuha ang kanyang mga benepisyo at parehong antas ng sweldo, at magampanan ang kanyang sagradong tungkulin sa bayan.

But this measure is not only about the rights and responsibilities of reservists, it's also about the rights and responsibilities of employers.

Karapatan din naman po ng mga employer na makatanggap ng nakasulat na abiso mula sa AFP tungkol sa mobilisasyon ng kanyang empleyado, makakuha ng kahalili o substitue habang nasa mobilisasyon, training o "Military Duty Leave" ang kanyang empleyadong reservist, at mabigyan ng sapat na impormasyon tungkol sa muling pagbabalik nito sa trabaho.

Mr. President, this bill will also change the way our people view our soldiers or Reservists because it will elevate the issue to the level of our business or public organizations.

As a result, we can also expect more workers and employees to join the AFP Reserve Force Command knowing that they have options when they act for the greater good and their employment rights are guaranteed by our laws.

Muli, Ginoong Pangulo, maraming salamat at pagpalain po tayo ng Panginoong Hesus.

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