Press Release
May 28, 2019

Senator Joel Villanueva

Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, on behalf of the Senate Panel to the Bicameral Conference Committee on the disagreeing provisions of Senate Bill No. 1299 and House Bill No. 8784, I have the honor to report to the body the Bicameral Committee Report on the reconciled bill.

Instead of reading the Joint Explanatory Statement of this Bicameral Report, may I be allowed to present the highlights of the reconciled bill and the Joint Explanation be inserted and considered read into the record.

Mr. President, the ratified bicameral committee report will end the decades-old plight of our hotel-resto workers to get full amount of service fees.

Mr. President, Article 96 of the Labor Code currently sets aside for covered workers only 85% of all service charges collected by hotels, restaurants and similar establishments while the remaining 15% goes to the management.

Napakalaking bagay po ng service charge para sa mga waiter, cook, chef at iba pang covered employees. Noong nasa TESDA pa ako, nakilala ko po si "Jhigz" na Cook sa isang Japanese Resto sa Makati.

Nagsimula pong Line Cook si Jhigz kung saan siya in-charged sa sanitation at cleaning ng kitchen, storage area at chillers. Nang maging Assistant Chef, naging sushi man, butcherer ng salmon at tuna, deep fryer at assigned din sa food costing at inventory making.

Tuwing a-kinse, pagkatanggap n'ya ng pay slip, ang una raw po n'yang tinitingnan ay kung magkano ang nakalagay sa "service charge". Bagamat kalimitang mas malaki pa ang service charge sa basic pay n'ya, alam daw n'ya na deserve nilang makuha ang 100% ng service charge dahil sila naman daw talagang mga rank and file ang nagseserbisyo sa mga customers.

Mr. President, Chef Jhigz is just one of more than 433,000 hotel and restaurant workers[1] who will benefit from this bill if it were enacted into law.

Hence, the Bicameral Conference Committee Report will give 100% of the service charge to covered employees.

As customers, it is clear to us that when we pay service charge, our intention is towards those who served us. We pay service charge to commend an excellent service or as an outright goodwill to the service crew.

For our workers, if they work in conscious awareness of the possibility of gaining something more and above their basic salaries, will they not double their efforts, their customer care and their personal rapport with customers?

On business side, is it not their moral and ethical responsibility to honor the intentionality of the service charges given by customers to their employees? Employers certainly know the business benefit of having well-motivated employees.

In closing, let me also express my goodwill and thanks to our colleagues especially our co-authors, Senator Villar and Senator Zubiri and to all the members of the Committee on Labor, Senator Angara, our Vice-Chairperson, Senator Legarda, Senator Gatchalian, Senator Escudero, Senator Aquino, Senator Ejercito, Senator Pacquiao, Senator Hontiveros, Senator Lacson, and Senate Minority Leader Senator Frank Drilon as well as our counterparts from the House of Representatives for their openness and willingness to support this measure that will create more employment-friendly workplaces not only for the benefit of our workers but also of our employers.

With the aforesaid, Mr. President, I MOVE FOR THE ADOPTION of the Bicameral Conference Committee Report on the Disagreeing Provisions of Senate Bill No. 1299 and House Bill No. 8784.

Thank you very much and God bless us all.

[1] The country has a total of 27,028 hotels and restaurants in the formal sector that employ a combined 433,260 workers (Annual Survey of Business and Industry.)

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