Press Release
July 22, 2023

Bong Go pushes enhanced gov't interventions to protect ordinary workers' welfare

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go has proposed several bills aimed at creating a better and more equitable environment for employees in various sectors as part of his commitment to protect the welfare of Filipino workers.

These bills include the Magna Carta of Seafarers, the institutionalization of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) hospital in San Fernando City, Pampanga, Greater Accountability from Private Employment Agencies, as well as Additional Divisions in the National Labor Relations Commission.

One of Go's key priorities is the welfare of seafarers, who play a crucial role in the global maritime industry, and are considered as the country's unsung heroes. The proposed Senate Bill No. 1191 or the Magna Carta of Seafarers seeks to strengthen the protection and rights of Filipino seafarers by addressing issues such as fair compensation, adequate healthcare, and improved working conditions.

This bill aims to establish a comprehensive framework that guarantees the welfare of seafarers and acknowledge their significant contributions to the nation's economy. The proposed legislation also recognizes the importance of seafarers' medical care and access to healthcare services, including mental health support.

"Ang ating mga seafarers ang isa sa pinakamalaking numero na bumubuo sa industriya ng mga marino. Of the 1.5 million seafarers worldwide, 25% are Filipino sea-based workers, making them the single biggest nationality bloc in the maritime industry," Go said.

"Nararapat lamang po na pangalagaan natin ang ating mga Pilipinong manggagawa na handang magsakripisyo para sa kanilang pamilya," he added.

Go also continues to champion Senate Bill No. 2297, which seeks to institutionalize the OFW hospital. The proposed bill aims to improve the healthcare of OFWs and their families by strengthening and funding the existing OFW Hospital and Diagnostic Center located in San Fernando City, Pampanga.

Furthermore, his proposed law is dedicated to meeting the healthcare requirements of these modern-day heroes, ensuring them comprehensive medical assistance.

"Ang pagkakaroon ng iisang departamento para sa mga Pilipinong itinuturing nating mga bagong bayani nasaan man sila sa mundo, at ang pagpapatayo ng OFW hospital para sa kanila at kanilang mga pamilya na mayroong Malasakit Center ay iilan lamang sa mga patunay na kapag magtulungan tayo, ang mga pangarap noon ay kayang maisakatuparan na ngayon," Go said who authored and co-sponsored the law creating the Department of Migrant Workers.

"Ngunit hindi dito natatapos ang ating hangaring mapabuti ang serbisyo para sa kanila. Kaya naman ako ay nagsumite ng Senate Bill No. 2297 na naglalayong i-institutionalize ang OFW Hospital na ito upang magkaroon ng sapat na personnel, kagamitan at pondo para masiguro ang patuloy at pangmatagalang operasyon nito," he explained.

Recognizing the importance of private employment agencies in facilitating labor mobility, Go has also proposed SBN 2109 that aims to amend Republic Act No. 10361, otherwise known as the "Batas Kasambahay," which currently provides protection and ensures the rights of domestic workers in the country. By promoting transparency, fair practices, and enhanced oversight, Go's proposed legislation will provide a safer and more conducive environment for both employers and job seekers.

In his pursuit of a more efficient and accessible labor justice system, Go advocates for the establishment of additional divisions within the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) through SBN 1187.

NLRC is a quasi-judicial body attached to the Department of Labor and Employment tasked with promoting and maintaining industrial peace by resolving labor and management disputes involving workers.

The bill seeks to expedite the resolution of labor disputes, reduce the backlog of cases and ensure timely justice for workers by expanding the capacity of the NLRC. The additional divisions will improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the labor dispute resolution process.

SBN 1187 shall amend the relevant provisions of the Labor Code of the Philippines and create an additional division of the NLRC to be established in Davao City. It shall likewise increase the number of commissioners from 23 to 26 as each NLRC division is composed of three members.

By championing these bills, Senator Go envisions a more equitable and just environment for Filipino workers, where their contributions are recognized and their welfare prioritized. It is through such initiatives that the nation can build a strong and resilient workforce, driving economic growth and fostering social development.

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