COTABATO CITY – A bill seeking to institutionalize policies for Bangsamoro overseas employment, and establish a standard of protection and promotion of the welfare of overseas Bangsamoro workers and their families, has been approved by the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Parliament.
Through nominal voting on Thursday, June 17, 57 BTA members, both physically and virtually present, approved Parliament Bill No. 36 or the Overseas Bangsamoro Workers Act of 2020. No one voted against nor abstained.
Under the bill, overseas Bangsamoro workers (OBW) shall have the following rights:
- Right to equality. There shall be equal treatment on workers based on race, color, sex, language, religion, political beliefs, and age
- Right to equal Pay. Every OBW shall always get the right amount of pay for the work he/she renders.
- Right to work. Every OBW is entitled to the choice of working for any company, good working environment, and protection from unemployment.
- Right to Rest and Leisure. Each OBW must be assigned a fair amount of working hours per week including periodic holidays with pay.
- Right to Standard Treatment. The employer or any member of the company shall not subject an OBW to any kind of abuse nor inflict any form of physical violence or harassment or any act tending to degrade the dignity of OBWs.
- Guarantee of Privacy. Respect for the privacy of the OBW shall be guaranteed at all times and shall extend to all forms of communication and personal effects. This guarantee equally recognizes that OBW is obliged to render satisfactory service at all times.
“This is a significant achievement that shall be part of history of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao,” said Member of the Parliament and Labor Minister Romeo Sema, the bill’s principal author.
“This is a clear manifestation that the Bangsamoro Government, thru the Ministry of Labor and Employment (MOLE), is strongly committed to protect our overseas Bangsamoro workers against abuses, maltreatment, trafficking, imprisonment, or illegal migration, and provide comprehensive intervention and support to advance their welfare including their families,” Sema added.
Article IV, Section 24 of the bill provides that the Bangsamoro Government shall allow the deployment of OBWs only in countries where the rights of overseas Bangsamoro workers are protected.
Furthermore, the MOLE, in coordination with Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and other agencies, will establish a help desk for OBWs in every Philippine Overseas Labor and Office (POLO) of the country where the worker has been deployed.
The help desk will assist, monitor, make, and submit inventory of all OBWs in respective country, their employment status and condition to MOLE.
The ministry will be responsible for the implementation and enforcement of labor laws to protect and ensure that the rights of OBWs will not be compromised and violated. (Bangsamoro Information Office)
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