Bill seeks to uplift status and work conditions of barangay workers

A House member is seeking the betterment of the status and work
conditions of the country’s barangay workers through the passage of
the proposed “Barangay Workers Act” that aims to pursue their rights
and welfare.

Rep. Arthur Defensor, Jr. ( 3rd District, Iloilo), an assistant
majority leader,  said his proposal embodied in House Bill 5441 aims
to institutionalize the status of barangay workers by establishing
their rights and providing for their welfare.

It also aims to provide an administrative development council at the
national and local levels for the formulation and implementation of
policy and regulation in pursuit of the rights and welfare of barangay
workers.

The bill also aims to provide for an organization that shall serve as
a forum for self-determination and empowerment of barangay workers
according to Defensor.

Covered by the bill are barangay health workers, barangay nutrition
scholars, barangay day care workers and the barangay service point
officers who are the frontline government personnel in the delivery of
basic social services in the area of health, nutrition and child care.

At present, Defensor said the employment and service of the barangay
workers are governed at least in part by scattered pieces of
legislation which are rather outdated and not as relevant as may be
desired for more effective and motivated delivery of basic services of
health, nutrition and child care services.

Defensor cited these “scattered pieces” of legislation governing the
barangay health workers include: Republic Act 7883, Barangay Health
Workers Benefits and Incentives Act of 1995; Presidential Decree 1569,
Strengthening the Barangay Nutrition Program by Providing for a
Barangay Nutrition Scholar in Every Barangay, Providing Funds
Therefor, and for Other Purposes; P.D. 1567, Establishing a Day Care
Center in Every Barangay and Appropriating Funds Therefore; and P.D.
79, the Revised Population Act of the Philippines.

The bill provides that the State guarantees the following rights of
barangay workers, namely: security of tenure; right to just
compensation; right to administrative and logistical support for the
effective performance of their functions; right to training for
accreditation under the relevant government programs; right to health
services, including entitlement to full coverage in government health
insurance programs; right to government scholarship of barangay
workers and their legitimate spouses and dependents in state colleges
and universities; and right to organize to protect the barangay
workers’ rights and promote their welfare.

The bill enumerates the powers and functions of the National Barangay
Workers Council (NBWC) which shall include acting as a national
consultative and advisory body to the President of the Philippines and
Congress on matters relating to the barangay health, nutrition, day
care and other related services.

The NBWC shall also formulate and approve policies and regulations on
the employment and functions of the barangay workers in the following
areas: appointment; qualification; compensation; working conditions;
training; and social benefits.

The NBWC shall also review and approve the programs of the local
barangay workers councils, consistent with national development plans.
It shall also call, from time to time, national conferences of
barangay workers, and shall exercise technical and administrative and
operational supervision over the Provincial Barangay Workers Councils.

The NBWC shall be assisted by a secretariat to be headed by an
executive director and two deputy directors who shall be appointed by
the President of the Philippines, upon the recommendation of the
Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government.

The bill also provides for the creation of the Provincial Barangay
Workers Council, the Municipal Barangay Workers Council, the Municipal
Barangay Workers Assembly, the Municipal Barangay Workers Board, the
Provincial Barangay Workers Assembly and the Provincial Barangay
Workers Board.

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