To help the rural poor become economically productive, two partylist lawmakers have filed a measure seeking to provide temporary employment to qualified heads of families and single adults in impoverished households.
Representatives Christopher Co and Rodel Batocabe (AKO Bicol, partylist) said their House Bill 4333 is similar to a cash-for-work program, but focused on rural areas to help single adult members and heads of families of poor households earn income by doing unskilled manual labor.
AKO Bicol is a partylist ally of the National Unity Party (NUP) under the Coalition for Peace and Development.
Co said their proposal is patterned after the National Employment Guarantee Act of India, where every household whose adult member volunteer to do unskilled manual work is guaranteed employment of not less than 100 days in every year.
"Under the bill, our own version of the work assistance program will be implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in coordination with the local government units (LGUs) for a period of five years," Batocabe said.
The measure defines rural areas as barangays that have a population size of less than 5,000.
Barangays that do not have a commercial establishment with 100 or more employees, that have five or more establishments with a minimum of 10 employees, or five or more facilities within the two-kilometer radius from the barangay hall, are also classified as rural areas under HB 4333, Batocabe said.
The measure tasks the DSWD to evaluate the qualified head of family or single adult member who volunteer to do unskilled manual work for a period of 60 days a year. The LGUs, in turn, wil have to provide the jobs for the qualified household members under the measure.
These jobs include construction or repair of health stations, hospitals, schools and daycare centers; river dredging; communal gardening; mangrove and tree planting or reforestation as well as communal farm preparation and planting, among others.
The qualified head of family or single adult member of poor households is entitled to a wage rate of not less than 75 percent of the prevailing minimum wage set by the National Wages and Productivity Commission, the bill states.