May 24, 2024

Councilors Leandro Yangot Jr. and Rocky Aliping are pushing for an ordinance providing discounts and incentives to migrant workers and their families in the city.

They said migrant workers are modern-day heroes due to their significant role in boosting the national economy through their foreign remittances and through their sacrifices including enduring emotional challenges, such as homesickness and loneliness, as well as the mental and physical strains of prolonged separation from their loved ones while working abroad.

In appreciation of migrant workers’ contributions and to demonstrate solidarity with their struggles, the proposed ordinance seeks to enhance the purchasing power of the migrant workers’ earnings abroad, considering the rising cost of living in the country.

Once approved, the ordinance will apply to Filipino migrant workers, whether land-based or sea-based, who are residents of Baguio City.

The Public Employment Service Office (PESO), which acts as the lead implementing office, will collaborate with various local government agencies and non-government organizations to ensure effective implementation. It will also coordinate with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration for the identification of active and documented migrant workers.

The PESO will assess the qualifications of applicants and, upon confirmation of eligibility, issue the Migrant Worker’s Compensation Package and Privileges and Benefits (MWCPPB) identification card which will serve as proof of the migrant worker’s entitlement to benefits and privileges.

Under the proposed ordinance, business owners interested in becoming partner establishments must submit an application to the City Social and Welfare Development Office.

Partner establishments are then mandated to provide discounts ranging from five to 10 percent or higher, or other incentives, on purchases or services for eligible migrant workers and their immediate family members. These discounts are applicable upon presentation of the MCWCPPB ID card or other required documents.

The partner establishments must submit periodic reports to the PESO detailing the purchases made by migrant workers and their families and the discounts provided to them. The reports can lead to the partner establishment being prioritized in renewal of its business operation permit.

The proposed ordinance also contains a provision that outlines a comprehensive package of programs and services available to eligible migrant workers and their families. This includes livelihood, self-employment, and skills development services; employment and reintegration services; health education services; housing services; and paralegal services.

The proposed ordinance states that eligibility for these services is based on income criteria, specifically if the migrant worker’s income falls below the poverty threshold set by the National Economic Development Authority and is subject to assessment by PESO workers in the area.

Priority accommodation is provided to qualified migrant workers when accessing services from designated agencies, with a priority lane established for quicker service. Additionally, upon presentation of the MWCPPB ID card, they and their families are entitled to incentives and privileges such as queuing in the priority lane, free movie tickets, and other discounts or benefits that partner establishments may offer.

Through the ordinance, an executive committee will be established to develop the necessary implementing rules and regulations that will provide detailed guidelines for the execution of the ordinance. The committee will be led by the chairperson of the city council committee on livelihood, employment, and cooperatives. The committee members will include representatives from various key offices.

The ordinance will also mandate all barangays to establish a committee on migrant worker’s affairs in collaboration with the OWWA to organize the families of migrant workers within their respective barangays and facilitate the proper and effective dissemination of programs and services available to them.

The proposed ordinance has been approved on first reading and referred to the committee on appropriations and finance cluster A for review. – Jordan G. Habbiling