COTABATO CITY – Lawmakers of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) have approved on final reading a bill seeking to institutionalize policies and advancement of Bangsamoro overseas workers.
BARMM Parliament Member Romeo Sema, the region’s concurrent labor minister, said Friday Parliament Bill No. 36 or the Overseas Bangsamoro Workers Act of 2020 has been approved by the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) legislative body with no objection and abstention.
“The bill also sought to establish a standard of protection and promotion of the welfare of overseas Bangsamoro workers and their families,” said Sema, the principal author of the bill.
Under the bill, overseas Bangsamoro workers (OBW) shall have the right to equality; equal pay; work in a good environment; rest and leisure; standard treatment; and guarantee of privacy.
“This significant achievement shall now be part of the BARMM history,” Sema said.
He said the bill’s approval in the BTA session on Thursday reflects a clear manifestation that the BARMM, through its Ministry of Labor and Employment (MOLE), is committed to protecting its overseas workers against abuses, maltreatment, trafficking, imprisonment, illegal migration, and providing comprehensive intervention and support to advance their welfare including their families.
Sema noted that Article 4, Section 24 of the bill provides that the BARMM government shall allow the deployment of OBWs only in countries where the rights of its overseas workers are protected.
He said the MOLE, in coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and other agencies, will also 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, and submit an inventory of all OBWs in a respective country, their employment status and condition to MOLE,” Sema said.
He said the MOLE 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.
The OBW’s welfare bill has yet to be published and signed by BARMM Chief Minister Ahod “Murad” Ebrahim for its passage into a regional law. (PNA)