Senate passage of magna carta bill for BHWs pushed


A labor group on Thursday said it would push for the passage of the landmark comprehensive legislation granting Barangay Health Workers (BHW) better working conditions.

In a news statement, UNI Global Union-Philippine Liaison Council (UNI-PLC) President Roland de la Cruz said House Bill 6557 or the Magna Carta of Barangay Health Workers would provide BHWs much-needed protection from abuse as well as occupational hazards.

The bill provides hazard, transportation, and subsistence allowances to BHW.

It also provides them health benefits, insurance coverage, vacation and maternity leave benefits, cash gifts, disability pay and will confer a first grade Civil Service Eligibility for Barangay Health Workers who have rendered at least five years of continued service.

HB 6557 also mandates the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the local government units to establish a grievance mechanism to address complaints regarding acts of discrimination and unjust removal of BHWs from the service.

If passed into law, De la Cruz said the legislation will help BHWs transition from the informal sector to the formal sector.

The labor leader noted the country owes BHWs such benefits, especially for their invaluable contributions in the country’s pandemic response.

He noted many BHWs were forced to provide aid to Covid-19 patients despite lacking inadequate personal protective equipment such as face masks, gloves and protective suits at the height of the pandemic.

“We will push hard, time is of the essence. We need to give back our much appreciation to our heroes, our barangay health workers who deserve social protection, social dialogue, security of tenure and freedom of association,” De la Cruz said.

The House of Representatives approved on third and final House Bill 6557 last December 12. The Senate, however, has yet to complete its version of the said legislation.

The Magna Carta of Barangay Health Workers bill is among the priority bills of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council.