PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is pushing for the Magna Carta for Barangay Health Workers (BHWs) as he recognized their vital role in the society.

Marcos said there is a need to uplift the condition of the BHWs who serve as frontliners, especially in times of calamities and disasters.

He made sure that the Magna Carta for BHW becomes a priority measure and he expects there will be no opposition to the bill because of the importance of health workers’ job.

“I’m also happy to say, I was with the PLLO (Presidential Legislative Liaison Office) yesterday (January 26) and kasama na doon sa napasa na na mga batas ay isa doon was the Magna Carta for Barangay Health Workers. Kaya’t malaking bagay ‘yan,” Marcos said in a meeting in Malacañang.

(’m also happy to say, I was with the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office on January 26 and among the laws that have already been passed, one of them was the Magna Carta for Barangay Health Workers. So that’s a big deal.)

“Kami na dumaan sa local government… will never argue with the importance of the barangay health workers and for that matter all the volunteers at the barangay level at ang BHW– siyempre kayo pinakamarami. Lalo na ngayon na maraming sakuna, we know that we can always count on the BHW,” he added.

The President recognized the role played by the BHWs at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, providing services, conducting house-to-house visits and deciding who among the population have to be sent to hospitals and isolation facilities.

He said the BHWs also serves as an important source of information for the national government in its policy decisions.

“At kaya’t para naman magkaroon kami ng magandang decision sa national level ay kailangan pa rin namin ng tulong ng BHW,” said Marcos.

(And so in order for us to make a good decision at the national level, we still need the help of BHWs.)

“I do not know how the government will function without the barangay health workers, without the lupon, without the daycare center workers, lahat ng volunteer workers natin. ‘Yun ang inaasahan talaga ng pamahalaan, ang mga volunteers na tumutulong sa gobyerno at nagdadala ng serbisyo sa gobyerno,” he added.

The Magna Carta for Barangay Health Workers is one of the House bills under the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac) approved on third reading at the House of Representatives.

Once enacted, accredited BHWs shall be entitled to incentives and benefits that include hazard, transportation and subsistence allowance; one-time retirement cash incentive; health benefits; insurance coverage and benefits; and vacation and maternity leaves and cash gifts.

Meanwhile, Marcos said he was elated by the progress of his priority legislations, which includes the Fiscal Year 2023 General Appropriations Bill, Amendments to Republic Act (RA) No. 11709 (AFP Professionalism), Maharlika Investment Fund, the Mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) and National Service Training Program, which he earlier certified as urgent.

He said these priority legislative measures are essential for his administration’s plans and programs for the country, particularly the 8-point socioeconomic agenda.

As of January 18, Marcos said 10 out of the 20 priority bills mentioned by Marcos during his first State of the Nation Address have been passed by the HOR and have since been submitted to the Senate.

These includes the Tax Package 4: Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation Act (Pifita), Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery (Guide) Bill, Tax Package 3: Real Property Valuation and Assessment Reform Act (HB No. 6558), Internet Transaction Act or the E-Commerce Law, Condonation of Unpaid Amortization and Interests of Loans of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries, creation of the Medical Reserve Corps, creation of the Philippine Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), creation of the Virology Institute of the Philippines and an amendment to the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law.

The administration is also pushing for the passage of the the Department of Water Resources (DWR) bill, E-Government/Governance Act, Government Rightsizing Program (GRP), National Land Use Act, Budget Modernization, Natural Gas Industry Enabling Law, Epira (RA 9136) Amendments, MUP Pension Reform, and National Defense Act. (SunStar Philippines)