By Daphne Galvez, May 20 2019; Philippine Daily Inquirer

Image Credit to Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Sherwin Gatchalian is seeking to amend the Official Development Assistance (ODA) law to require foreign bidders and contract awardees to hire local workers for menial and non-technical jobs.

Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate committee on economic affairs, filed Senate Bill No. 2223, which seeks to protect and promote the interests of ordinary Filipino workers.

He noted that under the existing ODA law, “ordinary Filipino workers are deprived of the opportunity to work and partake in the benefits of the loans that Filipino taxpayers will be paying for.”

“Senate Bill No. 2223 seeks to remedy this by requiring foreign bidders or contract awardees coming from ODA donor countries to employ or hire Filipino workers to perform manual, non-technical, or other analogous labor in carrying out these development projects,” Gatchalian said in a statement on Monday.

Gatchalian said the bill seeks to include in the ODA law the Bureau of Immigration’s (BI) supplemental guidelines for special and provisional work permits for foreign nationals.

In the BI guidelines, foreign nationals should not be given special working permits (SWP) or provisional work permit (PWP) for manual or non-technical labor, including construction workers, cashiers, waiters, janitors, household help, carpenters, garbage collectors, security guards, and warehouse caretakers.

The senator said the proposed measure requires the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of Finance (DOF) to monitor compliance by foreign bidders or contract awardees with Philippine laws, rules, and regulations.

The DOLE shall be required to submit to the congressional oversight committee on the ODA law an annual report detailing the compliance of the winning bidders or awardees, Gatchalian said.

The measure also requires the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) to make public its findings on the social, environmental, and economic impact of ODA-funded projects on its website.

The agency is also mandated to annually publish and update the list of approved projects funded by ODA loans. (Editor: Eden Estopace)