THE unemployment problem in rural areas in the country may soon be addressed if the Senate immediately acts on the Rural Employment Assistance Program bill still pending at the committee level.
Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, the author of Senate Bill (SB) 947, or “An Act Providing for Rural Employment Assistance Program and Appropriating Funds thereof,” or REAP, is calling on his fellow senators to cross party lines and support the measure.
Angara’s bill has remained pending at the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development headed by Sen. Nancy Binay since August 2016 and not a single committee hearing has been conducted.
SB 947, according to the senator, will provide employment to jobless workers in rural areas that could also help spur economic growth.
Under Section 3 of SB 947, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, in coordination with local government units, shall establish REAP to create employment, for a minimum of 45 days, or a maximum of 90 days in every calendar year.
Jobs will be opened for qualified family heads or unmarried single adult members of qualified poor households in rural areas who volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
As defined in the bill, a “rural area” refers to a barangay (village), which has a population of fewer than 2,500 and which does not have any business establishment with 25 or more employees, or 5 or more establishments with a minimum of 10 employees, or five facilities within a two-kilometer radius from the barangay hall.
Qualified individuals will be employed in projects that include development, rebuilding and rehabilitation of agri-business livelihood assets destroyed or lost because of natural disasters.