A lawmaker has proposed a bill assuring the rights of agricultural development workers towards achieving food security and self-sufficiency by improving their living and working conditions and terms of employment.
Rep. Ma. Lourdes Acosta-Alba (1st District, Bukidnon) filed House Bill 4141, or the “Magna Carta of Agricultural Development Workers,” to establish the agricultural development workers’ rights and provide a mechanism for career development.
“The agricultural workers play a vital role in the development and modernization of the Philippine agriculture. They also provide the necessary assistance and professional services to the farmers and fisher folks in managing the farms for increased farm profitability and productivity,” said Acosta-Alba in pushing for the bill.
The Magna Carta should cover all who are engaged in agricultural development activities, Department of Agriculture (DA) employees including its bureaus and attached agencies, Local Government Units (LGUs), State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), concerned private and government institutions regardless of the employment status.
Appropriate civil service eligibilities, professional license and required education shall also be part of the qualification as an agricultural worker.
Under the bill, the provision of employment opportunities and career development are guaranteed through educational institutions, registered and licensed by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) and certified by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda).
Acosta-Alba also added that an agricultural development worker should not be discriminated by reason of creed, sex, political belief, civil status and ethnic grouping in the exercise of his profession.
Additionally, agricultural development workers shall also have the right to freely join organizations or unions.
The Magna Carta provides the incentives and rewards system, which shall be controlled by honorarium, incentive pay, performance bonus and other incentives that DA and local government may create.
The bill also provides agricultural workers allowances such as hazard pay, clothing and housing allowance, longevity pay, injury compensation and on-call pay.