Angara wants government database for informal sector workers

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 10 2020 11:50 AM

Isagani Delos Santos, 39, a taho vendor, walks past a checkpoint along Marcos highway after selling taho around Cainta, Rizal, March 18, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - Sen. Sonny Angara is pushing for the creation of a database for informal sector workers, saying some vendors and other street workers fail to receive aid as they are not included in government records.

Creating a "comprehensive" database for informal sector workers will "provide government agencies a clearer picture of their needs and concerns," Angara said in his Senate Bill No. 1636, known as the Informal Economy Registration and National Database Act.

"The members of the informal economy suffered just as much or even more than their counterparts in the formal economy and yet they missed out on the assistance that was provided by the government," he said in a statement.

Under Angara's bill, informal sector workers are defined as individuals who earn a living but are not sufficiently covered by laws or formal arrangements.

Aside from street vendors, the sector also includes domestic workers, agricultural workers, fisherfolk and employees holding informal jobs in the formal sector.

"They have no job security and do not enjoy any legal protection and benefits even if they are receiving compensation," he said.

But with the creation of a database for informal workers, the government can "provide protection" and ensure that " they receive aid from the government in times of emergencies," he said.

Under Angara's proposal, local governments will be in charge of mounting the registration system, and issue identification cards and record books for all informal sector workers in their jurisdiction.

The record book will list all government services and benefits given to the worker.

The local government will also be tasked to "revalidate" the database's contents every 2 years.

There are about 15.6 million informal sector workers in the Philippines in 2017, Angara said, citing information from labor groups.

In March, President Rodrigo Duterte said that a P200-billion fund should be allocated for programs for informal sector workers while parts of the country is still under community quarantine.