CHR to lawmakers: Keep marginalized sectors in mind
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Thursday reminded lawmakers to continue thinking of the vulnerable and marginalized communities and sectors in drafting and approving laws.
CHR said this after lauding the Senate for approving on final reading bills that seek to combat human trafficking, grant additional benefits to health care workers, as well as protect the rights and welfare of foundlings.
“CHR looks forward to the passage of these bills into laws. We urge our lawmakers—from the House of Representatives and Senate alike—to keep in mind the lot of the weak, vulnerable, and marginalized and to continue serving the cause of human rights with their legislative mandate,” said CHR spokesperson Jaqueline De Guia in a statement.
One of the bills CHR was referring to was Senate Bill No. 2449 or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking Act of 2021, which was approved on third and final reading on Monday.
“The changing dimension of this crime introduced by the Internet and other digital platforms makes it imperative that we allow policies curbing human trafficking to equally cope with the times,” said De Guia.
“Making it as an aggravating circumstance in the commission of the crime to lure individuals into human trafficking during crises, such as the pandemic, disasters, humanitarian conflict, and/or any similar emergency situation, further protects the vulnerable from this abusive and degrading practice of treating persons as commodities,” she added.
Apart from this, CHR also recognized Senate Bill No. 2233 or the proposed Foundling Recognition and Protection Act, which was also approved on third and final reading on Monday.
A foundling refers to an abandoned infant or child whose parents, guardian, or relatives are unknown.
The bill seeks to establish the right of a foundling to government programs and services, such as registration, facilitation of documents for adoption, education, protection, nourishment, care, among others.
“The bill allows foundlings to have a fair shot at a good future by making them eligible to government services, including registration, adoption, education, and care among others,” said De Guia.
The approval of Senate Bill No. 2421 on Monday was also recognized by the CHR.
The bill mandates the granting of COVID-19 benefits and allowances to public and private health workers during the state of national public health emergency amid the pandemic.
“While there are already allowances authorised by the Bayanihan and other related laws, there is a continuing need to progressively improve the welfare of the healthcare sector,” said De Guia.
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