P6.5B needed for proposed subsidy on informal workers’ social insurance contribution  

A MEAT vendor at a public market in Manila qualifies as an informal worker based on House Bill 347 or the Magna Carta for Workers in the Informal Economy. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ RUSSELL PALMA

AROUND P6.5 billion in public funds will be needed annually to cover a proposed subsidy for the social insurance contribution of informal sector workers, according to the lawmaker who recommended the provision.   

Rep. Arlene D. Brosas of women’s rights party-list Gabriela said the latest estimate is based on about 17 million Filipinos considered to be working in the informal economy.  

“Last time (it was estimated), it was around the amount of P6.5 billion,” she told BusinessWorld in a Viber message in mixed English and Filipino.   

In a separate text message, she said the number of informal workers should ideally not increase significantly if government can set up programs and policies on sustainable job creation.  

“Supposedly workers in the informal economy do not increase because you have an industry that provides you a job, pays you, and establishes your rights. If more and more people are entering the informal economy, something is wrong with the government’s management,” she said.  

Ms. Brosas made the subsidy recommendation during the House committee meeting on labor and employment on Wednesday, where House Bill 347 or the Magna Carta for Workers in the Informal Economy was tackled.   

She said government can subsidize the monthly contribution of informal workers to the Social Security System (SSS), the state-run insurance program and pension fund for the private sector.  

The lawmaker said her proposal includes “all” informal economy workers in line with the spirit of the proposed law.    

Under House Bill 347, informal economy workers include those who are self-employed, members of cooperatives, non-regular employees, agricultural and fishery workers, and those in legal but “unrecognized or unregulated employment relationships, among others.   

“We are only helping them (informal economy workers) up until the time that they can find a formal work or job,” Ms. Brosas said in Filipino during a Makabayan bloc press conference on Thursday.   

Kabataan Party-list Rep. Raoul Danniel A. Manuel noted in the same press conference that the number of self-employed workers increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz