Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has filed a measure creating the Magna Carta for Child Development Workers (CDWs) by providing them security of tenure and social protection in times of unforeseen contingencies such as sickness, disability or retirement.
De Lima, who chairs the Senate social justice, welfare and rural development committee, filed Senate Bill No. 1894 which seeks to institute the Magna Carta for CDWs in recognition to the important role they play in shaping the minds of Filipino children.
“With millions of our youth dependent on them, it is high time for government to recognize their important role in society and grant them as much support as possible to ensure that they are cared for the way they care for our young,” she said.
Based on official figures, there are about 49,568 child development workers who are taking care of about 1.7 million young children. Incidentally, there are only 7,000 out of 41,000 barangays which do not have child development centers across the country.
The Senator from Bicol pointed out that the government should be able to provide an additional compensation and allowances package that would encourage more CDWs especially in the rural and urban areas in the country.
“These workers, exercising special parental authority over children under their care, play a crucial role in the development of the minds of these children, thereby requiring a commensurate response from government in ensuring that their work conditions are ideal and their needs are met,” she said.
Under her proposed measure, De Lima said CDWs should be provided with overtime pay, hazard allowance, subsistence allowance, free legal services, free medical examination and treatment, and access to livelihood, loans, and grants.
She also batted for CDWs to have access to continuing education, skills training and other knowledge enhancement programs that would be equivalent to formal or academic training units.
On SB No. 1894, De Lima likewise regarded the importance of security of tenure in child development centers, proposing that at least one CDW I and one CDW II plantilla positions shall be created in all child development centers nationwide.
“As plantilla positions holders, child development workers duly appointed shall be protected and governed by civil service rules and regulations. No child development worker shall be removed or transferred from office without [d]ue process,” she said.
The measure also proposes to create a Special Personnel Selection Board which is tasked to ensure that qualified CDWs are assigned in the child development centers all over the country.
Last May, De Lima has also filed Senate Bill No. 1793 which seeks to provide additional benefits to public health workers, especially for those who are assigned to difficult and strife-torn areas, distressed stations, prison camps, or areas declared under state of calamity or emergency.