President Rodrigo Duterte has signed two laws that will separately give students discounts on various modes of transportation and assure migrant Filipino workers additional protection through the creation of the Office for the Social Welfare Attaché.
His Republic Act 11314, which was signed on April 17, was only released by the Palace on Monday, and it mandates that students will be entitled to a 20-percent discount on domestic regular fares.
This law covers all kinds of public transportation such as buses, jeepneys, taxis, and other similar vehicles for hire, tricycles, passenger trains, and marine vessels for the entire time that they are enrolled. In the case of air public transportation, however, the discount will only apply to the base fare.
To avail themselves of the discount, students should be able to present a duly-issued and validated identification card or current validated enrollment form supported by proof of identity.
The law is for Filipino students who are currently enrolled in any elementary, secondary, technical and vocational or higher education institution.
On the other hand, individuals who are enrolled in dancing or driving schools, short-term courses of seminar-type and post-graduate studies such as those taking up medicine, law, masters and doctorate degrees are excluded from the coverage of the discount privilege.
The law also stresses that qualified students cannot avail themselves of double discounts, meaning the student cannot avail themselves of the 20-percent student fare discount and the promotional fare imposed by private entities simultaneously.
Meanwhile, in order to provide adequate, economic and legal services to Filipino migrant workers, especially those who are victims of illegal recruitment, President Duterte has sought the creation of the OSWA.
Republic Act 11299, released by the Palace on Monday, amended Republic Act 8042 or the “Migrant Workers Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995” to include that office.
The new law requires the Department of Social Welfare and Development to deploy social welfare attachés in countries with a large concentration of Filipino workers.
The law mandates the new office to manage cases of distressed workers, undertake surveys on their situation, establish a network of overseas-based social welfare agencies, and respond and monitor the complaints or queries of the workers and their families.
The social attaché is also expected to establish and maintain a data bank of migrant workers, submit regular reports to Social Welfare and the Department of Foreign Affairs, provide information about Social Welfare and its services, and perform other related functions in the delivery of social services.
The new office will also give priority to the migrant workers’ psychosocial needs, especially those who are victims of illegal recruitment or trafficking, rape or sexual abuse, maltreatment and other forms of abuse.