TWO bills seeking to expand government aid to jobless workers amid a coronavirus pandemic have been filed at the Senate.

Senate Bills 1456 and 1836 mandate the government to provide emergency employment programs in times of natural disasters, public health emergencies, wars and armed conflicts.

The Senate labor committee will endorse the measure to the plenary soon, Senator Emmanuel Joel J. Villanueva said in a text message on Sunday. The chamber is on a break from Oct. 17 to Nov. 8.

The Labor department provides emergency employment for 10 to 30 days, depending on the nature of the work. It supports projects in the repair, maintenance or improvement of schools, health centers, farm-to-market roads and bridges, as well as reforestation.

Senate Bill 1456 authored by Mr. Villanueva will extend the employment to as long as 90 days.

Projects that will be eligible for funding are light works such as street sweeping and cleaning of public facilities for up to 15 days; and social community projects such as declogging of canals and debris cleaning for 45 days.

Other social community projects involving minor repairs and maintenance of public utilities may last for 60 days.

Meanwhile, work that seeks to improve government facilities and infrastructure, rehabilitate roads and bridges, tree planting and other field jobs may last up to 90 days.

Senate Bill 1836 authored by Senator Imee R. Marcos also seeks to increase the project duration to 90 days in exceptional cases. — Charmaine A. Tadalan