A young lawmaker is pushing for the passage of a measure that would put an end to the exploitation of on-the-job trainees (OJTs) or interns who are hired by private companies and by the government.

Among the key provisions of House Bill No. 5652 or the Interns’ Rights, Welfare, and Benefits Bill filed by Rizal 2nd District Rep. Fidel Nograles is the scrapping of the practice of unpaid work rendered by interns, particularly those training with the government.

A grievance mechanism where interns could air their complaints would also be established, particularly for cases of abuse such as sexual harassment and intimidation.

In his sponsorship speech, Nograles said the bill “promises to secure and protect the interns during the whole duration of their internships.”

The measure would also protect interns from abusive and irrelevant work assignments.

The measure would also protect interns from “abusive and irrelevant work assignments by just working on what is described in their internship contract and following a clearly defined internship plan,” Nograles added.

“Ang panukalang batas na ito ay naglalayong kilalanin ang kontribusyon ng mga OJT  sa mga kumpanyang pinapasukan nila,” the Harvard-trained lawyer said.

Interns, he argued, provide fresh and unique insights that contribute to process improvement, as well as talent in key areas such as technology, yet they are not compensated for such contributions.

“The most that outstanding interns could get at the present system is the promise of employment upon graduation,” Nograles lamented.

The solon relayed that he has had various conversations with students who became disillusioned after their internship because they were assigned tasks that were not related to their course.

Interns provide fresh and unique insights that contribute to process improvement.

“Siguro some of the older generation still see the value in making interns go through tasks such as brewing coffee or acting as messengers. But in this digital age, that seems a massive waste of the talent of the young ones,” said the former law professor.

Nograles expressed hope that with the passage of the bill, the youth would be inspired, instead of turned off, by the workplace.

“Ayusin natin ang sistema. Let’s give the youth something to look forward to,” he said. 


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