President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has approved an executive order creating an inter-agency committee to strengthen the coordination and facilitate the resolution of labor cases.
Executive Order No. 23, signed by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin on April 30, 2023, also reinforces and protects the freedom of association and right to organize of workers.
Ahead of the observance of Labor Day today, President Marcos told Filipino workers on Sunday not to lose courage, diligence, and hope despite the challenges in life.
The President acknowledged the hardships confronting the workers, such as unemployment, rising price of commodities, and having no access togovernment benefits.
But he promised that his administration would give priority to the protection of workers.
The EO noted concerns of various groups on the Philippines’ implementation of ILO (International Labor Organization) Convention No. 87, “in view of reported incidents of acts of violence, extra-judicial killings, harassment, suppression of trade union rights and red-tagging allegedly perpetrated by state agents, targeting in particular, certain trade unions and workers’ organizations.”
“At the 108th session of the International Labor Conference (ILC) in June 2019, a high-level tripartite mission (HLTM) was created to inquire into the aforementioned reported incidents in the purpose of assisting the Philippine government in taking immediate and effective action on the following specific areas: (i) measures to preventviolence in relation to the exercise of legitimate activities by workers’ organizations;
“(ii) investigation of allegations of violence against members of workers’ organizations with a view of establishing the facts, determining culpability and punishing the perpetrators; (iii) operationalization of monitoring bodies; and (iv) measures to ensure that all workers, without distinction, are able to form and join organizations of their choosing, in accordance to ILO Convention No. 87,” the EO added.
The EO said the Inter-Agency Committee for the Protection of theFreedom of Association and Right to Organize of Workers will bechaired by the executive secretary while the secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will be its vice chair.
The members of the Inter-Agency panel will be the Department of Justice, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of National Defense, Department of Trade and Industry, National Security Council and the Philippine National Police.
“When necessary, the Inter-Agency Committee may request the attendanceor participation of other relevant agencies, such as the Civil Service Commission and the Commission of Human Rights,” the EO said.
The functions of the Inter-Agency Committee include the consolidationand evaluation of all comprehensive reports, which contain findings and recommendations by concerned agencies to be submitted to the President; and developing a roadmap containing the priority areas of action, tangible deliverables, clear responsibilities, and appropriate timeframes, consistent with the recommendations of the HLTM.
“The roadmap shall be subject to regular review and should consider the consolidated reports and recommendations from the concerned agencies and inputs from other relevant stakeholders,” the EO said.
He also instructed state agencies to remain steadfast in improving their various programs to sustain the access to employment and improvement of workers’ employability and productivity.
The DOLE said it would be distributing over P1.8 billion in wages and livelihood assistance on May 1 to over 313,000 workers in a nationwide simultaneous awarding ceremony in celebration of Labor Day.
The amount includes the wages of informal sector workers employed under the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program, livelihood assistance to vulnerable and marginalized workers under the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program
(DILP) or Kabuhayan Program, stipends of government interns under the DOLE-Government Internship Program (GIP), and salaries of young workers under the Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES).
These are among the labor department’s various programs in support of the government’s efforts “to reinvigorate job creation and accelerate poverty reduction by steering the economy back on a high-growth path.”
Under TUPAD, a total of 267,665 beneficiaries will receive their wages amounting to P1.33 billion; under DILP a total of 26,072 beneficiaries will receive livelihood aid amounting to P428 million; under GIP, 10,810 beneficiaries will receive their stipends amounting to P68.32 million; and under SPES, DOLE will distribute its share in the salaries of 8,469 beneficiaries amounting to P40.97 million.
The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) will also distribute starter toolkits to 927 beneficiaries amounting to P4.86 million.
Also on Sunday, the President drew the names of five beneficiaries of government assistance in a raffle for house and lot packages during the 121st Labor Day celebration at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.
The President drew the names of Cipriano Basalio, Ana Lara, May Justine Villarin, Heda Villada, and Deborah Romero, all beneficiaries of the different assistance packages of the DOLE.
Each of them was given the symbolic keys of the socialized house and lot packages by the President.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) has deployed 59,587 police personnel to ensure public safety and peace as the Philippines celebrates Labor Day on Monday.
Newly minted PNP chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda said on Sunday that the deployment of cops would be enough to ensure order and security in all places of engagement as rallies and protests were expected all around the country.
Acorda also urged police officers to observe the policy of maximum tolerance, respect for human rights, and adherence to police operational procedures.
“The PNP will assist in all lawful and peaceful activities in commemoration of Labor Day,” Acorda said.
The PNP said that they have coordinated with other government agencies to guarantee that the celebration will be carried out peacefully.
Meanwhile, Acorda reminded the public to be vigilant and alert at all times, as some groups may take advantage of the situation to foment chaos and violence.
The PNP called on the public to cooperate with the authorities and follow the security protocols in place during the event.
Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, meanwhile, said the economy should generate many decent jobs for workers.
Ahead of Labor Day, Villanueva paid tribute to Filipino workers inside and outside the country for their sacrifices. He also recognized them for their contributions to keep the country’s economy afloat especially during the pandemic.
He emphasized that their endless efforts should be compensated by the government through wages that will be sufficient to cope with their daily expenses.
AGRI party-list Rep. Wilbert T. Lee urged the national government to “continue investing heavily” in agriculture to help farmers.
“Many things need to be done to set agriculture right, but all these measures point to one thing–that the government needs to continue investing heavily to make the sector vibrant,” he said.
“With improved agriculture, we also improve the livelihood of our farmers and other producers and help them escape the cycle of poverty,” Lee said.
The lawmaker noted that urgent action is needed to help farmers and fishermen, who continue to belong to the poorest sectors of society, have a better quality of life.
The 2021 poverty statistics released by the Philippine Statistics Authority, show fishermen had the highest poverty incidence of 30.6 percent, followed by farmers with 30 percent.
The lawmaker said the challenge remains for the government to revitalize agriculture through modernization, which would shift employment towards higher-value jobs like equipment operators and others that use technology.
Government must also seek ways to entice the younger generation to pursue farming to address an impending shortage of farmers.
Also on Sunday, the Department of Transportation said workers can avail themselves of free train rides during selected hours at the Light Rail Transit Line 2 and Metro Rail Transit Line 3 on May 1, in celebration of Labor Day.
DOTr Assistant Secretary for Railways Jorjette B. Aquino said free rides can be had in the following hours:
7:00 am to 9:00 am
5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
7:00 am to 9:00 am
5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
“All you need to present is your company ID or government-issued ID. We welcome workers aged 18 years old and above to enjoy this special treat,” Aquino said.
Free rides at these rail lines were offered following the request of Labor Secretary Bienvenido E. Laguesma to Transportation Secretary Jaime J. Bautista “to pay tribute to the contributions and achievements of the hardworking Filipino workers across the country.” With Vince Lopez