Labor leaders and Cabinet Secretaries met in Malacañang on 29 April 2014 for a Pre-Labor Day Dialogue with the President in line with the continuing effort to strengthen the social dialogue mechanism in the country.
The Cabinet Secretaries namely, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, and Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla, along with BIR Commissioner Kim Henares and CSC Chairman Eduardo Duque, presented their respective agency’s responses on the eight (8) issues previously raised by the labor groups on extra-judicial killings, tax concerns, agro-industrial plan, high cost of power, security of tenure, regular dialogue with the President, ratification of ILO Convention 151 (Labor Relations in the Public Service), and Yolanda job-led recovery.
Cong. Michael Mendoza of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), Atty. Allan Montaño of the Federation of Free Workers (FFW), Dave Diwa of the Lakas Manggagawa Labor Center (LMLC), and Annie Geron of the Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK) represented the Labor Sector in responding to the presentations of the government agency heads, reiterating the need for concrete government action and emphasizing that the next round of dialogue will focus on government efforts in ensuring inclusive growth.
“Mahal na Pangulo, hinihiling po ng Labor Sector ang patuloy na makabuluhang dayalogo para po maresolba po itong mga bagong issues na kanila pong hinihiling. Sila po ay nag-ooffer ng strong and genuine partnership sa gobyerno para po sa way forward at nang kaaga-agad pong magkaroon ng solusyon sa mga isyu pong ito”, Secretary Baldoz recapped the earlier exchange of presentations and responses to brief the President who arrived for the second part of the Dialogue.
President Aquino dispensed with his scheduled speech in aid of a real dialogue with the labor leaders. He encouraged questions from the labor representatives and replied to them outright.
“Kalimutan na natin itong talumpati, diretso na tayo doon sa dialogue. Mas importante namang nakikinig yata ako sa inyo”, the President said.
Among the directives of the President resulting from the dialogue include the development of a mechanism for the determination of labor sector representatives in various fora and task forces, coming up with a consensus on the issue of taxation, survey of all government agencies to verify existing job order and contract of service personnel, and submission of a status report on the National Collective Negotiation Agreement before the end of May.
“One month nasa inyo na ‘yung sagot on a point-by-point basis”, the President committed to the labor sector.
Labor leaders expressed appreciation to the effort of the President to engage them in a spontaneous exchange in a free manner and hoped for similar non-ceremonious arrangements in the future.
“Now, I think kaya nating subukang maghanap ng compromise, but only if meron tayong ganitong candid na diskusyon na sa tingin namin ay mas maganda kaysa doon sa mga medyo scripted na mga pag-uusap”, said Mr. Josua Mata of APL-NAGKAISA.
The labor leaders in the dialogue were mostly members of the Tripartite Industrial Peace Council and the Tripartite Executive Committee (TEC).