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The Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (TIPC) inked its approval to several proposed legislative and policy measures during its plenary meeting on 7 October 2014 at the Occupational Safety and Health Center, Diliman, Quezon City.

In addition to the five (5) priority bills endorsed last year, the TIPC approved two (2) legislative measures governing Philippine Labor and Employment for submission to the 16th Congress.

First is the “Union Registration Bill” or “An Act Further Strengthening Workers’ Right to Self-Organization, Amending for this Purpose Articles 234, 235, 236 and 237 of Presidential Decree No. 442, otherwise known as the Labor Code of the Philippines, As Amended.” This bill seeks to reduce the minimum membership requirement for registration of independent unions from 20% to 10% and reduce the registration requirement for federation from 10 to 5 duly recognized bargaining agent-local chapters.

“The UR Bill seeks to align the Philippine Labor Code on registration requirements for independent unions and labor federations with ILO Convention No. 87 (Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize)”, said Undersecretary Rebecca Chato, Vice-Chair of the TIPC.

Adding to the number of the significant tripartite-endorsed bills is the “Labor Market Test Bill” or “An Act Amending Articles 40, 41 and 42 of the Labor Code of the Philippines, As Amended.” This bill improves the rules on the employment of non-resident foreign nationals by specifying penalty provisions for foreign nationals who shall take up employment in violation of the rules, and making employers liable in the engagement of services of a foreign national without an employment permit. 

The five (5) legislative measures earlier endorsed to the 16th Congress are the “Apprenticeship Bill” or “An Act Reforming the National Apprenticeship Program and Providing Regulatory Standards for the Training of Apprentices, and for Accreditation of the Programs, Thereof”; the “PESO Bill” or “An Act Defining the Role of DOLE and LGU on the Establishment”; “OSH in the Construction Industry Bill” or “An Act Institutionalizing Occupational Health and Safety of Workers in the Construction Industry”; “Voluntary Compliance with Labor Laws Bill” or “An Act Fostering a Culture of Voluntary Compliance with Labor Laws, Amending for the Purpose Article 128 of the Labor Code of the Philippines”; and “Appeal of NLRC Decisions to the Supreme Court Bill” or “An Act Providing for Appeal of the Decisions of the National Labor Relations Commission To The Supreme Court, Amending for this Purpose Articles 223 and 224 of the Labor Code of the Philippines.

Aside from the said bills, the TIPC proved to be productive in its approval of another two significant issuances namely, the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 10524 (Employment of Persons with Disabilities) which requires that at least 1% of all positions to government agencies, offices or corporations shall be reserved for PWDs; and the Revised Rules on Private Recruitment and Placement for Local Employment which prohibits the collection of placement fees and streamlines the administrative procedure in disposing recruitment violations, among others.

The Department of Labor and Employment’s policy on tripartism and social dialogue, as reflected in the TIPC structure, serves as a firm foundation for its continuing efforts in fostering inclusive growth and industrial peace in the country through the active engagement of both workers and employers in the decision and policy-making processes of the government.