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No amount of gust and rain can deter the conduct of the Capacity-building Workshop entitled “Beyond the Enterprise: Social Dialogue and Tripartism for Better Policy Making” which was joined by the national and industry tripartite partners in a display of professionalism and public service. Albeit the inclement weather brought by Typhoon Lando and the power outage that ensued, the 3-day activity pushed through on 19-21 October 2015 at the Fontana Hot Spring Leisure Parks, CM Recto Highway, Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga.

The capacity-building activity jointly administered by the Department of Labor and Employment and the International Labour Organization (ILO) aimed to further enhance the capacity of selected government, workers and employers representatives in engaging in more effective tripartite social dialogue towards the formulation of responsive and comprehensive labor relations reform proposals to the 40-year old Labor Code. It also sought to facilitate the agenda setting of tripartite partners in selected industries, in terms of identification of priority issues and key proposals.

“The objective of this capacity-building is a policy reform that will change the course of Philippine collective bargaining; and just like any other reform, there are adversities and barriers, but these are things that we can overcome,” said Atty. Benjo Santos M. Benavidez, Director of Bureau of Labor Relations, in his opening remarks.

Workshop participants were composed of representatives from the National Conciliation and Mediation Board and its select regional offices, select members of National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council, Tripartite Executive Committee, and identified Industry Tripartite Councils in education, mining, manufacturing, construction, automotive, maritime and agriculture sector.

The Industry Development Group and the National Competitiveness Council both under the Department of Trade and Industry were likewise invited as participants and as resource persons to present the current trade and investment environment in the country, as well as the Government’s trade and investment plan which are factors that may be considered during industry social dialogues.

ILO consultants Mr. David Tagjman and Atty. Benedicto Ernesto Bitonio facilitated the conduct of the activity, with the former presenting international perspectives on social dialogue and tripartism, and the latter providing briefs on the policy cycle and impressing understanding through the use of interactive role-plays and workshops.

The activity is a follow-through of previous consultation seminars on social dialogue and collective bargaining, the first of which was conducted last 28-30 September 2015 where the focus was on social dialogue and collective bargaining at the enterprise level.

Alluding to the challenges weathered by both organizers and participants in continuing with the activity and in developing policy reforms in general, Dir. Benavidez quoted a famous line from the film Heneral Luna, to wit: “Bayan o Sarili?”. According to him, this is the question that is so relevant as they revolutionize the policy in collective bargaining and in labor relations as a whole considering that the pathway to reform is arduous, but is nevertheless essential.


END/Joycelyn A. Amazona