QUEZON CITY, PHILIPPINES – High-level discussions took place at a special National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (NTIPC) meeting on June 23, 2023, at Luxent Hotel. Senior officials from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) convened with NTIPC members to deliberate on the proposed Philippine Labor and Employment Plan (LEP) for 2023-2028. DOLE Secretary Bienvenido E. Laguesma presided over the meeting which served as a forum for the key stakeholders to exchange ideas and devise strategies for the future of labor and employment in the country.
DOLE Undersecretary Carmela I. Torres provided a detailed overview of the priorities, outcomes, and strategies of the proposed LEP. The three main focal areas include maximizing productive and sustainable work, ensuring labor governance that respects international labor standards and human rights, and building equitable and inclusive social protection.
Four outcomes were set to ensure fairness and effectiveness for the Labor and Employer sectors: increased employability, equal access to employment opportunities, shared labor market governance, and an enhanced enabling environment to promote sustainable and resilient enterprises, particularly Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
The open forum saw labor sector representatives raising concerns regarding the modernization of the wage-setting policy mechanism and the delays in the legislative process of cases. In response, DOLE Undersecretary Benedicto Ernesto R. Bitonio, Jr., highlighted the need for a thorough review and regulatory impact assessment to effectively address issues within current wage laws. Secretary Laguesma, acknowledging delays in cases, clarified that these hinge on the legislative body’s procedure, and this topic would be discussed in detail in DOLE’s future action plans.
Both the labor and employer sectors expressed their support for the LEP but emphasized the need for further worker education. Secretary Laguesma assured that through inter-agency collaboration, top-notch training programs will be made available to enhance employee skills and knowledge.
To gain the necessary support in the implementation of the Plan, Secretary Laguesma informed the body that he will be presenting the LEP in an upcoming Cabinet Meeting. He also called for the creation of an Oversight and Advisory Committee, which would monitor progress and identify gaps in the proposed plan’s implementation.
Secretary Laguesma concluded the meeting by manifesting DOLE’s commitment to ensure that the LEP is put into action.
The LEP 2023-2028, an extension of the current Decent Work Country Program (DWCP) 2020-2024, complements the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023-2028. This comprehensive framework will serve as the country’s DWCP for the duration of the PDP, promising a future of enhanced labor governance and equitable employment opportunities in the Philippines.
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