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CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Labor Secretary Bienvenido E. Laguesma visited Northern Mindanao and held a Labor and Management Forum to discuss issues and concerns regarding labor and management sectors in the region on May 11 at Limketkai Luxe Hotel
“Mahalaga na mapakinggan ang mga posisyon, justification at mga komentaryo, ng aming social partners, the labor and employer sectors,” the Secretary said.
(It is important to listen to the positions, justifications, and comments of our social partners, the labor and employment sectors)
He added that the goal is to come up with a beneficial solution or formula that will guarantee continuity of employment, the creation of more opportunities for workers in the region, and the stability and continued operation of companies that will provide benefits and other better conditions of employment.
One of the issues raised by the labor sector and proposed by Nicandro Borja of the Associated Labor Union-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) was the strengthening of tenure security.
Meanwhile, Teresita L. Hadman of the National Federation of Labor Unions-Kilusang Mayo Uno also proposed the abolition of contracting and subcontracting arrangements.
Laguesma reiterated that security of tenure is initiated under Section 3 of Article 13 of the Philippine Constitution and that there is an existing guideline on contracting and subcontracting arrangements under Department Order 174.
“We have heard complaints against abuses; kinikilala nang ating batas paggawa ang legitimate contracting and subcontracting, pero hindi pinahihintulutan ang abuses (our labor law recognizes legitimate contracting and subcontracting, but it does not allow abuses),” he said.
Further, he explained that employers should not tolerate these abuses because they have a big stake in good management and labor relationships.
“You have a stake in promoting and maintaining industrial peace,” he said to the management sector.
As to the proposed increase in wages, Secretary Laguesma said, “Hindi po kami tumututol sa pagdaragdag ng sweldo, hindi naman kami nagsasabi na agad isusulong natin yan, dapat po pag-aralan (We are not against an increase in wages, we are not also saying we will immediately push for that because it needs to be further studied).”
He explained that as the country eased restrictions from COVID-19, companies were also still in recovery mode.
DOLE, he said, is a consultative and advisory body that provides technical input.
“The regional tripartite wages and productivity board (RTWPB) is not a perfect mechanism, but it is the existing mechanism that can actually approximate a balance so that we can sustain, address the wage of the workers without endangering continued operations of the company, and provide for expansion and a reasonable return on investment that can be earmarked for more expansion, which can mean more jobs,” the Secretary said.
Meanwhile, the management sector raised concerns about the inclusion of employees’ salaries and benefits in the computation of value-added tax (VAT) of 12% for legitimate labor contractors and retirement pay concerns. (JMOR/PIA-10)