To strengthen and to mainstream gender and development in the workplace, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz has approved the Department’s GAD plan for 2016.

“The plan will serve as the Department’s guide in addressing particular gender issues under its mandate as reflected in the Magna Carta of Women,” said Baldoz upon approving the plan. “Let us make it work,” she added.

With the plan, the DOLE is poised to address such gender issues as (1) gender gap in the Labor Force Participation Rate; (2) vulnerabilities of both men and women in wage employment; (3) limited access to social protection among vulnerable workers; (4) high vulnerability of women migrant workers; and the (5) need to support inter-agency-wide assessment and planning for action and strategies towards gender-related interventions.

The Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns, headed by Director Ahma Charisma Satumba, which is the plan’s lead implementer, said that per gender issue, the DOLE has lodged and outlined GAD-related activities and programs aimed to create and ensure a gender-responsive and sensitive work environment for its clients, both men and women workers alike.

On the first gender issue, for example, Director Satumba said the DOLE has aligned its advocacy programs and training, development of information, education, and communication materials, and conduct of job fairs.

“These activities aim to equalize the employment opportunities amongst men and women,” she said.

On the second gender issue, the DOLE under its GAD plan, shall pursue activities towards improvement of  labor laws compliance, particularly on gender-related concerns amongst establishments. Activities include the implementation and monitoring of the Labor Laws Compliance System, and the Single Entry Approach—the 30-day mechanism for the speedy, impartial, inexpensive, and accessible manner of settling all labor issues.

“Moreover, gender issues shall also form part of the topics in seminars and training on Labor and Education and Employment Services, the animated video information and education materials accessible through the social media, YouTube,” she said.

The DOLE GAD plan seeks to address limited access to social protection among vulnerable workers through the provision of skills training and livelihood assistance to beneficiaries, and make them aware of the benefits of social insurance.

The plan includes the provision of pre-reintegration services to OFWs in POLOs and the implementation of Assist WELL program to address the fourth gender issue. Assist WELL is a package of reintegration assistance to address the welfare, employment, legal, and livelihood needs of repatriated workers.

Finally, to address to the fifth gender issue, the DOLE plans to strengthen the mainstreaming of gender-related concerns in its various programs, activities, and projects. This will be done through the integration of a gender perspective in all DOLE training modules and materials, and through the conduct of inter-agency and tripartite consultations, which will result to gender-responsive policies.

To better implement the GAD Plan, Secretary Baldoz has reconstituted its GAD Focal Point System through the issuance of Administrative Order 59. “We need to provide direction on the implementation of this plan to achieve our goals,” Baldo said.

Secretary Baldoz chairs the Focal Point System. She will issue policies and directives leading to the mainstreaming of GAD in labor and employment. There is a GAD Executive Committee under the system headed by the Department Undersecretary for Leadership, Management and Innovation, and Research and Statistics with the Assistant Secretary for Workers Welfare, Social Protection and Internal Affairs as the Vice chairperson. The committee shall, among others, spearhead the identification of GAD strategies, activities, and projects, ensure the timely submission of the Department’s GAD Plan and Budget, as well as strengthen partnerships with the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), and other institutions doing GAD mainstreaming advocacy work.

A Technical Working Group, composed of various DOLE bureaus and services, has been designated to facilitate the gender mainstreaming of DOLE through GAD planning and budgeting, and the implementation of the plan. To monitor the submissions and review of the GAD plan and budget, as well as accomplishments, a secretariat has been designated.

“Let us make our GAD Plan work,” Baldoz said, as she directed the executive committee to submit the plan to the Philippine Commission on Women for approval and endorsement to the Department of Budget and Management.

END/Brent Kenneth L. Calvo, WWDD-BWSC

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