Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday lauded the passage of Republic Act 10771, or “An Act Promoting the Creation of Green Jobs, Granting Incentives and Appropriating Funds Therefor”, saying this will hasten the transition of the country to a “green economy”—one that is sustainable, ecology-friendly, and where jobs are not only decent but help conserve and nurture the environment.
“We at the DOLE are pleased that President Benigno S. Aquino III has signed the law, also known as the “Philippine Green Jobs Act of 2016”, and are grateful to Congress, specifically Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles, Chairman of the House Committee on Labor and Employment, and Sen. Sonny Angara, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources Development, as well as their colleagues, who have shepherded its passage,” said Baldoz.
“This law will benefit generations of Filipinos who, I am confident, will look back to the administration of Pres. Aquino III for securing the legacy of their future,” she added.
Green jobs, or “employment that contributes to preserving or restoring the quality of the environment, be it in agriculture, industry or services sector”, include jobs that help protect ecosystems and biodiversity; reduce energy, materials, and water consumption through high efficiency strategies; de-carbonize the economy; and minimize, or altogether avoid, the generation of all forms of waste and pollution.
“Green jobs are decent jobs that are productive, respect the rights of workers, deliver fair incomes, provide security in the workplace and social protection for families, and promote social dialogue,” Baldoz explained.
R.A. 10771 encourages business enterprises to generate and sustain green jobs by providing incentives, in addition to fiscal and non-fiscal incentives already granted or provided under existing laws, orders and regulations.
Under the new law, business enterprises that generate and sustain green jobs shall enjoy special deduction from the taxable income equivalent to 50 percent of the total expenses for skills training and research development expenses. The special deduction is over and above the allowable ordinary and necessary business deductions for said expenses under the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997.
Green enterprises shall also be entitled to tax- and duty-free importation of capital equipment, provided that the capital equipment is actually, directly, and exclusively used in the promotion of green jobs of the enterprise.
Several government agencies are mandated by the new law to perform specific responsibilities. One of these agencies is the DOLE, which is tasked to formulate a National Green Jobs Human Resource Development Plan, in coordination with other government organs.
“We wholeheartedly accept this mandate,” Baldoz said, adding that the DOLE has already formulated HRD roadmaps for 27 industries in support of the industry roadmaps of the Department of Trade and Industry.
“The National Green Jobs HRD Plan will be a welcome addition to the roadmaps, as well as the inclusion of the Secretary of Labor and Employment as a member of the Climate Change Commission,” added Baldoz.
Baldoz said the Plan shall ensure the Philippine economy’s effective and sustainable transition into a green economy, one that generates green jobs towards more employment and equal opportunities and the promotion of social justice and workers’ welfare.
The DOLE, together with the Philippine Statistics Authority, is also mandated to maintain a database of green careers, and profession and skills, as well as a list of emerging business enterprises that generate and sustain green jobs.
On the other hand, the Climate Change Commission is tasked to take the lead in developing and administering appropriate standards for the assessment and certification of green goods, services, and green technologies and practices to regulate availment of incentives and ensure green jobs content pursuant to the National Green Jobs HRD Plan.
Other government agencies with specific roles to play in the implementation of the new law are the Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), Department of Tourism (DOT), and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). Government financial institutions are also required to provide preferential financial packages to business enterprises that create green jobs.
“I have already instructed Executive Director Alex Avila of the National Wages and Productivity Commission, Director Ma. Celeste Valderrama of the Institute for Labor Studies, Director Dominique Rubia-Tutay of the Bureau of Local Employment, and Director General Irene Isaac of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to work with these concerned national government agencies for the drafting of the law’s Implementing Rules and Regulations,” Baldoz said, noting that the DOLE is tasked to lead in such formulation.
“We have 180 days from the effectivity of the law to draft its IRR,” she said.