Baldoz orders DOLE regional directors to organize Diskwento Caravans
Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday signed Administrative Order No. 351 Series of 2014 directing all DOLE regional directors to organize Diskwento Caravans all over the country in the third quarter of 2014.
“You are instructed to coordinate with all regional directors of the Department of Trade and Industry in organizing the Diskwento Caravans,” said Baldoz in her order.
The Diskwento Caravan is one of the mechanisms of the government to provide relief to workers though non-wage benefits and one way to augment their income to enable them to cope with rising prices of basic goods and services. The government, through the DOLE’s National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC), has been organizing Diskwento Caravans since 2008.
“The Caravans shall be held immediately after the paydays and preferably within the grounds of the city/town halls identified by the local government unit. In prioritizing the LGUs hosting the Caravans, the DOLE shall consider municipalities densely-populated by low-income households,” she added.
Following Baldoz’s issuance of the order, the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) announced that it will mount its Diskwento Caravan in the National Capital Region (NCR) to provide financial relief to workers and their families in the region.
“The NWPC and the DOLE-NCR, in cooperation with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the local government units, and the Public Employment Service Offices (PESOs) in the NCR, have scheduled 13 Diskwento Caravans between September and December 2014,” said Baldoz.
The conduct of Diskwento Caravans is a result of a consultation by the DOLE with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas; DTI; Department of Energy; the DOTC’s Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board; and the Philippine Statistics Authority-Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (PSA-BAS).
The consultation output indicated slightly elevated inflation rates due to tightness of domestic supply of some food items, such as rice and other agricultural products, affecting prices.
Baldoz said that supply and price of these basic commodities are expected to stabilize by the fourth quarter of 2014.
In 2011, the NWPC organized 14 caravans in Metro Manila alone, benefiting 62,172 workers/buyers. DOLE did not organize Diskwento Caravans in 2012 and 2013 because of stable prices.
In this year’s Diskwento Caravans, the NWPC and DOLE-NCR will make available at discounted prices canned goods, noodles, rice, juice, coffee, processed meats, condiments, milk, medicines, school uniforms, bags, shoes, bath and detergent soaps, and basic apparel, among others. Diskwento Caravans will be held immediately after the paydays .
To ensure that more workers and their families will have access to the discounted basic goods and commodities, Baldoz has instructed NWPC Executive Director Criselda Sy to enlist more private sector manufacturers and companies to participate in the Diskwento Caravans. The schedule of the caravan is as follows: (1) 10 September on Caloocan City Hall; (2) 15 September on Pasig; (3) 18 September on Malabon Ampitheatre; (4) 25-26 September on Marikina; (5) 10 October on Las Pinas City Hall; (6) 15 October on Quezon City Hall Plaza; (7) 24 October 24 on Manila; (8) 7 November on Makati; (9) 18-19 November on Muntinlupa; (10) 3rd week of November on Pateros;
(11) 2nd and 3rd week of December on Taguig; and (12) 15-20 December on Valenzuela.
The labor chief urged workers and their families to watch out for, and go to, these Diskwento Caravans in their areas and avail of basic commodities at discounted prices.
“The DOLE is one of various government agencies that cooperate with private organizations in implementing non-wage benefits programs for workers and employees to provide them access to low-priced essential medicines and health services; basic commodities at discounted/affordable prices; livelihood and temporary employment programs; education and training scholarships to workers and their dependents; energy efficiency and conservation; and loans and special assistance programs,” Baldoz said.