The DOLE will extensively consult its stakeholders and partners, and go industry-by-industry to be very specific and precise what skills should be in the Skilled Occupational Shortage List (SOSL).

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said this yesterday, after she issued an order creating a technical working group (TWG) within the DOLE has been created to review the occupations and professions included in the proposed list by determining the level of skills, competencies, and experience indispensably necessary in each identified hard-to-fill occupation.

“Since 2010, the DOLE has been implementing a package of policy and program reforms to improve the DOLE’s institutional capacity to effectively and efficiently address issues and concerns in the labor market. One of these is brain drain,” Baldoz said.

Administrative Order No. 45, series of 2014, constitutes a TWG headed by Professional Regulation Commission Chairperson (PRC) Teresita R. Manzala, for regulated professions; Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Deputy Director General Irene M. Isaac, for skilled occupations; and Bureau of Local Employment (BLE) Director Dominique R. Tutay, focal person; and members composed of Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Deputy Administrator Liberty A. Casco; Institute of Labor Studies (ILS) Executive Director Cynthia R. Cruz; Philippine Statistics Authority-Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics (PSA-BLES) Director Teresa V. Peralta; and Labor Communications Office (LCO) Director Nicon F. Fameronag.

Baldoz said the TWG shall conduct meetings and in-depth consultation with representatives of concerned government agencies, relevant industries, employer groups, professional regulatory boards (PRBs), accredited professional organizations (APOs), and labor groups within a reasonable period of time.

“Further review and refinement of the list and further consultation with industry on why a certain skill is deemed a shortage, the extent of its shortage and demand, and the specific standards of a particular skill is needed before we can have a final list,” she said.

Baldoz, citing A.O. 45, S. 2014, said the TWG may invite other government agencies such as the Commission on Higher Education, Civil Service Commission, and the Departments of Education and Agriculture, as well as other relevant agencies to participate during the meetings and consultations.

“The TWG shall finalize the Guidelines on the Development and Implementation of the SOSL for presentation and discussion with the Tripartite Industrial Peace Council after the consultations,” she explained.

The SOSL is an initiative of DOLE which aims to send appropriate labor market signals to educational and training institutions to produce skills in occupations which are in short supply so that Filipinos can ultimately fill up the demand for such skills in Philippine industries.

According to Baldoz, it will immensely benefit the country through technology transfer and brain gain from returning OFWs who will have the option to stay in the country to fill-in existing gap.

In addition, the SOSL will serve as a reference in policy formulation in case there is a need to tighten regulations on deployment of workers whose occupations, professions, and skills are included in the list.

“The list, once final, will aim to relax the implementation of the Labor Market Test (LMT) in skills which are in-demand but hard-to-fill in the country. It will facilitate the entry of foreign experts with skills crucial to the growth and development of the country—skills that are determined to be in short supply among the available Filipino labor,” Baldoz said.

The LMT is the system of determination of the non-availability of a person in the Philippines who is competent, able, and willing at the time of application, to perform the services for which the foreign national is desired.

“We need to have a system of retaining talents to be able to compete and assure foreign investors that we have adequate supply of the workers they may need. With the TWG in place, rest assured that specific measures will soon be formulated, and thus, boost the country’s competitiveness,” Baldoz finally said.


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