Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday expressed elation that one of DOLE’s major reforms, the new Labor Laws Compliance System, or LLCS, is gaining more adherents and advocates, the latest of which is the powerful Foreign Buyers’ Association of the Philippines, or FOBAP.
“I am very pleased that the FOBAP, the association that serves as watchdog of local export producers in terms of labor and social compliance, is one with the DOLE in ensuring that exported products from the Philippines are produced not only according to global quality standards, but also in responsible and socially-compliant factories that meets the basic standards for human rights as required by major importing countries,” said Baldoz after she signed a memorandum with the association during a DOLE press conference on the implementation review of the Labor Laws Compliance System in Intramuros, Manila.
The memorandum of agreement spells out the mechanics of cooperation between the DOLE and the FOBAP in attaining the two organization’s shared goals of increased awareness of the export sector on general labor standards, with emphasis on minimum wage and other wage-related benefits; and occupational safety and health.
“Our view in signing this memorandum of agreement is to improve compliance rate; develop industry-specific GLS and OSHS; build within the export sector a culture of voluntary compliance with GLS and OSHS; and ensure that Philippine export products are manufactured in socially-compliant factories,” said Baldoz.
“DOLE and FOBAP share a common conviction that practices that protect the safety, health, and well-being of the workers are essential in building long-term solutions to national concerns and global challenges. Through this agreement, we resolve to cooperate with strong synergy to increase awareness and understanding of the export sector of labor laws compliance,” said FOBAP President Robert Young, who signed the MOA on behalf of his organization.
Under the MOA, the DOLE and FOBAP agreed to create a technical working committee that will adopt measures and conduct activities necessary to ensure the effective implementation of the partnership agreement. The DOLE shall be represented in the TWC by the Bureau of Working Conditions, Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC), and Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR).
DOLE and the FOBAP shall also exert effort to undertake programs and projects as may be agreed by both parties to attain the objectives of the agreement. They shall also determine the resources required to successfully develop and execute the programs.
Recently, the FOBAP has raised the issues on the urgency for local factories and subcontractor of garments, apparel, shoes, bags, furniture, houseware, and gift items to comply with all labor laws and social practices required by major importing countries, warning that the international market will not patronize products from the Philippines if factories were found not socially compliant with importing countries’ regulations.
Mr. Young said the FOBAP has already recognized the vital role of the DOLE in addressing these social concerns through check and balance of the exporters’ compliance through Department Order No. 131, Series of 2013, or the Rules on Labor Laws Compliance System (LLCS).
“The DOLE is implementing reforms to translate into concrete terms the Labor Day directives of President Aquino III to assist the employed workers to keep their jobs; assist the unemployed to find jobs; protect workers’ rights and benefits; and assist vulnerable workers to have access to social protection towards achieving the overarching goal of decent and productive work, or “tamang tao sa tamang trabaho, sa tamang panahon, sa tamang lugar, sa tamang pamamaraan, at tamang benepisyo. This is being pursued by the LLCS,” Baldoz emphatically said.
D.O. No. 131 contains the new rules and regulations in the implementation of local labor legislation, pursuant to Articles 5 and 128 of the Labor Code of the Philippines. The LLCS seeks to “foster a culture of voluntary compliance with labor laws by all establishments nationwide.
The new LLCS has three approaches: joint assessment, compliance visit, and occupational safety and health investigation. Under the new system, companies can apply to go through joint assessment and get a Certificate of Compliance valid for two years unless there is a complaint.
All establishments, regardless of employment size, are covered by joint assessment under which the employer, the labor law compliance officer (LLCO), and the workers’ representative will jointly verify the company’s compliance with general labor standards, safety and health, and child labor, among others.