Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz has lauded SunPower, a leading solar technology and energy services provider, for limiting its contracted employees to non-core business and ‘regularizing’ its employees who were previously hired as ‘contractuals’ or agency hires.
A multinational company, SunPower maintains two manufacturing facilities in the Philippines: a solar cell manufacturing plant at the First Philippine Industrial Park in Sto. Tomas, Batangas and a solar panel assembly plant at the Laguna Technopark in Biñan, Laguna.
More than 3,000 employees at the two facilities produce high reliability, high efficiency solar cells and solar panels for export around the globe.
“Your company is a good example of how to address the recurring issue of contracting and sub-contracting in the Philippines. I hope other companies will follow your lead,” said Secretary Baldoz jovially after hearing the experience of SunPower Philippine from Michael Panlaqui, SunPower Philippines director for human resources, during the latter’s message before Labor Law Compliance Officers of DOLE Regional Office No. 4-A who assembled for a consultation and dialogue with Baldoz in Calamba City recently.
As part of his message, Panlaqui said SunPower Philippines limited its engagement to only legitimate subcontractors. “We adhere to labor laws, standards, and orders, including D.O. 18-A, issued by Secretary Baldoz in 2011 to clarify the issue of subcontracting. In compliance with the law, Sunpower only subcontracts services that are not part of its core business, such as janitorial and maintenance services, security, employee transport, and canteen operations.
Now in its tenth year in the Philippines, Sunpower continues to make a positive impact to the community through its numerous Corporate Social responsibility (CSR) projects, including initiatives that promote the use of clean, renewable solar energy. Under its School Electrification Program, over 60,000 pupils in close to 200 public schools, mostly in remote rural areas, have been given access to solar energy. The company is also a partner of the DepEd’s Adopt-a-School program, providing much needed assistance and support to the public schools in its host communities.
SunPower recently announced further expansion in the country, with construction of a new 350-megawatt (MW) solar cell manufacturing facility in Laguna. The new plant is expected to employ hundreds of highly-skilled workers, while continuing to contribute to the local economy.
Upon hearing SunPower’s experience, Baldoz urged other companies to follow its example.
“When I issued D.O. 18-A, I looked into the issue of subcontracting on two aspects. The first aspect was to harmonize and set in place stricter regulations on subcontracting to eliminate the proliferation of fly-by-night subcontractors. The second aspect was how to ensure that all employers or companies and their subcontractors in the supply chain are compliant with all labor laws,” she explained.
According to Baldoz, D.O. 18-A is supported by both labor and employers and was forged at the Tripartite Industrial Peace Council after exhaustive and extensive consultations and discussions which took five months.
“D.O. 18-A, I believe, is leading us to achieve its aim of professional and ethical subcontracting where subcontractors are compliant with labor standards and occupational safety and health standards,” she observed.
“More than two years after its issuance, we have removed fly-by-night subcontractors that cannot comply with the stringent requirements of D.O. 18-A. What remains now are legitimate subcontractors who comply with labor laws and are registered with the DOLE under the requirements, terms, and conditions of D.O. 18-A,” she finally said.