9th Gawad Kaligtasan at Kalusugan Awarding Ceremonies
Occupational Safety and Health Center, Quezon City
October 27, 2014

Keynote Address

Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz

Department of Labor and Employment

Mataas na pagpupugay sa mga nagwagi sa ika-siyam na Gawad Kaligtasan at Kalusugan (GKK)!

It is my great honor and privilege to be with the champions that ensure the health and safety of our workers. The recognition and award given to you is significant, not only for the prestige of being acclaimed the best of the best in safety and health nationwide, but even more important, the GKK serves as an inspiration for the winners to continue raising the bar of excellence in protecting their workers and encouraging the entire Philippine labor force to emulate such achievements.

Indeed, the growing list of GKK awardees is a solid testament to the thriving culture of occupational safety and health or OSH in our country. This year’s 241 entries hold the record of the GKK with the most number of contenders for this prestigious award. And after a rigorous three-phase selection process, we have 15 companies and 5 individuals as winners.

Perusing through the 2014 GKK winners, I note that many awardees are from the energy and manufacturing sectors – an undeniable proff that the highly hazardous industries continue to be vigilant in ensuring that their workplaces and workers are safe and healthy.

I will never get tired of repeating that foremost in my leadership in the DOLE, is upholding the principle that the safety and health of all our workers is no-negotiable. This is evident as the DOLE continuously strengthens its social protection programs to ensure that all our workers, whether in formal or informal workplaces, globally and in all regions nationwide, are provided with the optimum safeguards to ensure their safety, health and welfare.

Strengthening National OSH policies and strategies

We at the department of Labor and Employment are working over-time in ensuring the implementation of OSH programs policies as well encourage the voluntary compliance of establishments through the new Labor Laws Compliance System (LLCS). An amalgam of developmental and regulatory approaches, the LLCS aims to cultivate a culture of voluntary compliance with labor laws that will benefit micro, small and medium enterprises, and address existing rigidities while ensuring decent and productive work. We have hired and trained more than 300 new Labor Laws Compliance officers beginning 2013, bringing the ratio to 1 LLCO for every 120 establishments. Our LLCOs are experts on the DOLE policies, services and programs and they are committed to thoroughly check compliance and help companies address whatever deficiencies they are found to have.

We recognize that some violations are brought about by inadequate knowledge of the Labor laws. Thus, the LLCOs are equipped with a “toolbox” of DOLE programs and services – a menu that responds to the training and technical needs of establishments. So when they knock on your door, do not worry because they are not visiting to intimidate or scare you. They are there to guide you as teachers, trainers and advisers, for free. Their foremost mission is to assist your companies to voluntarily comply with your statutory responsibilities. We only ask for one thing – your cooperation.

Complimenting this increase in manpower is the enhancement of our software system through the assistance of the international Labor Organization. Together with ILO, we are working on an LLCS software that features real-time data capture and transmittal from the field using an electronic checklist installed in mobile devices and gadgets. This will facilitate efficient assessment and monitoring of establishments.

Linked closely to the LLCS is the DOLE’s Incentivising Compliance Program (ICP) which provides incentive to establishments who are compliant to the labor laws and those with even higher standards than what DOLE requires. The Certificate of Compliance or COC given to companies has a two-year validity and this will qualify the establishments as a nominee for the Tripartite Certificate of Compliance with the Labor Standards (TCCLS). This is the first level of good housekeeping on labor laws issued by the DOLE Regional Offices.

At this point, I am proud to say that the many of the DOLE Regional Offices have already assessed a majority of the companies in their areas and COCs have been issued to these enterprises. I was also told that this is the 1st GKK where companies who wished to vie for the award had to submit their COCs as their 1st requirement in joining the GKK.

Public-private partnership programs

The DOLE cannot take o the task of ensuring the protection of the workers single-handedly. We are glad that our work towards the prevention of work accidents and illness is shared by many partners — the tripartite; Union and employers organizations and private companies, the DOLE-accredited safety and health officers and consultants, engineers, physicians, nurses and other health-care providers, NGOs including the civil society. This diverse mix of partners augurs well for a comprehensive and effective approach to OSH, where expertise and experience of the various stakeholders can be tapped. I am grateful to the many reliable partners we have n the private sector who continue to push for the cause of OSH.

The DOLE and the tripartite have been engaged in partnerships that strengthen OSH advocacy. Many of the GKK winners present today are part of the DOLE Big-brother-  Small-brother mentoring program known as the Kapatiran-Wise TAV program. The mechanisms for compliance of General Labor and OSH Standards are shared by the bid brother companies to their small brother contractors and subcontractors. This program has definitely reduced the number of accidents in the vulnerable contracting establishments and has consequently improved the productivity of its workers.

Accident and illness prevention programs in priority industries

Because we believe that no life is worth risking in any industry and in any workplace, the Government puts much premium on prevention programs such as OSH education, information dissemination and service delivery specially for the vulnerable workers.

I have instructed the OSHC to strengthen their delivery of OSH training to all sectors, specially for the highly hazardous industries such as construction mining and transport, including training for the informal sector workers also in construction. I have also tasked the Center and the ECC to provide a wholistic package of OSH assistance through provision of Personal Protective Equipment or PPEs needed by these vulnerable workers.

Highly hazardous jobs such as those in the maritime, construction, and mining industries have also been given much attention and priority through DOLE OSH prevention programs. The Guidelines for OSH in the Maritime Industry or DOLE Department Order 132-13 was issued last year and I am glad to report that many of the items in this issuance was adapted by the ILO in the International Guidelines that they are now drafting. The Philippines was 1 year ahead of the ILO in preparing this very important document.

We continue to review our issuances for the Construction industry to better respond to the needs in this very challenging sector. The recently amended scaffolding guidelines DOLE DO 128-13, is a testament to revisions in the safety and health standards to ensure that working in scaffolds will no longer be a main cause of accidents of workers in construction.

We are now meeting with our colleagues from the DENR – Mines and Geosciences Bureau to determine the best preventive efforts to promote mine safety address and reduce severe accidents in this highly hazardous sector.

These are but a few of the OSH programs which are successfully being carried out by the DOLE. Despite all these, however, the goal of having zero-accident and zero-illness workplaces continues to challenge our resources.

I thus endeavor you, GKK winners to zealously impart your commitment to safety and health and share this with other companies and individuals so that they too can be OSH champions. I foresee that we will achieve greater successes in uplifting the welfare of all Filipino workers whether here or abroad with all the efforts we are doing.

I cannot overly emphasize that our goal towards integrity, transparency and accountability has given us in government the armor of trust for our partners to join forces and rally behind the cause of safety and health for all.

Sana ay huwag kayong magsawa sa pakikipagtulungan sa pamahalaan at sa ating mga kapwa manggagawa para lahat ay manatiling ligtas at malusog at patuloy na sumulong an gating bayan.

Mabuhay at magandang umaga sa ating lahat!

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