Raising her concern for the promotion and protection of workers’ rights and welfare, Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz has enjoined the Philippine Association of Local Service Contractors (PALSCON) to bring with them in their march for progress the paramount interest of their employees.
Addressing the Association with their 150-strong local service contracting company members present at their recent 5th National Conference, Baldoz said:
“Huwag ninyong iiwanan sa inyong pag-unlad ang ating mga manggagawa. Ipatupad ninyo nang mahusay ang pagbibigay sa kanila ng mga benepisyong dapat na ibigay sa kanila. Alam ko na marami sa inyo ang lumawak ang business sa sub-contracting, at pag tinitingnan po nila ang dahilan [ng kanilang pag-unlad] ang isa po na dahilan ay hindi nila iniwan ang kanilang mga manggagawa.”
In her keynote message during the conference, Baldoz updated PALSCON on the results of the first full-year implementation of the DOLE’s new Labor Laws Compliance System (LLCS).
“Under the system, kahit po compliant na ang napaka-highly reputable na companies, kung ang kanyang supply chain, kahit iisa lang, ay hindi compliant, hindi sila mabibigyan ng Certificate of Compliance (CoC). Ganun po katindi ang responsibilidad na ipinapataw namin sa principal employer when they engage the services of subcontractors.”
Secretary Baldoz likewise sounded off to PALSCON the concern of the Foreign Buyers Association of the Philippines (FOBAP) which had said that the Philippines is seen to lose US$500M in export sales for non-compliance with labor laws and social practices of local producers.
“The FOBAP has sounded the alarm as foreign buyers are now looking at Malaysia and Indonesia. They will not buy from the Philippines if the goods are not produced in a responsible and socially compliant factory and do not meet the basic standards for human rights,” Baldoz said.
The DOLE chief informed PALSCON that the requirement for compliance with labor laws and social practices by local producers applies to all countries, including members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Local manufacturers and producers, according to Secretary Baldoz, must observe basic human rights, strictly implement the ‘no child labor’ policy, as well as comply with labor and management agreement practices, and observe labor and environmental laws, among others, to remain in business. She reminded that these standards apply to the producers’ supply chain, including their service providers or contractors.
Baldoz also revisited the DOLE-PALSCON Memorandum of Agreement signed in 2013 which commits PALSCON to conduct career guidance advocacy activities, disseminate labor market information to their members, use the Phil-Jobnet, the government’s web-based job search and job matching system, capacitate its members on labor laws and occupational safety and health standards, and familiarize them with D.O. 18-A to elicit full and voluntary compliance.
“We all very well know that D.O. 18-A, which is tripartite-supported and -endorsed, sets the standard for legitimate contracting or sub-contracting, and levels the playing field for business,” she said.
“Under this order, sub-contractors and their principals are adequately guided on workers’ rights and benefits to be observed. Thus, registration under D.O. 18-A assures our workers of substantially-capitalized contractors. In a way, contractors are being ‘filtered’ by DO 18-A to limit contracting to those that are legitimate, responsible, and ethical,” she added.
Baldoz emphasized that D.O. 18-A addresses the issues hounding the subcontracting sector, such as the ‘5-5-5’ and ‘6-6-6’ work arrangements, non-payment of wages and benefits, the race-to-the-bottom competition, and the proliferation of fly-by-night subcontractors.
“You were consulted and you participated in the crafting of this reform. Thus, you knew these were the impetus for reforms that the DOLE had decisively pursued with PALSCON to bring forth responsible and non-exploitative sub-contracting business undertakings.
The labor and employment chief also emphasized that the implementation of D.O. 18-A enabled positive changes in the labor market, with the intensified pilot implementation of the Labor Laws Compliance System last 2014.
She asked the assistance of PALSCON to help disseminate among contractors and sub-contractors throughout the country under the PALSCON umbrella not only the need to voluntarily comply with D.O-18-A, but also with all labor laws and occupational health and safety rules and regulations as a requirement for business and their need to undergo compliance assessment under the LLCS.
“Timely registration with the DOLE, and ensuring that employment contracts and service agreements are duly entered into, is a must before the start of any sub-contracting work,” she said.
In the end, Baldoz expressed appreciation to PALSCON for its continued cooperation with the DOLE in the implementation of D.O. 18-A and the new LLCS.
“As Secretary of Labor and Employment, I look forward to a more responsible and ethical contracting industry in the Philippines under PALSCON’s leadership. Please continue to be with us in advocating the right way to do business and this is thorugh the conscientious observance and compliance with all labor laws and lawful social practices,” she said.
The PALSCON is a nationwide association of legitimate local service contractors that advocates ethical, legal, and professional subcontracting. Headed by Arturo Butch Guerrero, the PALSCON claims to have over 200 member-companies that have collectively provided employment to close to two million Filipino workers over the last four years. It works for the professionalization of the service contracting industry.