By Leonel Abasola
MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Sunday vowed to continue prioritizing the welfare of Filipino workers by providing the vital opportunities to achieve their full potential.
“Asahan po ninyo na hindi kailanman magpapabaya ang inyong pamahalaan sa larangan ng paggawa at empleyo, lalo na sa ilalim ng aking pamamalakad. (You can expect that your government will never neglect the field of labor and employment, especially under my administration),” the President said during the 121st Labor Day celebration at SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.
“Bilang Pangulo, ipinapangako ko na ang proteksyon para sa mga manggagawang Pilipino ay mananatiling pangunahing prayoridad ng aking administrasyon (As President, I promise that protection for Filipino workers will remain a top priority of my administration),” he added.
Marcos instructed government agencies to remain steadfast in improving their various programs to sustain the access to employment and improvement of workers’ employability and productivity.
“Kaya inaatasan ko ang lahat ng mga kaugnay na ahensya, lalong-lalo na ang DOLE, na manatiling nakatuon sa paghahatid ng mga maiinam na programang panghanapbuhay at sa paglinang sa kaalaman at kasanayan ng ating mga manggagawa (I therefore enjoin all relevant agencies, especially DOLE [Department of Labor and Employment], to remain committed to the delivery of good employment programs and the cultivation of the workers’ knowledge and skills),” the President said.
At the event, the President visited the stalls of 65 businesses and 130 sellers participating in the “Kadiwa ng Pangulo (KNP) para sa mga Manggagawa.”
In March, Marcos launched the “KNP Para sa Manggagawa” at the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines head office in Quezon City as part of the continuing expansion of Kadiwa centers nationwide.
The program is aimed at giving a platform for Filipino farmers, fisherfolk and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to generate more income through direct farm-to-consumer trade.
Kadiwa centers, now numbering 300 nationwide, seek to ensure a stable price and supply of food and other basic commodities in areas where poor families live.
Housing, livelihood aid
Marcos also led the ceremonial distribution of various DOLE assistance packages to 20,165 beneficiaries in the National Capital Region, amounting to PHP162.23 million.
The DOLE is currently leading the distribution of wages and awarded livelihood projects to 229,823 qualified beneficiaries nationwide, amounting to PHP1.29 billion.
Labor assistance programs include the Tulong Panghanapbuhay Para sa Ating Disadvantaged/ Displaced Workers, DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program, Government Internship Program and Special Program for Employment Students.
The dream of five beneficiaries of government assistance came true after Marcos himself drew their names in a raffle for the house and lot packages.
The President picked the names of Cipriano Basalio, Ana Lara, May Justine Villarin, Heda Villada, and Deborah Romero, all beneficiaries of assistance packages of the DOLE.
Each received symbolic keys to the socialized house and lot packages by the President.
MSME assistance, development projects
During the event, Marcos witnessed the ceremonial signing of two Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) and two Memoranda of Agreement (MOA) between DOLE and government agencies.
Under the pact on expanding employment opportunities, DOLE shall undertake an MOU with the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development under the Pambansang Pabahay para sa Pilipino Housing (4PH) Program, particularly on the production of much-needed skilled workers in the 4PH program.
The MOU on the Kadiwa ng Pangulo program, on the other hand, involves the partnership among DOLE, Department of Agriculture, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Social Welfare and Development and Department of the Interior and Local Government, specifying the roles and responsibilities of the concerned departments in the conduct of the KNP.
The proposed MOU further intends to engage all local government units in the identification and preparation of venues for the program.
Under the MOA on enterprise development and livelihood assistance, DOLE has proposed collaborating with the DTI to extend productivity orientation, training, and technical assistance to MSMEs.
The agreement aims to undertake collaborative activities in connection with the conduct of advocacy and training initiatives on enterprise development, livelihood assistance, productivity improvement, and other capacity development for MSMEs.
The MOA on Promoting Industrial Peace in Special Economic Zones targets to strengthen the inter-agency collaboration among the DOLE, DTI, and Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) on labor and employment concerns in ecozones, especially in the areas of labor education, employment facilitation, dispute prevention and settlement, and compliance with labor laws, social legislation, and occupational safety and health.
The President also toured the Job, Livelihood, and Business Fair where 125 employers with 12,951 local job vacancies participated.
Aside from the SMX Convention Center, the Labor department conducted simultaneous job fairs in 38 venues nationwide, with 678 participating employers offering 59,354 local job vacancies.
Employers from the following industries participated in the job fairs: business processes outsourcing; manufacturing; financial and insurance; manpower services; and sales and marketing. (PNA)