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APRIL 22, 2013

NR # 3081

Solons urge creation of Local Employment Authority to address joblessness

Alarmed by the continued dismal performance of the Philippine labor market, lawmakers seek to address the problem by establishing an agency solely tasked to plan, manage and supervise local jobs and employment opportunities. Reps. Rufus Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan De Oro City) and Maximo Rodriguez, Jr. (Party-list, Abante Mindanao) authors of House Bill 1061 proposed the creation of a Local Employment Authority, an attached agency of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). Rodriguez said the slump in employment pushes the unemployment rate to a twodigit level, indicating a weak labor market. The unemployment scenario is expected to worsen and there will be substantial loss of job opportunities and income, Rodriguez said. It is the policy of the State to afford protection to labor, promote full employment, ensure equal work opportunities regardless of sex, race or creed, and regulate the relations between workers and employers, Rodriguez said. The measure requires the merging of three bureaus under the DOLE, namely: the Bureau of Local Employment, the Bureau of Rural Workers, and the Bureau of Women and Young Workers to give way for the creation of the Local Employment Authority. The Local Employment Authority shall be governed by a Governing Board composed of the Secretary of DOLE as ex-officio chairman, and the Director General of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), the Secretaries of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) as exofficio members. In Addition, the President shall appoint one representative each from the employer/industry and labor sectors, who shall hold office for three years. The proposed Authority shall formulate policies, standards and procedures and systems for human resource development, allocation, utilization, and referral and placement for both wage and non-wage employment. Among others, the Authority shall also have the power and functions such as, to establish and maintain coordinative linkage with the private sector to facilitate

employment promotion and generation; undertake development studies and researches on employment, promotion, facilitation and enhancement, and submit recommendations to the Board, establish and maintain a registration or work permit system in aid of proper manpower and developing planning, provide legal and technical assistance on matters relating to the employment of both wage and non-wage earners, recommend to the Governing Board and act as the governments clearing house of all information relating to local employment. A Director General shall lead the Authority, assisted by a Deputy Director General and shall have three major departments, each headed by a Director IV, namely: Employment Promotion and Facilitation; Employment Planning and Monitoring; and Management Services and Operations. The respective budgets of the three abolished Bureaus shall be pooled as initial funding for the Authority. As of January 2013, the National Statistics Office (NSO) reported that with 40.8 million in the labor force, some 2.86 million still do not have work. The Authority shall not only cater to the unemployed and the underemployed but also to the future generations work force by improving the present employment situation of the country, Rodriguez said. (30) jsc