Labor Undersecretary Ciriaco A. Lagunzad III shared some of the policy priorities of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in preparing for the future of work in his closing keynote address before delegates to the 40th National Conference of Employers (NCE 40).
To achieve a future of work anchored on the principle of sustainable development and just transition, the government, Lagunzad noted, passed into law Republic Act (RA) No. 10771, otherwise known as the Green Jobs Act of 2016 that shall establish a common ground to achieve the goals of employment generation, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability.
According to Lagunzad, the DOLE is presently working with the Climate Change Commission for its full implementation. He cited another law passed aimed to achieve a secured future of work is RA No. 11165, otherwise known as the Telecommuting Act of 2018, which shall provide an enabling environment for the private sector to offer, on a voluntary basis, a work arrangement that allows workers to work from home or remotely from office through the use of telecommunications or computers. In this regard, the DOLE has led the formulation of its implementing rules and regulations (IRR) that shall guide the implementation of said law.
Moreover, Lagunzad said the DOLE is beefing up its efforts to deliver an updated labor market information (LMI) system that shall provide access to information and guidance about the future careers available for students and trainees so as to enable them to choose from a wide array of opportunities in the labor market. As such, he added, the DOLE is continuously reviewing its existing implementation framework on career guidance to be able to effectively link skills demand and supply. In this regard, the DOLE’s research arm, the Institute for Labor Studies (ILS), will conduct policy fora to address knowledge gaps on the impact of the future of work on existing labor regulations.
While these current endeavors are not enough, Lagunzad noted that there are still several ways needed to be undertaken in collaboration with other national government agencies and civil society. Foremost, he mentioned the role of primary and elementary education remains crucial in laying the foundation of portable, 21st-century skills, with emphasis on the provision of information, media, and technology skills, creativity and innovation skills, and critical thinking and interpersonal skills, among others. “With the accelerating pace of change, it is of paramount importance that skills of generic and lifelong importance be firmly embedded in the first formative years of individuals’ learning cycle,” he pointed out.
Simultaneous to this, Lagunzad raised the need to upgrade, adjust, and retool the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) programs as emerging jobs will necessitate new and upgraded skills and competencies.
He mentioned that under the newly formulated National Technical Education and Skills Development Plan 2018-2022 of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), it was acknowledged that both the government and the TVET sector are ill-equipped in anticipating skills of the future and may be behind private sector-led initiatives, thus, it is important that TVET delivery system be rationalized such that the scope and impact of enterprise-based training will be enlarged and be elevated as a dominant delivery mode. In this context, he added that strengthening apprenticeship programs provides a faster and more flexible way for both governments and enterprises to meet the higher levels of cognitive and manual skills demanded by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
“A future of modern innovations and breakthroughs should not cause worry and anxiety, so long as the creation of decent jobs is emphasized amidst a rapidly evolving world of work. The DOLE, in its promotion of decent work, shall continue to promote social dialogue and tripartism in the exercise of its policy-making mandate,” Lagunzad stressed.