PH labor conditions starting to improve – DOLE

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III

The Philippines’s unemployment and underemployment rates are starting to recover following record low rates attained by the country at the onset of the Duterte administration, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III has said.

Bello reported the accomplishments of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) during President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s Talk to the People on COVID-19 aired Tuesday morning.

“Pagpasok ng inyong administrasyon, nakamit natin ang pinakamababang lebel ng unemployment rate of 5.1 percent at underemployment rate of 14 percent. Nadale lang po tayo noong pandemya noong Marso 2020, Mr. President,” Bello said.

“Ganunpaman ay unti-unti na nating nababawi ang mababang unemployment at underemployment rates. Ito po ay bunga ng inyong suporta sa mga programa at proyekto para sa mga manggagawa sa pamamagitan ng mas pinalaking pondo sa nakaraang limang taon.”

Under the Duterte administration, DOLE’s budget rose by 142.8 percent. The allocation for its programs Tulong sa Paghanapbuhay Para sa mga Disadvantaged (TUPAD) and Government Internship Program (GIP) also increased by 545 percent, according to the labor chief.

Also, in response to the President’s directive to put an end to endo (end of contract), Bello said DOLE has intensified its campaign for the strict implementation of labor standards, occupational safety and health standards as well as workers’ rights protection.

DOLE has inspected more than 379,000 companies throughout the country, resulting in the regularization of more than 631,000 workers, the labor secretary reported, adding the initiative was aided by the hiring of additional 710 labor inspectors.

The department also focused on resolving labor disputes and has concluded tackling 540,000 labor cases, benefitting 2,174,000 workers. More than P99 billion in awards were given to the workers.

Under DOLE’s stewardship, workers’ pay in the private sector increased by P17 to P39.5 while the salaries of household workers increased by P500 to P2,000 after the issuance of the department’s wage orders.

To assist unemployed workers, DOLE extended livelihood and emergency employment. Since 2016, the labor department provided livelihood assistance to 434,493 beneficiaries and emergency employment or TUPAD to 5,427,000 workers.