Baldoz-NLRC dialogue results to reform consensus

September 18, 2010 6:13 am 

MANILA, Sept. 17 — A wide-ranging dialogue the other day between Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz and the commissioners of the National Labor Relations Commission led by NLRC chairman Gerardo C. Nograles has resulted in a broad consensus on the 22-point labor and employment agenda of President Benigno S. Aquino III, paving a ‘faster track’ toward the implementation of the agenda and the realization of DOLE reforms initiated by Secretary Baldoz.

Emerging from the dialogue held at the DOLE in Intramuros, Baldoz described the meeting as another ‘breakthrough’ in terms of enlisting broad support for the President’s labor and employment agenda.

“The meeting enabled us to clarify a lot of issues, to find common ground, and to gain better understanding about the meaning of the reforms to the Filipino people whom we serve,” Baldoz said. “I am elated at the support of the NLRC to the President’s agenda,” she added.

The DOLE secretary reiterated to the NLRC commissioners that reforming the labor arbitration and adjudication system by streamlining procedures, removing red tape, and at the same time, restoring integrity and fairness in the system—one of the items in the 22-point labor and employment agenda—is a top priority of the new administration.

Relative to this, the DOLE has already initiated a package of landmark reform measures in pursuit of the agenda.

One of the reform measures is the creation of the National Efficiency and Integrity Board (NEIB) under the Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (TIPC) and the creation of Efficiency and Integrity Boards (EIBs) in DOLE offices and agencies, including the NLRC, nationwide. As an impartial oversight monitoring body, the NEIB shall pursue measures to eradicate graft and corruption.

Another DOLE reform measure is the institutionalization of the 30-day mandatory conciliation-mediation for all labor and employment cases under the single entry approach, the reform initiative that seeks to provide a speedy, impartial, inexpensive, and accessible settlement services for unresolved grievances and complaints arising from employer-employee relations.

Baldoz recalled that DOLE’s tripartite partners, notably the TIPC, the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Joint Foreign Chamber, and numerous labor and management organizations, including non-government organizations, have already expressed support to the agenda and the DOLE-initiated reforms.

“In fact, the TIPC has already approved resolutions endorsing the creation of the NEIB and the single entry approach. Very soon, we shall be promulgating the applicable department orders on these reforms as well as the guidelines to pilot-test them for six months before the regular program implementation,” Baldoz explained.

On his part, Chairman Nograles said that the NLRC is on track in pursuing its reforms to improve its services and to address the twin problems of delay in the disposition of cases and perception of graft and corruption.

Some of the NLRC reform measures include reducing the resolution of cases to six months in line with Project SpeEd 2; continuing review of the Rules of Procedures and Manual on Execution of Judgment; strict monitoring of attendance of commissioners, labor arbiters, and employees; strengthening of mandatory conciliation and mediation; revision of the rules of the NLRC’s EIB; adoption of a Code of Conduct; creation of an internal audit unit; and observance of an acceptable level of performance for commissioners and labor arbiters and imposition of sanctions for non-compliance.

Secretary Baldoz reported that the meeting also focused on enhancing transparency and further improving internal processes in the DOLE family of agencies.

Many of the NLRC commissioners expressed satisfaction over the result of the dialogue with the Secretary of Labor and Employment.

One of them, Commissioner Isabel P. Ortiguerra, said the dialogue enhanced the rapport and openness between the DOLE and the NLRC.

“We had a meaningful dialogue,” she said.

Aside from Chairman Nograles and Ortiguerra, those who were present at the dialogue were Commissioners Gregorio O. Bilog III, Pablo C. Espiritu Jr., Raul T. Aquino, Numeriano D. Villena, Herminio V. Suelo, Perlita B. Velasco, Teresita C. Lora, Mercedes P. Lacap, Dolores P. Beley, Napoleon M. Menese, Romeo L. Go, Angelo A. Palaña, Leonardo L. Leonida, Nieves V. de Castro, Alex A. Lopez, and Executive Clerk Floserfida T. Trinidad.

On the side of the DOLE, Undersecretary Hans Leo J. Cacdac, Director Rebecca C. Chato of the Bureau of Labor Relations, and Atty. Grace M. Tan, Secretary Baldoz’s chief of staff, attended. (PNA) LOR/pr/rsm

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