What can the labor sector expect?

“The DOLE cannot simply promote local employment without vigorous industrialization and healthy commerce, and this Laguesma understood by promising to work with industries and the business community.

The incoming administration of Marcos Jr. has made clear its intention to keep the labor sector at heart, as it is the first sector to complete its Cabinet-level appointments even before the presumptive president is actually proclaimed.

Well-known labor leaders Bienvenido Laguesma and Susan “Toots” Ople have accepted Camp Marcos’ offer to lead the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the new Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) respectively. .
Laguesma and Ople are two of the best choices for the positions they will assume. Laguesma served as DOLE secretary under President Joseph Estrada, and also held various government positions in other administrations.

Ople grew up breathing the working air, being the daughter of longtime labor secretary and senator Blas F. Ople, a stalwart of the early Marcos administration. It was actually during Ople’s time in the Ministry of Labor that the Philippines first came in and developed the business of exporting labor to help the economy.

While Laguesma joined the business community after his time in government, Toots Ople focused on helping Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) through his non-governmental organization, Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute.

So soon, it is reassuring to hear the new Secretary of Labor say he wants to create a “workable formula” to balance the concerns of employers and workers and to tackle unemployment in the country caused by the harmful effects of the coronavirus pandemic. He said he would push to boost local employment, although he acknowledged the “social costs” of overseas employment, particularly its impact on Filipino family life.

“I would make my case for more jobs…local jobs. Because while I watch overseas employment as providing us with the necessary foreign exchange remittances, I also watch the social costs that come with it – separation from family, too much reliance on remittances foreigners, spending more than you actually earn and not saving for the future,” Laguesma said.

The DOLE cannot be satisfied with promoting local employment without vigorous industrialization and healthy trade, and this, Laguesma understood by promising to work with industries and the business world.

His goal is that Filipino workers “really have the opportunity to choose to stay with their families, maybe not with very lucrative wages, but to enjoy and probably watch their own children grow up.”

Such a laudable goal, indeed, even though we recognize the difficulties in achieving it.