Solon wants more worker representation in social security bodies

MANILA – A party-list lawmaker on Saturday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to provide genuine representation from the labor sector in social security institutions to strengthen social dialogue towards employment recovery.

During the Task Group on Economic Recovery and the National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS) Job Summit, TUCP party-list Rep. Raymond Mendoza said strengthening social dialogue mechanisms in government institutions and the tripartite social security institutions – the Social Security System (SSS), Pag-IBIG, and Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) – by providing genuine worker representation, should be achieved to help restart economic activities.

“We need representatives of labor in those agencies. That is our commitment to the ILO (International Labour Organization) to ensure that the voice of the workers (is) heard in these crucial institutions,” Mendoza said.

This was part of the recommendations in the labor sector agenda to support government efforts on its national employment recovery strategy.

“Through a process of a broad-based and genuine dialogue, we were able to come up with short-term, medium-term, and long-term recommendations that will help in restarting the economy, restoring consumer and business confidence, upgrading and retooling the workforce, and facilitating labor market access, which we deem as necessary to help improve our labor market situation,” he said.

Aside from genuine representation of labor, Mendoza said income support, including an immediate PHP15,000 wage subsidy for workers in heavily affected industries, instead of one-time financial assistance, should be released in a transparent, efficient, effective, and speedy manner.

For restoring consumer and business confidence, he said the implementation of Covid-19 response policies and workplace regulations must be clear and consistent; while the implementation of occupational safety and health protocols should be strengthened.

Mendoza noted that the prioritization and rollout of the vaccination program must be reviewed to give way to workers who are ensuring the survival of the economy.

For upgrading and retooling the workforce, he said paid training courses to encourage the unemployed to improve their skills must be provided, while skills that are relevant to the digital economy must be promoted.

As for facilitating labor market access, policies on flexible work arrangements must be reviewed; a work guarantee program should be implemented; and referral and placement for employment must be intensified by improving employment systems for skills profiling. (PNA)

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