DOLE, NTF-ELCAC vow to safeguard workers’ freedom of association

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) committed to safeguarding the workers’ fundamental right to freedom of association while upholding the whole-of-nation approach to end local communist armed conflict. Officials of the DOLE and NTF-ELCAC recently met to promote a common understanding of freedom of association and strengthen areas of convergence in implementing the task force’s initiatives, DOLE said in a news release Thursday. The Aug. 2 meeting at Luxent Hotel, Quezon City is an offshoot of the DOLE-Bureau of Labor Relations’ (BLR) discussion with NTF-ELCAC on June 30 where freedom of association and its implications on the socio-economic agenda of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. were tackled. Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma vowed to strengthen the DOLE’s’ partnership with the anti-insurgency body and recognized efforts in fulfilling its mandate. He also assured continued support to the task force’s programs on labor education, livelihood training, and employment facilitation. ‘The DOLE plays an indispensable role in safeguarding and championing labor rights, including the fundamental right to freedom of association, a cornerstone for democratic and inclusive workspaces,’ Laguesma said. ‘From shaping policy and enforcing standards to promoting the welfare of workers, mediating labor disputes, and providing valuable education about rights and obligations, it forms the backbone of our workforce protection,’ he said, referring to workers’ freedom of association as stipulated in the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention No. 87. Meanwhile, NTF-ELCAC executive director Undersecretary Ernesto Torres Jr. identified areas of collaboration with the DOLE, such as the sustained initiative on the Barangay Development Program. It aims for the rehabilitation and development of barangays formerly established as guerilla fronts through the provision of farm-to-market roads, school buildings, water and sanitation systems, health stations, livelihood projects, rural electrification, reconstruction, housing, vaccination and immunization, and other assistance. Torres said a total of 14,000 former rebels were assisted through the DOLE Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (DILEEP), as of the first quarter of 2023. Of the number, 4,810 former rebels were given livelihood aid under the Kabuhayan Program and 9,190 others were provided emergency employment under the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) Program. Another area of collaboration identified by the NTF-ELCAC is an information drive on labor laws, regulations, and other relevant issues to capacitate the Joint Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict. The task force also sought the DOLE’s active participation and support to the different clusters and sub-clusters of which the Department is a member, such as the Basic Services Cluster; Poverty Reduction, Livelihood and Empowerment Cluster; Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program and Amnesty Program Cluster

Source: Philippines News Agency