Participants from the government, labor, and employer sectors together with DOLE Undersecretary Carmela I. Torres, Assistant Secretary Paul Vincent W. Añover, BLE Director Patrick P. Patriwirawan, Jr., and former NEDA Director General Dante Canlas (LEP Consultant).

The Department of Labor and Employment-Bureau of Local Employment (BLE) supported the Department’s various units in the conduct of the Area-Based Consultations on the Labor and Employment Plan (LEP) 2023-2028 in March 2023. The series of consultations were held to gather inputs and recommendations from various regional stakeholders to ensure that the upcoming LEP will address the specific needs and challenges of the local labor market.

The consultation was organized by the DOLE in partnership with the DOLE Regional Offices VI, X, and NCR and the International Labour Organization (ILO). It also convened various stakeholders from government agencies, industry associations, trade unions, and academic institutions. The area-based consultations were held inIloilo City on 15-17 March 2023 for the Visayas cluster; in Cagayan de Oro City on 26-28 March 2023 for the Mindanao cluster; and in Quezon City on 30-31 March 2023 for the Luzon cluster.

In his message of support, ILO Country Director Khalid Hassan extended the organization’s full support and commended the government’s strong commitment in bringing together decent work priorities to achieve social justice and decent work for all.

“Decent work must also be the guiding principle of the new Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023-2028. The PDP focuses on reinvigorating job creation, accelerating poverty reduction and effecting economic and social transformation for a prosperous, inclusive and resilient society.,” Hassan said.

Hassan said that the ILO looks forward to the LEP and its link with the PDP to realize our shared goals for decent work and social justice.

On the part of the DOLE, Undersecretary Carmela I. Torres underscored the importance of crafting a labor and employment plan hinged on strong partnerships with the sectors the DOLE continues to serve.

“We want to assure you that the DOLE is committed to providing responsive and efficient services to our constituents. We will continue to strengthen our partnerships with local government units, employers, workers’ organizations, and all stakeholders to ensure that our programs and services are delivered effectively and efficiently,” Undersecretary Torres said.

The Plan, according to Undersecretary Torres, “shall be a testament to the shared responsibility of achieving an improved labor market that creates more, quality, and green jobs and protects and promotes the welfare of the Filipino workforce.”

The LEP highlights the key priorities in promoting full, decent, and productive employment, achieving an improved labor market governance, and institutionalizing an equitable social protection system.

During the consultation, BLE Director Patrick P. Patriwirawan, Jr. presented the current labor market situation in the regions and the initiatives undertaken to address the existing gaps and challenges in terms of the employment priority area.

The stakeholders provided valuable insights on the issues and concerns in their respective areas. They highlighted the need for more and quality employment opportunities, skills and professional development programs, and support for the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). They also raised concerns about the lack of decent work, underemployment of youth and women, and the impact of climate change and the Fourth Industrial Revolution on the labor market.

The DOLE assured the stakeholders that their inputs and recommendations will be considered in the crafting of the LEP 2023-2028. They emphasized the importance of a comprehensive and inclusive plan that addresses the specific needs of the regions and promotes decent work for all.

In his closing remarks, Assistant Secretary Paul Vincent W. Añover enjoined the participants to continue the strong partnerships forged in the various area-based consultations and to work together towards creating a more responsive, fair, and efficient labor market to support the Filipinos’ income-earning ability to sustain their daily needs.

The LEP 2023-2028 shall serve as the framework for the DOLE and its partners to guide their programs, policies, and projects in the next six years. The area-based consultations are part of the Department’s commitment to ensuring that the upcoming plan is responsive to the needs and aspirations of the stakeholders in the regions.

The LEP will be presented in a high-level focus group meeting, the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council Meeting, and the National Tripartite Conference to be conducted in May and June 2023.