DOLE-7: More job opportunities, elevate labor education in 2024
CEBU CITY, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment Region VII, or DOLE-7 plans to fortify job opportunities and elevate labor education standards in 2024.
DOLE-7 has outlined a series of programs to improve every facet of workforce standard development in the local community.
In August 2023, the region witnessed a notable decline in its unemployment rate, dropping to 5.4 percent from 5.8 percent in 2022 due to the resumption of operations by companies and increased reliance on online job applications prompted by the pandemic.
With this, DOLE hopes to continue this momentum next year.
Lilia Estillore, the regional director of DOLE -7, said that one of their new programs is to augment and diversify work setups, fostering a collaborative effort between management and employees.
“Ang masahi-masahi wala manay storyahanay, ug adto sa mahalon, unsa may difference? Inenglish diay. Mao ra diay nakamahal. Ingon ana nga mga enhancement ang tagaan namo ug pundo,” Estillore said in a press conference on Friday, December 1.
Estillore said that the guidelines for the program have undergone a thorough review and now await only the necessary signature for official approval.
In addition, DOLE-7 is directing its attention towards a new initiative—the expansion of the Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES) to include the private sector.
According to Estillore, the department is actively pursuing strategies to encourage the private sector to engage in student employment since it is currently limited to the public sector only.
The job start program is also another development, which is slated to provide students with essential life skills training.
This training would encompass qualifications, attitudes, and behaviors necessary for their professional development.
“Dali na raba mangluod ron ang mga tawo. Life skills training would be how to live the lives, kinahanglan makalahutay gyud sila,” the DOLE-7 head said.
However, she noted that the more one transitions to different roles, the more the cost of experience increases.
Estillore expressed her intention to align the applicant’s experience with the needs of the company.
She emphasized her desire to concentrate on the program’s core objective, which is to gather feedback from employers regarding the specific qualities they seek or prefer to avoid in potential workers.
“Mukuha ta’g survey unsay reason nga ilang gi terminate, di nila ganahan, kahibaw man ta ana, but we want to know the actual unsay dili nila gusto,” the head of DOLE-7 said.
Estillore further highlighted their intention to collaborate with the Department of Education (DepEd) as she believed that labor education must be taught as early as kindergarten.
She explained that instilling foundational learnings of labor and employment can significantly contribute to shaping a well-informed and prepared workforce.
On December 8, DOLE-7 is set to host a job fair at SM Seaside, anticipating a surge in on-the-spot hires.
The job fair will feature 1,983 job vacancies from 20 participating employers. Key positions in demand include customer service representatives, production workers/operators, cashiers, baggers, laborers, carpenters, painters, casino dealers, and service crew.
Estillore mentioned that the agency plans to complement the job fair with targeted labor education sessions for graduating students.
The goal, the DOLE-7 chief said, is to equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge, transforming them into well-prepared candidates for a high chance of being hired on the spot.
In addition to ongoing preparations, Estillore reported that they have already conducted inspections on at least 3,000 establishments to assess compliance with a ₱33 minimum wage increase.
According to Estillore, approximately 75 percent of establishments adhered to the adjustment, while the remaining 25 percent were found to have violated the policy.
She mentioned that failure to implement the minimum wage increase will result in sanctions, including double indemnity.
While establishments were given a 75-day window to file exemptions, there were only three establishments that had filed for exemptions.
“If the exemption is not granted, they would pay 1 percent interest per day on those days when the increase has not been implemented,” Estillore explained.
The deadline for filing exemptions concluded on December 1 and a resolution for exemption applications is anticipated within the next 15 days.
Lastly, Estillore reiterated a reminder to employers regarding the 13th-month pay, emphasizing that the official deadline is December 24. Nonetheless, some employers have chosen to fulfill this obligation earlier, with disbursements made as early as November 15.
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