Foreign traders say doing business more fun in PH

By Mayen Jaymalin, The Philippine Star

Posted at Sep 28 2012 07:44 AM | Updated as of Sep 28 2012 07:31 PM

MANILA, Philippines - For many foreign investors, doing business is now more fun in the Philippines.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) yesterday reported that many foreign investors are now thinking of relocating their operations in the country.

“The Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines believes the Philippines is in a sweet spot as foreign investors are seriously studying the possibility of relocating their manufacturing activities in the Philippines,” Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said.

Based on a JFC’s 2011 Arangkada report, Baldoz said foreign investors now have a positive outlook towards the country’s business climate.

The JFC is composed of the American, Australian-New Zealand, Canadian, European, Japanese, and Korean chambers of commerce, as well as the Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters, Inc. (PAMURI).

Baldoz recently met the JFC members to discuss issues affecting the business climate and strengthen partnership between DOLE and the business group.

The labor chief said the JFC stressed the need for the government to promote investor-friendly policies and environment.

She said they also discussed recommendations meant to generate one million new jobs per year and enable the economy to cope in a highly competitive global business environment, and achieve higher inclusive economic growth.

Every year, Baldoz said the JFC evaluates and rates government agencies, including DOLE, on their action and performance.

The JFC rated the DOLE with six stars (completed) for allowing firms that provide same day services to overseas clients to give employees, who work on Philippine holidays, substitute days off with pay without holiday premium.

“It gave the DOLE five stars for achieving substantial progress on the issue of maintaining the low level of labor disruption of business operations (and) allow(ing) self-regulation of companies,” Baldoz said.

The JFC also gave DOLE four stars for having “started” work/reforms on the following issues/recommendations: (1) make wage increases consistent with inflation and productivity, (2) modernize the 36-year old Labor Code to end the disadvantage it creates for the Philippines with regional competitors, (3) improve the speed and fairness of the adjudication of labor cases filed before the NLRC, (4) further narrow the skills-jobs mismatch by revising the curricula and training. Ensure that skills needed for the Seven Big Winner sectors are included in the curricula, and increase interaction between the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the private sector.

Overall, Baldoz said, the JFC gave DOLE a more than satisfactory rating.

“While the evaluation was mostly favorable, the JFC believes there are a few more areas where dramatic improvements can be made,” she said.