Next DOLE chief Laguesma vows to be receptive to different labor policies

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 04 2022 02:42 PM

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MANILA — Bienvenido Laguesma, President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos' pick to lead the Labor department, said on Saturday that he would be receptive to proposed labor policies coming from groups with different political ideologies. 

"Hindi po ako mauupo sa DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) na sarado ang isip, na alam ko kung ano ang gagawin kasi ang pag-aaral at pakikinig is a continuing process hindi puwedeng sabihin mo na you have the monopoly of everything," Laguesma told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

He noted this, as he lamented what he called a "fragmented" trade union movement and an almost unchanged rate of unionization in the Philippines since he started serving in the department. 

If confirmed by the Commission on Appointments, Laguesma will serve his second stint as Labor Secretary. He served as DOLE chief under the administration of former President Joseph Estrada from 1998 to 2001.

"Naniniwala po ako na bilang kalihim ... Bahagi po sila ng mga sektor na dapat kong paglingkuran, pakinggan, at makipagtalakayan sa kanila kasi it's through engagement na mauunawaan mo saan ba sila nanggagaling ano ba ang pinaghuhugutan ng kanilang mga kahilingan," he added.

Laguesma, however, said that if the government and labor groups fail to come up with an agreement, the department has the "right" to propose a solution because "time is of the essence."

"Hindi puwede 'yung dilly-dally napakinggan mo lahat – di naman ako umaasa na there will always be a perfect or unanimous consent na makukuha mo sa isang usapin. At the end of the day kasama doon sa aking pagbabatayan ng aksiyon na aking gagawin ... Ang tinitingnan talaga 'yung kagalingan ng higit na nakararami pero hindi babalewalain 'yung kapakanan at karapatan naman ng mga sinasabi nating minority," he said.

After he confirmed his return to the department, Laguesma has said he doesn't have a "magic wand" or quick-fix solution to the issues surrounding the labor sector.

He earlier said that there was nothing wrong with contractual employment, but lamented what he described as "abuse" in the non-regularization of contractual workers, colloquially known as "endo."

He had also expressed interest in encouraging more workers to stay in the Philippines instead of seeking employment abroad under the administration of Marcos Jr.