MBC Labor Day Statement 2023

30 April 2023 – The Makati Business Club honors Philippine workers on this Labor Day. They have enabled the recovery from the pandemic even as inflation reached a 14-year high. We respectfully urge the government to redouble its efforts to reduce inflation to make it easier for working Filipinos to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

In a global economy that may be growing at a slower rate and where technology is adding to competitive pressures, MBC joins other members of the business sector in supporting programs that will enable Filipino workers to keep their jobs and get higher quality ones. For this reason, MBC is part of a 5-year project where business, government, and higher education institutions (HEIs) are working to grow the workforce with advanced manufacturing skills.1

High among the skills priorities is passing an Apprenticeship Bill which will enable businesses to train workers for available jobs and higher-skill jobs. Such a bill would allow adequate time for training — in line with practices in some of the world’s most labor-friendly countries — while ensuring it is not used to violate labor rights. We thank Labor Sec. Bienvenido Laguesma for supporting and the House of Representatives for passing HB 6253. We respectfully urge the Senate to prioritize passage of their version when Congress resumes session on May 8.

We commend the Administration for giving workers and businesses more flexibility with work arrangements by amending the rules for the Telecommuting Act and allowing BPOs to give their employees flexibility while keeping their incentives. We support efforts to give similar flexibility to workers and businesses in other industries including the important electronics sector. We support more dialogue on other measures that will promote flexibility and competitiveness while protecting labor rights and improving healthcare and social protections, including or especially for the rising number of “gig” workers. We support more dialogue on issues including wage subsidies during crises such as the pandemic, unemployment insurance, and portability of retirement benefit.

We commend the Administration and Congress for their support for public transportation and cycling and walking infrastructure, which can provide workers access to fast, safe, and affordable transport between work, home, and recreation. We urge them to expand these and other policies that can improve worker productivity and quality of life.

MBC believes that the most effective way to uplift Filipino lives is more and better jobs. We believe this is and should be the main objective of business investment and government policy. We re-commit ourselves to this today. (END)

1Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Development Project (AMDev), led by Unilab Inc. and funded by USAID.

2018 Column on Portable Benefits

2020 Statement (includes emergency wage subsidies)

2021 Column on Unemployment Insurance

2022 Statement (includes unemployment insurance, upskilling)