Employment Convenant Signed; Sectors to Promote Industrial Peace, Sustain Economic Dev't

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With President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as one of the witnesses, labor groups, business leaders and representatives from government signed yesterday the Social Covenant for Full Employment to promote industrial peace and sustain the economic development of the country.

The covenant was signed during the 25th National Conference of Employers at the Westin Philippine Plaza Hotel where President Arroyo was the guest of honor.

Labor and Employment Secretary Patricia A. Sto. Tomas and Trade Industry Secretary Cesar A. V. Purisima signed in behalf of the government.

Representing the labor sector in the covenant were Avelino V. Valerio (KILUSAN-TUCP), Victorino F. Balais (PTGWO-TUCP), Dominador M. Tuvera (TUCP), Ramon M. Jabar (FFW), and Vladimir R. Tupaz (TUPAS).

The business sector was represented by Rene Soriano (ECOP), Sergio Ortiz Luis Jr. (Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc.), Francis Chua (Chamber of Commerce Foundation of the Philippines), Meneleo Carlos Jr. (FPI), and Eduardo G. Ong (PCCI).

The other business sector representatives were Miguel Varela (Philippines, Inc.), Donald G. Dee (CONGEP), Feliciano Torres (Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturing Association of the Philippines), Vishnu Hathiramani (Filipino-Indian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines), Robin Sy (Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry), Manolito Madrasto (Philippine Constructors Association Inc.), and Grace Abella-Zata (PMAP).

In the covenant, the tripartite partners agreed to work closely to help create policies conducive to domestic and foreign investments and thus ensure the most beneficial uses of land, capital, technology and human resources.

The partners also agreed to:

Continuously build the economy by reducing the cost of doing business by eradicating red tape, intensifying anti-corruption campaigns, maintaining peace and order, improving revenue collection and guaranteeing greater transparency in the enforcement of government policies affecting business.

Support the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) including rural industries and village enterprises and livelihood programs by providing access to credit, technology and training.

Support efforts at expanding access to productive resources such as capital, technology and entrepreneurial skills to informal sector workers, women, out-of-school youth and other marginalized sectors of society.

Share responsibility in promoting industrial peace and enhancing constructive and harmonious relations between workers and employers, consistent with democratic principles.

To maintain industrial peace, the parties agreed to observe mutual respect and consensus-building in all aspects of labor-management relations, comply with standards of International Labor Organization (ILO), respect tripartism premised on legitimate representation, respect organizational rights, collective bargaining agreements, and use maximum restraint in the use of strikes and lockouts and the promotion of alternative modes of settling labor-management disputes.

"The signing of the covenant further boosts investors confidence and sends a message of economic and political stability despite the incoming election in May. This partnership among the tripartite sectors affirms that our economy can sustain beyond the lashes of economic adjustments prevailing in the region," Sto. Tomas said.

Industrial peace

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo yesterday praised labor and employer groups for forging a covenant to promote industrial peace and sustain the countrys economic development.

The President said that the "Social Covenant for Full Employment" signed by five labor federations and 13 commercial and industrial groups would help strengthen the gains made by her administration such as raising wages for industrial and agricultural workers and increasing foreign investments pouring into the country. …