Labor laws seen as Duterte’s first edicts as 16th president

MANILA — Enrolled bulls, among them the Anti-Age Discrimination Law, could be among the first laws which are expected to be signed into law in the first few days in office of president-elect Rodrigo Duterte, Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles said Wednesday.
Nograles said these three new laws are an addition to the six labor measures that were passed by his committee and were recently signed into law under the Aquino administration
With six laws passed as Chairman of the House Committee on Labor, and with three more which are expected to be signed by President-elect Duterte, Nograles now holds the record as the most productive labor committee chair in the House of Representatives followed by former Nothern Samar Rep. Emil Ong with four laws.
Apart from the proposed Anti-Age Discrimination Law, the other labor measures which are expected to “break in” President-elect Duterte’s executive authority to enact or veto laws that were passed by Congress are the proposed Jobstart Law and the proposed expansion of Republic Act 9547 otherwise known as Special Program for Employment of Students Law.
With only less than a month before Duterte is formally inaugurated as the country’s 16th President of the Republic, Nograles said that the three important labors laws might be the among the earliest edicts under his presidency.
“These three laws have yet to be transmitted to Malacanang and with only a few days before the historic inaugural of President Duterte, I believe that the measures will be among the first laws which he will sign into law. I’m just happy that these laws came from my Committee,” Nograles explained.
The veteran lawmaker said that once passed into law, the proposed Anti-Age Discrimination Law prohibits employers from publishing or posting ads indicating age preferences, requiring applicants to declare their age, and declining application or laying off employees due to age.
The proposed Jobstart Law on the other hand would institutionalize the labor department’s JobStart Philippines Program to help the unemployed youth in finding jobs by enhancing their knowledge and skills acquired in formal education or technical training.
The measure aims to cover at least 70,000 JobStart program beneficiaries by 2020.
The proposal to amend certain provisions of Republic Act 9547 otherwise known as an “Act Strengthening and Expanding the Coverage of the Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES) ” aims to expand existing government programs to require persons or entities employing at least 10 persons may employ poor but deserving students, out-of-school youth, dependents of displaced workers or would-be displaced workers due to business closures or work stoppages, intending to enroll in any secondary, tertiary, technical-vocational institutions.
Under the proposal , students employed in activities related to their course may earn equivalent academic and practicum or on-the-job training credits as may be determined by the appropriate government agencies.
Through Nograles’ stewardship, the House Committee on Labor steered the enactment of the following important labor laws:
1. RA 10691 which institutionalizes the establishment of Public Employment Service Office in all provinces, cities and municipalities nationwide.
2. RA 10706 which provides protection for seafarers and other workers against so-called ambulance-chasing and the imposition of excessive fees. Ambulance-chasing is labor malpractice of soliciting, personally or through an agent, from seafarers, or their heirs, the pursuit of any claim against them employers for the purpose of recovery of monetary claim or benefit, including legal interest, arising from accident, illness or death, in exchange of an amount or fee which shall be retained or deducted from the monetary claim or benefit granted to or awarded to the seafarers or their heirs.
3. RA 10741 which aims to strengthen the operation of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) in order to make the body more responsive in resolving labor disputes.
4. RA 10757 which reduces the retirement age of surface mine workers from 60 to 50.
5. RA 10771 which is also known as the Green Jobs Law. Through this law, so-called “green companies” or businesses that are involved in the production of environment friendly products and those that offer services to promote environmental protection and conservation are entitled to fiscal incentives that may include additional deduction of labor expense and duty free importation of capital equipment.
6. RA 10789 which reduces the retirement age of racehorse jockeys from 60 to 50 years old. Sammy Martin/PNA/