SwissCham Philippines collaborates with DOLE to navigate labor regulations amid digital transformation

Posted on April 3, 2024

The Swiss Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (SwissCham Philippines) convened a breakfast meeting on March 20, 2024, with Atty. Benedicto Ernesto R. Bitonio Jr., the Undersecretary for Labor Relations, Policy, and International Affairs Cluster at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). The gathering aimed to delve into the current landscape of labor relations and laws, examine the challenges posed by digitalization, and outline avenues for private sector engagement in governmental initiatives. SwissCham Philippines Chairperson, Ma. Christine Fajardo, commenced the session by underscoring the role of innovation in supporting human capital development and advancing the Philippine Labor and Employment Plan for 2023-2028, a key pillar of the Philippine Development Plan.

In a message of support, Swiss Ambassador to the Philippines, His Excellency Ambassador Dr. Nicolas Brühl, underscored the imperative of collaborative efforts in understanding and enriching the labor landscape, both domestically and globally. Ambassador Brühl emphasized the necessity for workforce resilience and adaptability amidst the challenges posed by swift technological advancements, climate change, and the enduring repercussions of the global pandemic. He lauded the Philippines’ potential to emerge as a frontrunner in sectors like IT, BPO, and renewable energy, encouraging stakeholders to cultivate a regulatory environment conducive to growth and to prioritize education and training in emerging sectors.

Undersecretary Bitonio Jr. outlines the Philippine Labor and Employment Plan’s strategic vision at the SwissCham Philippines breakfast meeting, emphasizing alignment with national socioeconomic goals.

Undersecretary Benedicto Ernesto R. Bitonio Jr. presented the Philippine Labor and Employment Plan (LEP) as a strategic blueprint for achieving labor and employment objectives aligned with the national socioeconomic agenda. In his presentation, Undersecretary Bitonio highlighted positive economic indicators post-pandemic, noting a surge in employment rates coupled with a decline in unemployment figures. However, he acknowledged the persistent challenge of ensuring job quality, a focal point addressed by the LEP through strategies aimed at maximizing employment opportunities, improving labor market governance, and establishing an inclusive social protection system.

Moreover, the forum facilitated an open discussion on contemporary workplace arrangements, such as the work-from-home setup and the potential implementation of a four-day workweek to mitigate carbon emissions. Participants actively engaged in discussions concerning the feasibility, merits, and challenges associated with these alternative work structures, pointing to the importance of striking a balance between organizational needs, employee well-being, and environmental sustainability. The dialogue underscored the significance of adaptable labor regulations and collaborative endeavors in navigating the evolving dynamics of the modern workplace landscape.

Atty. Benedicto Ernesto R. Bitonio Jr., Undersecretary for Labor Relations, Policy, and International Affairs Cluster at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), engages in dialogue with members of the Swiss Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (SwissCham Philippines) during a breakfast meeting held on 20 March 2024 for updates on labor regulations in the Philippines.
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