President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Wednesday signed into law Republic Act (RA) 11962 or the “Trabaho Para sa Bayan Act” (Jobs for the Nation Act) and has directed agencies to hasten the issuance of the law’s Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).
During the signing ceremony held at Malacanang, the President said the law, which he said is “a significant milestone towards the sustainable and inclusive development of our country.”
He said it will help address issues such as low quality jobs, skills mismatch and underemployment as well as “the need to update the skills of our workers and promote the use of digital technologies particularly for our MSMEs (micro, small, and medium enterprises).”
“I therefore direct the Council and all concerned government agencies to fast-track the issuance of the IRR of the law so that our workers and stakeholders can immediately benefit from it,” he said.
Marcos said the law provides for the creation of the Trabaho Para sa Bayan Interagency Council, which “will craft a master plan for employment generation and recovery.”
The Council will be chaired by the Director General of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and will be co-chaired by the secretaries of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
Marcos encouraged other government agencies and the local government units (LGUs) to work with the Council “to ensure the effective integration of the plan into their policies and programs.”
The Presidential Communications Office (PCO), in a statement, said the Trabaho Para sa Bayan Inter-Agency Council (TPB-IAC) will also hold a “comprehensive analysis of the employment status and labor market in the country and will ensure the effective use of resources, harmonizing and complementing all government efforts.”
Marcos also asked executives of DOLE and NEDA “to harmonize the labor and employment plan 2023-2028 and the Trabaho Para sa Bayan plan to ensure that all government efforts and resources will be effectively and efficiently managed.”
“To our businesses, especially our MSMEs, we will continue to provide support and other incentives such as increased access to financing and capital to promote self reliance and spur employment generation,” he said.
The President said the law will incentivize employers and other stakeholders that will further ensure workers’ skills development as well as support technology transfer and knowledge sharing.
“With this concerted effort, I am confident that we will not only achieve the goals of this law but we will also realize our vision of Bagong Pilipinas,” he added.
Commitment to progress
House of Representatives Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez said the enactment of the “Trabaho Para sa Bayan Act” demonstrates the Marcos administration’s unwavering dedication to the welfare and prosperity of Filipinos.
“By signing this law into effect, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has reaffirmed his dedication to the welfare of every Filipino, regardless of their background or circumstance,” said Romualdez, who joined Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri as among the lawmakers who witnessed the signing of the new law.
“The Trabaho Para sa Bayan Act underscores our government’s commitment to inclusivity, equity, and progress for all Filipinos. It is a testament to the President’s vision that a prosperous and thriving nation can only be built on the foundation of gainful employment and economic stability,” he added.
RA 11962 calls for a job-creation plan with three-, six- and 10-year timelines to aid the post-pandemic recovery.
It would serve as the state’s master plan for employment generation and recovery to realize short- and long-term goals and visions for the country.
Romualdez said the multi-faceted approach of the new law to generate employment would ensure that our country’s recovery efforts are both robust and sustainable as he pledged the House’s support for the proper implementation of the law.
He called on all stakeholders to work together to realize the vision embodied in the TBP Act.
“Together, we can realize the vision of a nation where job opportunities abound, where families are secure, and where the Filipino spirit of resilience and determination shines ever brighter. The Trabaho Para sa Bayan Act is a symbol of hope and progress, and it is now our collective responsibility to turn this vision into reality,” Romualdez said.
As envisioned under the law, the job creation plan would offer incentives to stimulate investment to address unemployment, underemployment, and the rising informality of work arrangements. It likewise seeks to provide skills training to enhance the employability of workers and support micro, small and medium enterprises.
Toward this end, the plan should also include incentives for offering training, technology, knowledge transfer, upskilling, reskilling, and enterprise-based training programs, such as apprenticeship, work immersion, and on-the-job training.
It also seeks to identify priority sectors and key emerging industries with high employment potential and strong prospects for attracting direct investment.
It likewise calls for a national reintegration program for documented and undocumented overseas Filipino workers.
A labor group also backed the signing of the new law, describing it as a significant step toward addressing unemployment, underemployment, and youth unemployment in the country.
“Tamang direksyon, ang hakbang na ito (This is a step in the right direction). We believe that meaningful employment opportunities are not just a necessity but a fundamental right,” Federation of Free Workers (FFW) national vice president Jun Ramirez said in a statement.
“The TPB Act represents a positive stride toward realizing this right for all,” he added.
Ramirez added that the TPB Act’s commitment to creating a national masterplan to combat these pressing issues aligns with FFW’s mission to empower Filipino workers and improve their economic prospects.
“However, while we celebrate this milestone, we must also recognize that a crucial element of fostering gainful employment and a thriving workforce lies in education, particularly in higher education provided by State Universities and Colleges (SUCs),” he said.
He said SUCs and vocational, technical and engineering institutions have been instrumental in shaping the future of the Philippine labor force, as these play an indispensable role in preparing our citizens for the challenges of the fourth Industrial Revolution.
“We urge Congress to recognize the indispensable role of SUCs in preparing our citizens for the challenges and opportunities of the digital age and to allocate the necessary resources to support their mission,” Ramirez added. (PNA)