Speech of President Aquino at the launching of Public-Private Partnership on Labor Governance

His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
During the launching of Public-Private Partnership on Labor Governance
[Delivered at Heroes Hall, Malacanñan Palace on March 21, 2011]
P-NoyImage via WikipediaIn our efforts to do the best we can in our respective jobs, there are times when our interests run counter to those of other parties. These are the things from which conflict arises. And conflict consequently begets inefficiency and a derailing of work—work that is vital to our survival; work that we do to sustain ourselves and our loved ones and, ultimately, to live fulfilled, dignified lives.
Since 1992, the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (NTIPC) has quietly done its work to prevent and to resolve such conflicts between labor and management. It has enhanced the way the labor sector and management interact. It has created an avenue through which management and labor alike can undergo dialogue and reach mutually acceptable resolutions. Through the NTIPC, we have faced these labor-management issues while minimizing work stoppages or strikes that cripple our economy, and court proceedings that end up needlessly eating up valuable resources.
The six resolutions that the NTIPC has presenting today will further enhance its ability to maintain peace between the sometimes contending factions of labor and management. This undoubtedly deserves recognition.
I know that you have had your share of challenges in fulfilling your mandate, and thus I would like to remind you all that you are not treading this difficult path alone. Rest assured in the knowledge that our administration is exerting all possible efforts to make certain that we foster an atmosphere that balances these sometimes competing interests, all while creating an environment in which productive dialogue is more possible.
At the bottom line of this is ensuring the livelihood of our people. In fact, this is part of our 22-point labor agenda, which has the overarching goal of investing in our most valuable resource—our human capital, or in other words, all of you. In this vein, we have already begun a number of initiatives that will further empower Filipino workers and businesses so that they can be more competitive in the global milieu.
We have followed through on our administration’s agenda to keep our workers safe, whether they are here at home, or abroad. For instance, we have launched a campaign against those carrying fake Professional Review Commission IDs in order to strengthen our advocacy against fake professionals. We have also instituted the Safety Milestone Awards, which seeks to give recognition to those that promote a culture of safety in the workplace. A group in the Department of Labor and Employment has also been burning the midnight oil to constantly update the handbooks and manuals we give to our people so that they are kept aware of current laws and regulations on labor standards.
On the side of the businesses, we have reached agreements with a number of groups. In particular, I look forward to the implementation of our Memorandum of Cooperation with the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce, and our Memorandum of Agreement with the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry. These will help us stimulate discussion on strategies to further strengthen our competitive advantage as a country and push forward our small- and medium-sized enterprises as new avenues for employment.
We have also begun work to push forward priority measures that will benefit our workers. One such initiative is the amendment of the bill that prohibits women from working at night. Currently, our female call center workers, who contribute heavily to our economy, have faced legal challenges as regards nightshifts at work.
I have to tell you, though—the prioritization of this act came through collaborative work between the Executive and the Legislative branches of government. Through our cooperation, we have finalized a list of bills that we want passed as soon as reasonably possible for the benefit of the entire Filipino people.
This is the same spirit of cooperation that is asked of all of us. In the end, what we have to remember is that as labor and management continue bargaining and negotiating with one another, the spirit of good will must not be lost. We must engage in discourse. We all know that bargaining is a tool that allows us to be heard, but we must also realize that it is more so a process in which we are given the opportunity to stop and listen to each other’s concerns.
At the end of the day, if we learn to consider the positions of our fellowmen, we will realize that we are all working for the same thing, despite our small disagreements. Do we not want the daylight that has finally dawned in this country to last long enough to shine upon our children? Do we not want to rebuild this country that had previously been decimated by the darkness of corruption and deceit? We must realize through institutions such as the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council that the things we are pursuing in life are more similar than we think—security, the opportunity to pursue our dreams, and the right to work hard so that our children might enjoy a decent future. Knowing this, we must realize that what is required of us during times of conflict is not firm disagreement, but fruitful discourse. We must want to listen as much as we want to be heard. We must be mindful of the need to transform our mindsets: We must step forward from the perils of binary opposition, to the benefits offered by a shared vision.
Through this, let us show the world that the idea of partnership is alive in this country, that Public-Private Partnerships, for example, transcend the typical economic relationship and develops bonds that are both successful and trusting. Let us show the world that we are not easily divided by small concerns. Let us show them that inside us still burns the true Filipino spirit of bayanihan—of cooperation, of trust, and of communal responsibility.
And in closing, may I just really re-emphasize the philosophy behind all of our works with regards to the relationships between labor and management existing in this administration:
Some point in time small companies realized that the future was the future of all parties concerned. Somewhere along the line, when they grew, they forgot this basic tenet and it became a dialogue of you versus them, or our interest versus your interests. The conflict that arose from such thinking lead—I really believe—to a serious hampering to our country’s potential and growth. What entity can exist with a market that is kept constantly small? So our philosophy has always been: We are partners in this endeavor. The success of a firm is not, as some sectors of labor will say, all due to labor or, as some members of the employees sector are concerned, due to employers—but rather: The cohesive working toward a common vision by both sectors will lead us to the promised land. To that end, when I was a member of the legislature, I did propose that let us ensure that there is a profit-sharing mechanism that only happens when a company has reached higher growth. This was automatically rejected by certain quarters who did not want to share.
So would that be the greater philosophy, or the better philosophy? Let us not share the constantly shrinking economy? Or should we share the constantly growing economy, because all of us are pulling in the same direction?
May I leave you with that thought.
Good day. Thank you to all.