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Monday, February 09, 2009



Malacañan Palace, Manila
09 February 2009



We, stakeholders representing the business sector, labor (formal and informal sectors), the academe, church-based groups, non-government organizations, and government, believe in the resiliency of the Filipino, the excellence of our workers, and the economic dynamism that has propelled the country to unparalleled fiscal stability amid global challenges.

We convene at the Heroes’ Hall, Malacañan, Manila on 09 February 2009 to signify our collective resolve to join hands to address the adverse effects of the crisis, as advocates of hope and national unity, through concrete steps and institutional partnerships at the national and community levels.

We call on the Filipino people to unite behind efforts and initiatives to promote business viability and growth, preserve and create jobs, and provide support for affected domestic and overseas workers.

In this spirit, we join hands against the global financial crisis and commit to:

Support for Business Growth

1. We support efforts to reduce the cost of doing business through:

· Government to continue its efforts to bring down the cost of power

· Mandatory implementation of automated import/export processing including electronic processing of payments

· Acceleration of BOC computerization (liquidation module)

· Faster transaction for import permits for non-PEZA registered firms

· Relaxation of criteria for extension of income tax holiday

· Explore the possibility of suspending tariff reduction for 5 years or one product cycle

· Provision of subsidy for fuel of bus transport to and from the work place

· Lowering the costs of business licenses and permits

· Review of revenue regulations on allowable tax deductions like expenses for trainings and research

· Promote best practices among local governments on how to cut steps in the acquisition of business permits and other relevant procedures

· Strict enforcement of existing government regulations such as EO 45 regarding timeframes for approval of applications and the release of required clearances, permits, and licenses

2. We call for policies to improve marketing of products

· Provision of government assistance on research and development, and packaging (tax incentives, compliance to standards), particularly for the Herbal and Health and Wellness Industry

· Consumer advocacy groups to advocate for “Buy Filipino Products” here and abroad

· DFA and DTI to optimize economic diplomacy to promote Philippine products, preserve existing markets and search for viable opportunities to link local suppliers with global markets

3. We will extend comprehensive package of assistance to emerging industries and Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)

· DTI One-Town-One-Product (OTOP)

· Landbank of the Philippines [LBP] and the Development Bank of the Philippines [DBP] Technical Assistance on Entrepreneurial Skills using its Development and Business Assistance Centers nationwide

· Work with government television and radio stations to promote MSMEs and OTOP

· DoT to integrate MSMEs and OTOP in its domestic tourism programs as a way to showcase indigenous products and local traditions

· DOLE, DENR and DOE to pursue initiatives supportive of creating and sustaining Green Collar Jobs

4. We call for intensified efforts to curb all forms of smuggling with the private sector as integral partner in the implementation of measures,

· Strengthen operations of the Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group

· Stronger enforcement of EO 156 and RA 8506 on the entry of 2nd hand cars.

5. We support the credit enhancement of borrowers in terms of credit guarantee from the Philippine Export- Import Credit Agency and the Small Business Corporation. We call for the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas [BSP] to provide incentives to participating banks providing credit to the sectors affected by the crisis.

6. We recommend the representation of the export community and overseas service providers to the Philippine Export-Import Credit Board.

7. We pursue policies toward providing tax breaks and incentives to business, through administrative action for the waiver of liquidation requirements for imported materials of export products sold in DTI-sponsored trade fairs (for cancelled orders)

8. We support initiatives to promote and encourage corporate social responsibility (CSR) among firms

Support to Workers’ Safety Nets

1. We commit support for livelihood projects to provide income to workers through new allocation of:

· PhP 1 Billion under the “LBP Negosyo Program for Global Financial Crisis Affected Workers” and the DBP Livelihood Program

· PhP 1 Billion Loan Portfolio under the OWWA Filipino Expatriate Livelihood Support Fund (FELSF)

· PhP 1.38 Billion under the DENR Livelihood Investment in support for displaced workers in the uplands

· PhP 3.5 Million under the DOE Micro-Finance for the Transport Sector

· Php 402 Million under the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program

· Php 50 Million for the DOLE’s Reintegration Program

2. We support the allocation of at least 1.5% of the 2009 operating budget of government agencies solely for the temporary hiring of displaced workers and their dependents for projects such as Green Collar Jobs, reforestation and NARS.

3. We support the creation of emergency employment opportunities through government pump-priming projects, particularly

35,000 Jobs for Bantay-Gubat and other DENR projects for the upland displaced workers
36,500 Jobs from Farm-to-Market Road Projects of DA
81,134 Jobs from Irrigation Projects of DA
10,400 Jobs from Organic Fertilizer Production Project of DA
3,645 Jobs from Goat Dispersal Project of DA
27,222 Jobs from Out-of-School Youth (OYSTER) Program – Roadside Maintenance of DPWH
23,550 Jobs from TUPAD and ISLA Programs of DOLE
1,022 Jobs from Laguna Water Lily Development of DTI
506,082 Jobs from DPWH
100,000 Jobs from the Repair of Classrooms and Schoolbuildings of DepEd and SUCs

4. We support the creation of employment opportunities, in particular the projected 80,000 to 100,000 jobs among member-firms of the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) and other jobs that will be created in other buoyant industries like food manufacturing, tourism, pharmaceuticals, and the healthcare industry.

5. We support the efforts of the recruitment, manning industry and trade unions to fill up 400,000 overseas jobs based on POEA registered active job orders of accredited principals and local agencies through government-private sector partnership on strategic skills training, upgrading and ethical recruitment practices to address the problem of job-skills mismatch and the conduct of jobs fairs to facilitate access to job vacancies.

6. We support fast and efficient access of displaced workers to services through the LGU-based one-stop worker assistance centers and in municipalities/cities severely affected by the crisis, initially in Calamba, Laguna; Rosario, Cavite; Angeles City, Pampanga; and Cebu City to house all government services such as:

ü Profiling of displaced workers and dependents
ü Issuance of certificate of eligibility for all assistance packages
ü Information on all assistance packages for displaced workers
ü Information on job vacancies
ü Job-matching/placement
ü Livelihood assistance
ü Training and scholarship vouchers
ü Issuance of pre-employment documents

7. We support fast and efficient access of displaced workers to services through PEZA among firms based in PEZA zones one-stop worker assistance centers such as:

ü Profiling of displaced workers and dependents
ü Issuance of certificate of eligibility for all assistance packages
ü Information on all assistance packages for displaced workers
ü Information on job vacancies
ü Job-matching/placement
ü Livelihood assistance
ü Training and scholarship vouchers
ü Issuance of pre-employment documents

8. We pursue public-private partnerships to facilitate job placement/training and retooling of affected workers

· People Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP) and the PESOPHIL Federation to assist DOLE in profiling displaced workers and identifying job vacancies where they may be re-employed

· DOLE in consultation with industry and business groups to undertake manpower planning

· Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII), Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Philippine Association of Service Contractors (PALSCON), Local and Foreign Chambers, Local and Overseas Recruitment Agencies to assist DOLE in information dissemination on assistance packages and in job placement

· Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), Federation of Free Workers (FFW) and other trade unions, organizations for migrant labor, seafarers, the CBCP-Caritas Filipinas Foundation, Inc., and other church-based groups, Blas F. Ople Policy Center, and non-government organizations, to act as conduits of government for information dissemination on assistance packages, and for training, retooling and livelihood projects

· Technological Resource Center (TRC) to assist the DOLE National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO) in training or retooling of displaced overseas Filipino workers

· PMAP and other organizations with electronic job-matching facilities to link up with DOLE Registry of Displaced Workers and their dependents

· DOLE to facilitate private-sector led marketing missions especially in countries where Philippines has bilateral agreements and in pioneer countries of work opportunities.

9. We commit to assist in sustaining quality education/training of affected workers and their dependents

· TESDA to provide displaced workers:

ü Massive training in communities
ü Enterprise-based group training for work with industries/ sectors/associations and other bodies for sectoral skills demand
ü Free skills assessment and certification
ü Free workplace language skills proficiency assessment
ü Scholarships for the Ladderized Education Program
ü On-Site Scholarships for OFWs
ü Training of TVET Trainers

· DOLE to prioritize children of displaced workers as SPES beneficiaries

· CHED to strengthen interventions on faculty training toward quality education

· PMAP to promote employment among member firms of students who are children of displaced workers during summer or school breaks

· SSS to employ children of displaced workers for summer jobs under its Mitigation Plan for Displaced SSS Members, both OFWs or local workers

· OWWA to expand Scholarships for dependents of displaced overseas Filipino workers

· OWWA to strengthen and expand its free computer literacy programs for OFWs and their families through its TULAY Program in partnership with Microsoft and the Blas F. Ople Policy Center

· DBP to expand its Endowment Education Program for dependents of displaced workers

· DOLE and DOH to implement the Nurses Assigned in Rural Services (NARS) Program aimed at increasing employability of unemployed registered nurses, through training and development in government health facilities in rural areas and undeserved communities, towards the improvement of local health care delivery systems and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG)

10. We support continued access of affected workers and their dependents to health services

· PHILHEALTH to extend validity of health insurance coverage to displaced workers, from the present three months to one-year from termination, without requiring additional premium

· Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities (PACU) to extend free medical and dental services to affected workers under its integrated medical mission

· DSWD, DOLE, PMAP and concerned LGUs to provide free psycho-social counselling for workers coping with job loss

11. We support assistance to affected workers with financial obligations

· SSS, GSIS and Pag-Ibig Fund to grant loan restructuring, extension of condonation of penalties and surcharges

· SSS and GSIS to provide education loan assistance to dependents of displaced members

· OWWA to provide transition subsidies to affected members who enlist for livelihood assistance or job placement service based on a criteria to be decided by its Governing Board;

· POEA to prioritize the deployment of displaced OFWs with pending financial obligations due to unfinished work contracts in its government placement programs.

12. We commit to a nationwide campaign against illegal recruiters and human traffickers who prey on displaced and unemployed workers

· LGUS and the DILG to work closely with the POEA and partner-NGOs on an intensified campaign against illegal recruitment and human trafficking

· Strengthening of the Inter-Agency Council Against Human Trafficking through legislation and budgetary support

13. We commit to the promotion of decent work and preservation of jobs amid a global financial crisis

· DoLE to intensify its capacity-building programs for the informal sector and organized labor

· NLRC to accelerate disposition of cases while giving due attention to cases involving displacements due to the financial crisis

· For LGUs, DTI and DOLE regional offices to put up joint monitoring teams to ensure quick response and access to free legal advice and voluntary arbitration to workers affected by the global crisis particularly those who are non-union members

· For DOLE to conduct inspection visits to ensure that safety and health issues and principles of decent work are not shortchanged in the name of the financial crisis

· For DFA to instruct all posts overseas to monitor immigration and labor policies that affect migrant workers and disseminate the same to the Filipino communities while undertaking regular dialogues with OFW leaders, foreign employers, and the host government involved.

Legislative Measure

We call on Congress to support all these commitments by passing the pending Bill on the Stimulus Package.

Monitoring of Commitments

We commit to monitor the progress and implementation of these commitments through regular consultative meetings among all signatories to this Communiqué.

A Secretariat shall be established to monitor these commitments.

Signed this 9th day of February 2009 at Heroes’ Hall, Malacañan Palace, Manila, Republic of the Philippines.

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