Sunday, April 10, 2011

Inclusive Growth through Decent Jobs

I haven’t read the Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016 (past administration calls it Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan or MTPDP, but now changes to PDT because the previous is such a tongue-twister and the medium-term is redundant with the indicated years), which they say meets the principles of human rights-based approach (HRBA), nor the whole of the President’s 22-point labor and employment policy agenda, but upon learning and reading a few bits of its strategic framework, inclusive growth through decent jobs, I can’t help but presumptuously and prematurely say we are on the right track with P-NOY’s leadership. Of course, without forgetting the fact that an agenda is an agenda or a plan remains a plan unless implemented and brings positive impact to the majority, especially the vulnerable sectors. That’s why I said prematurely.

The key words here are Inclusive and Decent.

The administration doesn’t just aim for growth, but an inclusive growth. For growth to bring about social progress and development, which translates to more opportunities, social justice, better jobs, increased incomes and better lives, it has to be broad in scope. It has to be inclusive. Inclusive growth is “defined to be a sustained growth that massively creates jobs, draws the vast majority into the economic and social mainstream and continuously reduces mass poverty” through social dialogue in the formulation of responsive policies. With that, various consultations were made that led to shaping the inclusive agenda including dialogues with National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (TICP), workers and employers groups, social partnership organizations, industry associations and chambers of commerce and industry, non-government organizations, diplomatic corps and international organizations. So whether you are maralitang manggagawa, struggling entrepreneur, overseas Filipino worker, domestic worker, construction worker, child laborer, underpaid working youth, family worker, and regardless of your gender, age, ethnic group association, physical inabilities, educational attainment, etc. your rights are recognized in the agenda. Also, it recognizes that competence, integrity, transparency and accountability in the labor governance are requisites to successful implementation and sustain outcomes. In short, inclusive job rich growth means increase in employment levels, expansion in access to employment opportunities, improvement in quality of employment, promotion of mutual or collective gains and an embodiment of decent work.

Creation of massive jobs, solely, won’t tackle the perennial problem of unemployment, and underemployment, instead the principle of employment and all processes leading to it embodies decent work elements. Decent work presents the notion of the rights and the observance of these rights. “It is a concept whose primary goal is to promote opportunities for all men and women to obtain productive work, in conditions of freedom, equity and human dignity.” Also, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO), decent work involves opportunities for work that is productive and delivers a fair income, security in the workplace and social protection for families, better prospects for personal development and social integration, freedom for people to express their concerns, organize and participate in the decisions that affect their lives and equality of opportunity and treatment for all women and men.

The myriad of processes to formulate this LEA hasn't ended yet, but everyone has been involved already. Minds were pounded, ideals and passions were tested already. I have to say again that, I guess, we are on the right track with this framework. Now, the only thing that left is the HOW. How do we make this happen? How good are the mechanisms that translate to programs, projects and activities? How much budget do we put to this? Are the concerned government agencies and offices prepared to take the course of this agenda? So many hows and questions of capacities and resources; a long list would follow ahead if I won't stop here. Nonetheless, I won't resign to any doubts for everyone in the government their conviction to pave the road for change.

Umh, before I end, let me just say that activism doesn’t mean one has to ALWAYS oppose something or someone. Activism means awareness, it means aggressive and passionate part taking in reforms and changes; actively participate in the effective and efficient implementation of programs and services - in any way or chance there is - and keenly follow how things progress or regress or deviate from what should be and respond immediately to it. I agree with this administration’s agenda and I favor their efforts, so far, in addressing the issues and concerns of the people, but this doesn’t make me less of an “activist”. The core soul of activism simply lies on how you always make yourself aware of things that affect the people's welfare and actively participate to make things work in accordance to social justice and freedom that benefits all.

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