In the past, many people have little knowledge of government programs and services. One will easily say that these programs are only for those with access to it or someone who can facilitate the provision of assistance. This prevailing mindset has been the thought among common man, as one can easily view the interventions in a negative perspective.

With the approach of the current administration, the negative connotation is being addressed by bringing the knowledge down directly to the stakeholders. Dubbed as “Dagyaw” or togetherness in the Hiligaynon dialect, the term embodies the value of “bayanihan” that is deeply embedded in Filipino culture and “fittingly describes the very nature and value proposition of Participatory Governance Cluster and the Open Governance Partnership which is about bringing different stakeholders together.” 

On October 28, 2020, DOLE-NCR participated in Dagyaw and presented its initiatives during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and its ways forward as regard program implementation. Atty. Sarah Buena S. Mirasol, DOLE-NCR Regional Director was represented by Ryan Roberto E. Delos Reyes, Senior Labor and Employment Officer of the Employment Promotion and Workers Welfare Division in said activity.

During the presentation, Delos Reyes highlighted the efforts made by DOLE-NCR in providing assistance under the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP); TUPAD #Barangay Ko, Bahay Ko Disinfecting / Sanitation Project; and DOLE’s Abot Kamay Ang Pagtulong for OFWs (AKAP). He also mentioned the inter-agency coordination at the regional level as regard the Office’s accomplishments in workers’ welfare programs as well as employment interventions.

Delos Reyes also discussed the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the labor market, which has affected all facets of society as it placed the Philippines, particularly the National Capital Region—the country’s economic powerhouse—into an almost complete halt.

Amid the uncertainties brought by the pandemic, he added that there are still resilient businesses in the region that remained in operation despite limited capacities through implementation of flexible work arrangements. Among notable ones, he said, are the food-related establishments as it caters to the essential needs of Filipinos and the IT-BPM sector, which can operate under work from home arrangements through technology. He also stressed the labor market demand in the health and wellness sector, which are fully utilized at the height of the pandemic given the increased awareness and priority of people on health and safety.

He likewise highlighted the future plans in response to the current medical crisis such as continuous engagement with partner duty-bearers and stakeholders as well as the implementation of Tabang OFW, which is an educational assistance amounting to P30,000.00 per beneficiary. 

 In the open forum, Delos Reyes responded to queries concerning implementation of employment programs, especially from the two identified reactors from the private sector. He emphasized compliance with the process and its requirement relative to the availment of the various assistance. He also mentioned the accomplishments of the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program, which covers all sectors of the society, from the working poor to persons with disability, and senior citizens.  

In one reaction concerning women in the labor force, Delos Reyes responded that gender is no longer a major concern due to cross-cutting jobs as men and women are equal in terms of number in the labor market. He likewise said that DOLE also cater to the concerns of women in the labor force through conduct of labor inspection as compliance to various laws such as VAWC, Solo Parent, and Maternity leaves. 

As for employment facilitation, Delos Reyes shared the electronic employment (e-employment) services initiated by the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) and the current development of POEA’s online overseas recruitment plus the roles of DOLE and PESOs in said undertakings.

END / Ryan Roberto Delos Reyes