Congress to pursue pro-labor lawsBy Doris C. Bongcac
Cebu Daily News
The 15th Congress is pursuing legislation that will promote business competition, foreign investments and the competitiveness of Filipino workers, said House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. yesterday.
He told participants of the ALU-TUCP 14th congress in Cebu City that passage of a Competition Law “will strengthen the legal and institutional framework to combat unfair trade practices, prohibit cartels and monopolies and impose sanctions upon key officials of companies who violate fair competition.”
Belmonte said the 15th Congress will also give priority attention to infrastructure spending in the 2013 national budget along with amendments to the Build-Operate-Transfer law to draw more private sector participation.
“For your sake – our country’s most valued workers – we in Congress shall pass measures that will boost competitiveness, increase investments, and help create the jobs that will lead to your further growth and empowerment. We shall likewise continue to pass the measures that will enhance your welfare and productivity,” he said.
Belmonte was the keynote speaker during the ALU-TUCP Congress. Other guests were former Las Pinas Rep. Cynthia Villar, Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia and Cebu congressmen Pablo Garcia (2nd district), Luigi Quisumbing (6th district) and Rachel del Mar (Cebu City north district).
In his message Belmonte assured officials of different labor unions attending the congress that the welfare of workers will not be neglected.
He credited the workers for “moving the country forward through their perseverance.”
“You ensure that the vital goods and services needed by our countrymen are produced. You carve a better future not only for yourselves and your families, but also for your countrymen,” he said.
President Benigno Aquino III reported during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) that there is more confidence now in the country’s economic growth which resulted in more jobs.
Economic growth reached 6.4 % during the first quarter of 2012 exceeding the market expectation of only 4.6%.
Belmonte said the presidents’ prudent spending has also allowed the national government to “plug the leaks in the system.”
Nevertheless, he said about 2.8 million Filipinos remain unemployed while 7.3 million remain underpaid.
“It is therefore imperative that we continue to consolidate and marshal our efforts towards the creation of more jobs. We need to provide our workers with more choices and opportunities. Jobs are what will give our people greater dignity and the ability to meet their needs on their own,” said Belmonte.
He said this requires foreign investments.
“We need to bring in the capital and technologies that will keep our workers productively employed, while striking the optimal partnership between labor and capital. We also need a larger market that will enable use to produce more and maximize the productive use of resources,” he said.
Quoting economist Michael Porter, Belmonte said the competitiveness of a country is determined by how dynamic and globally competitive its local industries are.
This requires quality education, efficient physical infrastructure, access to technology and financing, industrial peace, academe-industry linkages and having a level playing field.
“But for all these requirements to be realized, we have to emphasize our country’s need for more investments,” said Belmonte.