MANILA (Mabuhay) – To enhance the government’s role to facilitate the access of job seekers to employment opportunities, the House Committee on Labor and Employment has approved a proposal to define the role of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and local government units (LGUs) in the establishment and operation of the Public Employment Service Office (PESO).
The committee chaired by Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles (3rd District, Davao City) approved the proposal embodied in House Bill 4275, which aims to strengthen the network of public employment offices and rationalize the participation of the private sector in the recruitment and placement of workers.
House Bill 4275 substituted HB 47 authored by Rep. Linabelle Ruth Villarica (4th District, Bulacan) and HB 827 by Rep. Emmeline Aglipay (Party-list, Diwa), both seeking to amend Republic Act 8759 otherwise known as the “Public Employment Service Office (PESO) Act of 1999,” by defining the establishment of PESOs in cities and municipalities and ensuring their proper operation and maintenance through the LGUs.
Villarica said labor data indicate that unemployment rate has quite improved in the last five years at seven percent or 2.8 million in 2011. Meanwhile, the number of underemployed is estimated at 19.3 percent or 7.2 million, according to her.
“The PESO, as provided for under RA 8759 must perform the task of facilitating the access of job seekers to employment opportunities. This institutional employment services arm of the government is duty-bound to stimulate employment in times of economic slowdown,” said Villarica, president of the Central Luzon Bloc and chairperson of the committee on women and gender equality.
Aglipay said LGUs are in the best position to tailor-fit and adjust the services being offered by the PESO to the public to make them more effective in providing employment to the unemployed within their jurisdiction. All these effort must still be done in coordination with the DOLE Regional Offices and under the umbrella of the DOLE Central Office, according to her.
House Bill 4275 seeks the amendment of RA 8759 so that there shall be established in all provinces, cities and municipalities a PESO that shall be operated and maintained by LGUs. The PESOs shall be linked to the DOLE regional offices for coordination and technical supervision, and to the DOLE central office to constitute the national public employment service network.
Upon the request of a non-government organization (NGO) or state university or college (SUC), the DOLE may enter into a Memorandum of Agreement for the NGO or SUC to establish, operate and maintain a job placement office, the bill provides.
To synchronize the provision of employment services in a given territorial jurisdiction, the bill provides the job placement office operated by the NGO and SUC shall coordinate their activities with the nearest PESO.
The bill also seeks the amendment of Section 6 of RA 8759 so that additionally, every PESO shall undertake strategies, programs and activities to make the provision of employment services effective and efficient.
It also seeks the amendment of Section 7 of RA 8759 so that the DOLE and the LGUs shall jointly establish the PESO. The DOLE shall provide technical supervision, coordination and capacity-building to the PESO. It shall put up human resource and job registries, set up intra- and inter-regional job clearance system as part of the overall employment service network; train PESO personnel in the various aspects of employment facilitation process and set standards and qualification standards for PESO personnel; and assess performance of the PESO network.
For their part, job seekers shall register at the PESO office for employment facilitation assistance.
The bill provides the following responsibilities of the concerned LGU: operate and maintain the PESO; ensure compliance with the DOLE operational standard; extend assistance and services in the promotion of employment within the area of jurisdiction; and submit to the DOLE the periodic performance and accomplishment reports.
In terms of funding, the bill provides the LGUs shall include in their regular annual budget the funding support for the establishment, operation and maintenance of the PESO while the DOLE’s annual budget for the PESO shall be intended for technical assistance, training and supervision. (MNS)