Attended by social partners from forty-nine (49) companies in the region, the Regional Conciliation and Mediation Board (RCMB) – Caraga in partnership with Caraga Industrial Peace Practitioners and Advocates (CAIPPA), Inc. and People Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP) – Caraga chapter conducted a webinar entitled, “Digital Workplace: The Power of DICT Policies & Infrastructure and Updates on New Labor Relations Issuances with Special Topics on Livelihood Program” on August 31, 2021 via Zoom.

Dir. Ma. Theresa M. Francisco officially opened the webinar by acknowledging the participants and emphasizing the timeliness and relevant of the topics to be discussed in the said webinar.

“The discussant on the topics are experts, thus, you surely learn more after the webinar,” Dir. Francisco said.

Afterwards, Mr. Jessie N. Pagaran, CAIPPA President, gave his welcome message to the new DOLE-Caraga Regional Director-Atty. Joffrey M. Suyao for gracing the said activity.

Dir. Suyao responded and reminisced the time where he, Mr. Pagaran and Dir. Francisco worked together in Davao Region in order to maintain industrial peace in the region.

“Today is my first day of official duty in Caraga after completing the required quarantine protocols and I am very glad that my first appearance to the public as the new DOLE-Caraga Regional Director was in the activity facilitated by NCMB,” Dir. Suyao shared.  

This branch has invited three (3) speakers to discuss the topics on DICT Policies & Infrastructure, new labor relations issuances, and livelihood programs.

Updates on New Labor Relations Issuances

The first speaker was Atty. Connie Beb A. Torralba, Mediator-Arbiter of DOLE-Davao Region. She discussed Labor Advisory No. 14, Series of 2021 or the “Working Conditions of Delivery Riders in Food Delivery and Courier Activities”. She highlighted in her discussion the “Test of Employment Relationship”, specifically on what are the three (3) tests used to determine the relationship between a delivery rider (worker) and digital platform company. These tests include the Four-fold test, Economic Reality Test, and the Independent Contractor Test.

“These tests are not only applicable for riders but to all workers in identifying their relationships with their respective employers,” she emphasized.

Gearing towards digitalization

The second speaker, Ms. Sittie Rahma Alawi, Director IV of DICT Mindanao Cluster 2, discussed about the Updates in the Telecommunications and Internet Landscape in the Philippines focusing on Common Tower Policy. The contents of her discussion focus on the streamlining of the construction process of shared towers and status of internet speeds in the Philippines. The Common Tower policy will ensure the universal access to quality, affordable, reliable, and secure ICT services.

Furthermore, she named the 13 DICT towers in Caraga which provides internet connectivity in the region for free. As of August 27, 2021, DICT-Caraga is on its 94.83% completion of the Free Public Wifi.

She also presented the status of internet speed in the country based on Ookla Speedtest Data, such as, for fixed-line in July 2017 the internet speed was 7.91 Mbps to 71.17 Mbps in July 2021 or approximately 800% improvement. While for the mobile, in July 2017 the internet speed was 7.44 Mbps to 33.69 Mbps in July 2021 or approximately 352% improvement.

“This ranks Philippines to 17th among the 50 countries in Asia for fixed-line and 23rd among 50 countries in Asia for mobile,” she discussed.

“We shall continue to pursue the intensified build-up and development of shared tower infrastructure to enhance wireless network coverage and quality of ICT services across the entire country,” she concluded.

Promoting sustainable livelihood in the workplace

Lastly, Ms. Mary Carmelle Jumawan, LEO III of RB-XIII discussed about promoting sustainable livelihood in the workplace. Her discussion covers the stages of implementing livelihood program, such as, pre-implementation, social preparation, capacity building stage, resource mobilization and implementation and monitoring.

She also presented the potential partners in capacitating group of employees or associations which includes the Department of Science and Technology in their Food Production Livelihood training and Packaging and Labelling Assistance Program, Department of Trade and Industry in their KAPATID initiative and Adopt-an-SSF (Shared Service Facility) program, skills training and provision of starter kits from Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program of DOLE for the vulnerable and marginalized workers.

As we embrace the new normal, RCMB Caraga amplifies its advocacy efforts by using the digital media. This pandemic did not stop this branch for being center of excellence in enhancing harmonious relationship in every workplace.#MARY CARMELLE C. JUMAWAN/RCMB-Caraga