Stop using the gains of BPO workers to advance your political career!”

“Stop using the gains of BPO workers to advance your political career!” – This is the strong reminder of the BPO Industry Employees Network (BIEN Philippines) to presumed Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas. BIEN Philippines, the broadest network and duly accredited labor association of BPO workers with members from the top 70 BPO companies and all major BPO hubs across the country , called for the Liberal Party and President Aquino to stop using the BPO industry as a prized-trophy of Mar Roxas.

In one political advertisement Roxas was even being tagged as “Mr. BPO”. We would like to remind Mr. Roxas that the growth of the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is mainly because of the resiliency and stellar service that BPO workers put into our jobs. Our clients and investors choose the Philippines, despite the competitive global market, mainly because Filipino workers are top-of-the-class customer service oriented people. BPO workers would even risk life and limb just to go to work even the worst forms of disaster to hit the country. At the height of the Yolanda devastation, the Cebu-Bohol earthquake, and many other calamities to hit the country, BPO workers remain committed in providing stellar service to our clients. This is despite our continued calls for Malacanang to intervene and enforce work suspension even on our industry.

Apparently, if we are to credit Mar Roxas on his efforts for the BPO industry, it is the “self-regulating practice” that many companies are doing today. The very reason why BPO workers are still required to go to work even during calamities is because of the same policy. When Roxas was still the Department of Trade and Industry Secretary, he and together with the IT-Business Process Outsourcing Association of the Philippines (IT BPAP) enforced the “self regulating” policy in the BPO where most policies implemented by companies are either left unchecked by state agencies or is not being regulated by the department of labor. It comes to no surprise that almost every day, a case is being filed at the National Labor Relations Commission against any BPO company for unfair labor practices. If there is such a legacy that Mar Roxas left to the BPO sector, it is opening doors for exploitation and abuses against BPO workers!

If Mar Roxas will continue with this credit-grabbing and thievery, BIEN Philippines with the 1 million strong BPO workers across the country will commit in exposing his blatant disregard against our rights and welfare! BIEN Philippines is calling to all presumed candidates, not only to Mar Roxas, that they should start looking at the real situation of BPO workers where contractualization and project-based employment are very rampant. Regulate the health and safety standards of the industry. Standardize the entry level salary to at least P25,000 a month. And Recognize the right of workers to unionize the BPO industry!

 Posted By: Edrillan Pasion


Ang Department of Agriculture ay hinikayat ang patuloy na produksyon at paggamit ng organic fertilizers para magkaroon ng tiwala sa sarili ang mga magsasaka ayon sa pag-aaral ng Bureau of Soils and Water Management.

Sabi ni Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala na ang organic fertilizer ay mas affordable kaysa sa inorganic fertilizer. “We will be able to increase yield and minimize the harmful effect of the improper use of inorganic fertilizers to soil and water resources,” saad ni Alcala. “We strongly support organic-based agriculture as embodied in Rep. Act No. 10068, or the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010,” dagdag pa niya.

Ayon sa kalihim, nakakabuti ang organic fertilizers sa improvement ng soil tilth and structure. Nakakadagdag din sila ng water-holding capacity at kilala rin sa improve ng magandang lupa.

Ang gamit ng organic fertilizer ay consistent with responsible land stewardship at sinisiguro nito na produktibo ito para sa marami pang henerasyon.

Sa ilalim ng termino ni Alcala, umangat ng 516% ang organic na produksyon noong 2011 hanggang 2014.

Sa ilalim ng batas, ang kagawaran ay naglaan ng dalawang porsyento (2%) para sa badyet sa organic fertilizer.

Sinabi ni DA-Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) Director Silvino Tejada, ang source ng nutrients ng mga organic fertilizer ay ang mga animal byproducts and excreta, green manure, crop residues, household organic wastes o ang prinosesong produkto galing compost na materyales. (DA-OSEC)

Posted by: Lynne Pingoy

Big Labor Group, Positive Community Urges DOLE to Conduct Compliance Inspections Of All Ricky Reyes Salons For Compliance With Labor Standards

The country’s biggest federation of unions the Trade Union Congress of the Philippine-Nagkaisa (TUCP-Nagkaisa) and the Pinoy Plus HIV positive community is urging Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz to conduct labor compliance inspections in all salons of celebrity hairstylist Ricky Reyes earlier accused of terminating an employee allegedly after learning he has HIV.

“After receiving numerous complaints from other salon employees, we are urging Labor Secretary Baldoz to conduct compliance visit to all beauty parlors owned and operated by Ricky Reyes to determine if all his company is complying with the lawful wages, mandated monthly payments to SSS, Philhealth and Pag-ibig premiums. This serves as our complaint and the basis for the DOLE to conduct inspections,” said Alan Tanjusay, TUCP-Nagkaisa spokesperson.

Reyes’ former employee and HIV positive Rene Nocos, 47, came out in the public June 30 and accused his former employer with alleged discrimination, unlawful termination, under payment of wages and 13th month pay and non-payment of social welfare benefits since his employment as all-around hair stylist 10 years ago.

Nocos claimed he was fired by Reyes upon learning he has HIV on February 28 last year despite doctors’ certifications that he is fit to work. He charged Reyes with the multiple labor violations at the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).

Meanwhile, HIV positive support group Pinoy Plus Association Inc. expressed support to Nocos. “We are standing behind Rene in his struggle against discrimination and illegal dismissal. We are normal people who also have the right to live and work to support our family and contribute to the progress of the country. People who have HIV have the same capacity and all the right as anybody else. We don’t deserve with discrimination,” the statement said.

Tanjusay said they are invoking the visitorial and enforcement powers of the Secretary of Labor to conduct inspection of workplace establishments under Article 128 of the Labor Code through its Labor Law Compliance Officers (LLCO) using assessment checklist.

Non-compliance establishments are given 10 calendar days within which to correct deficiency with general labor standards.


Posted By: Edrillan Pasion

DTI, BOI strengthens regional capability for investors  

As the Philippines continues to enjoy high investor confidence, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Board of Investments (BOI) continue to build sustainable groundwork to promote investments in the various regions of the country.

“In collaboration with DTI’s regional offices, we have stepped up our promotion efforts to drive economic activities nationwide, especially in investment ready areas,” DTI Undersecretary Ponciano C. Manalo, Jr. said.

The BOI through its Domestic Investments Promotion Service (DIPS) and the Investment Assistance Service (IAS) recently synchronized their respective programs to conduct the investment counseling and capability building training on investments promotion with focus on project plan preparation.

“With these efforts, we expect a more vibrant DTI and BOI presence in providing frontline services to investors in the regions,” Manalo said.

He also noted that this training intends to refine the skills of the DTI regional and provincial frontline staff and the Local Economic and Investment Promotion Officers (LEIPOs) assigned in the regional Negosyo Centers in assisting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and providing advanced advisory services on investments.

He added that project preparation skills of the stakeholders will be enriched to generate ready to go investment projects for promotion and possible BOI registration.

Aside from the frontline DTI regional and provincial staff and LEIPOs in Negosyo Center, participants in trainings also include economic stakeholders from the local chambers of commerce and industry, industry associations, SMEs, academe and representatives from the other line agencies.
These series of trainings nationwide started last May. Similar trainings are scheduled in Region 7 (Cebu City) from July 13 to 14, and Region 3 (San Fernando, Pampanga) from October 8 to 9, 2015


Posted By: Edrillan Pasion

DTI Pushes SGL for SMEs

DTI is keen to expanding the coverage of Executive Order No. 230 series of 2000 “Authorizing the Establishment of Super Green Lane (SGL) Facility in the Bureau of Customs” to enable SMEs to qualify under the said program through the on-going legislative initiatives to pass the “Customs Modernization and Tariffs Act (CMTA)”.

“What is important is that we give due recognition to our SMEs particularly to those who strive to keep a high level of compliance in doing business with Customs policies and requirements, providing them access to the same SGL which were already made available to top 1000 corporations” said Dr. Prudencio Reyes, Jr., Supervising DTI Undersecretary of Liaison Office for Legislative Affairs (LOLA).

This special facility is called for under the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) to which the country is signatory since February 2010. The said agreement mandates its contracting parties to come up with special procedures for “authorized persons” who meet certain criteria specified by Customs, including having an appropriate record of compliance with Customs requirements and a satisfactory system for managing their commercial records. Under the SGL facility, BOC may be able to grant:

  • Release of the goods on the provision of minimum information necessary to identify the goods and permit the subsequent completion of the final goods declaration
  • Clearance of the goods at the declarant’s premises or another place authorized by Customs
  • Allowing a single goods declaration for all imports or exports in a given period where goods are imported or exported by the same person
  • Use of authorized person’s commercial records to self-assess their duty and tax liability and, where appropriate, to ensure compliance with other Customs requirements.
  • Allowing lodgement of goods declaration by means of an entry in the records of the authorized person to be supported subsequently by a supplementary goods declaration

“Nevertheless, authorized persons as defined under RKC don’t give any distinctions as to size; whether you are SME or a large corporation. In principle, you could be entitled to as long as you qualify under the BOC’s set of criteria.” Undersecretary Reyes explained.

This initiative is consistent with the Department’s key priorities in helping SMEs to have simplified rules and procedures in doing business, amidst the stiffening competition and their struggles to put-up and sustain their business”, the Undersecretary added.

Other Policy Initiatives

Aside from institutionalizing the expanded SGL for SMEs, DTI is also pushing for the integration of the following reforms in the on-going crafting of CMTA: (a) increasing the de minimis value from P10 to $200 wherein no duties and taxes shall be collected on goods with a FOB or FCA value of such amount, provided that it may be adjusted by the Secretary of Finance, upon joint recommendation by the Commissioner of Customs and the Secretary of Trade & Industry; (b) issuance of binding decisions or advance rulingat the request of the person concerned on specific particulars relating to goods, in particular the classification (through the Tariff Commission), valuation and origin (through the Bureau of Customs) of the goods in preparation for importation or exportation that shall facilitate the declaration and consequently the release and clearance process; (c) institutionalization of automated customs procedures and National Single Window; (d) Self-certification scheme in relation to Rules of Origin, as part of our regional commitments in ASEAN, and; (e) ensuring importers and exporters to have the choice to act as declarant or designate such authority to his authorize representative.

Posted By: Edrillan Pasion

DTI, PRDP develop Banana Industry in Quirino Province  

In support to the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in partnership with the Local Government Unit of Cabarroguis and Calaocan Rural Improvement Club collaboratively worked together to optimize the abundance of banana in Qurino. Thus, product development training was conducted on Banana Chips Making.

Participants were able to produce three (3) varieties of banana chips which will be launched in the Ginnamuluan 2015 Product Showcase on June 19, 2015 in LGU Cabarroguis, Quirino.

The participants will be linked to Maddela Integrated Farmers Savings Development Cooperative (MIFSADECO) as soon as PRDP Project will start its banana chips enterprise business operation.

Alongside with the training, lecture on good manufacturing practices and Consumer Education Information session were also conducted.

Lecture on good manufacturing practices were also integrated in the training.  Some of the standards adopted were wearing of hairnets, apron, proper washing of hands, no wearing of jewelries during the processing, following the recommended step by step procedure of raw materials preparation, food handling and packaging.

DTI-Quirino Trade and Industry Development Analyst, Ms. Annie M. Mauyao also conducted a Consumer Education and Information Campaign and discussed the basic rights and responsibilities of a consumer. Labeling law and Product Standard (PS) mark on LPG and Helmet were also tackled.

Ms. Mauyao urged the participant to use and buy helmets with PS mark to ensure its quality and safety especially so that motorcycle vehicle is one of the major means of transportation in going to Calaocan, Cabarroguis, wherein its terrain is so steep

Posted By: Edrillan Pasion

PH hosts APEC workshops for Global Supply Chain Event in Atlanta

The Philippines, through the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) sponsored workshops last June 8 and 9 in Atlanta, USA to develop small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through the Global Supply Chain Event.

The workshop, which brought together 350 SMEs from 21 APEC-member economies, was the proponent in facilitating SMEs trade through better understanding of non-tariff measures (NTMs) in the Asia Pacific Region and APEC SME Business matching and Internship Consortium for Global Value Chain (GVC) Integration.

After the NTM workshop in the United States, another workshop will be held in Iloilo in September to further strengthen and deepen regional economic integration and eliminate barriers to trade and investment in the region by improving the capacity of SMEs and key organizations in understanding NTMs and its impact on trade.

In her speech, Trade Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya underscored the role being played by SMEs in the Asia Pacific Region.

“We are all aware of the importance of SMEs in the APEC region and we also know the great potential to further increase the sector’s economic contribution if these SMEs are able to participate more actively in regional and global trade,” Usec. Maglaya said.

In a 2013 World Bank study titled, “Enabling Trade Valuing Growth Opportunities,” it emphasized that reducing supply chain barriers to trade could increase gross domestic product (GDP) up to six times more than removing tariffs.

Usec. Maglaya also noted the challenges being faced by SMEs that make them vulnerable to trade inhibiting policies, thus making them unable to navigate rules while trading across borders.

“It has been recognized that both tariff and non-tariff measures, compliance to standards and attaining productivity and efficiency limit SMEs’ ability to participate in global trade,” she said.

The GVC workshops, on the other hand, was held to identify the gaps faced by SMEs that hinder it from assimilating into global value chains and provide insights on SME capabilities and adequacies to strengthen SMEs for global production network linkage.

Participants of the workshop were cross-matched, forming an SME Global Value Chain Business Matching and Internship Consortium. An online platform was also created for facilitating exchanges among members to create expansion of scale and scope of the project.

SMEs account for more than 90 percent of all businesses and provide for as much as 60 percent of the workforce in the Asia Pacific.

Posted By: Edrillan Pasion