By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senator Joel Villanueva urged on labor officials in Cebu to encourage telecommuting after the provincial board declared a traffic crisis.
Villanueva, chair of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resources, said, Tuesday, the declaration of a traffic crisis in Cebu should allow the provincial government to take drastic steps to mitigate its impacts while they come up with sustainable solutions to the problem.
A solution, he believed, would be to implement the Telecommuting Law (Republic Act No. 11165), which allows employers in the private sector to adopt telecommuting, a work arrangement that allows an employee to work from an alternative workplace with the use of technology.
“While it may not be the magic pill that will resolve the traffic situation, we believe that the impact of the law will help reduce the need of workers to travel to their places of work, thereby easing the demand in public transport in the short term,” Villanueva, who authored the law in Senate, said in a statement.
He said telecommuting will allow workers to maintain their productivity since they will lessen their time for travel.
He noted that the law’s implementing rules and regulations, signed last March, mandate the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to conduct a study to identify the jobs which can be fulfilled under a telecommuting work arrangement.
Meanwhile, he called on provincial authorities, especially the DOLE Regional Office-7, to ramp up awareness on the telecommuting law.
“For companies that have existing telecommuting policies, we urge them to notify the DOLE Regional Office which has jurisdiction to ensure that these are compliant with existing labor laws and regulations,” he added.
The Cebu Sangguniang Panlalawigan (provincial board) on Monday approved a resolution declaring a “traffic crisis” in their province.
They also passed a separate resolution urging the Congress to grant powers to President Rodrigo Duterte “to fast-track the passage and approval of effective measures to address traffic congestion in Metro Cebu.”
The Japan International Coordination Agency (JICA) estimated at P1.1 billion the cost of the economic opportunities lost in Cebu traffic.