Labor education as elective in college hurdles 2nd reading in Senate

Published February 17, 2021, 11:39 AM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

The Senate is expected to pass on third and final reading next week the bill that would include labor education in the curriculum of tertiary education.

(Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

Senate Bill No. 1513 was passed on second reading Tuesday, February 16.

During the interpellations on the bill, Senator Joel Villanueva, sponsor of the bill, said the measure seeks “to mandate all higher education institutions in the country to integrate labor education as part of an elective course”.

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) will also be mandated to come up with modules on labor education and encourage technical-vocational education institutions to include it in their courses.

“Indeed, we need this labor education in our schools, to equip both workers and employers with the right labor information so that they will become better citizens, better partners in attaining and maintaining harmonious labor management relationships,” the chairman of the Senate labor committee said.

The inclusion of labor education “should help our future workers and help our future employers make deeper understanding of their labor rights and responsibilities”.

Labor education, he said, “refers to the teaching of basic knowledge on labor rights and other skills relating to negotiations, fostering smooth interpersonal relations in the workplace and mechanisms for redress of grievances and other concerns.”

The senator said the bill will not impose a specific number of hours or units for the labor education elective, but the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) shall be tasked to oversee and make sure that universities and colleges comply with the mandated inclusion.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will also be part of the formulation of the measure’s implementing rules and regulations once it is passed into law, he said.

Earlier, Villanueva said the measure will address the problem of labor violations due to the lack of knowledge on labor rights and access to legal assistance.

“During a period of massive job displacements and implementation of various company cost-cutting measures brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is all the more important that we have a labor force who is knowledgeable of their labor rights and remedies under the law in case their rights are violated,” he said in sponsoring the bill last September.