Telecommuting pushed to help ease traffic crisis
Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman) - October 17, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Senator Joel Villanueva has urged Cebu’s provincial authorities and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE-7) to ramp up awareness on the Telecommuting Law following the declaration of a traffic crisis in Cebu by the Cebu Provincial Board.

Telecommuting Law or Republic Act No. 11165 encourages the private sector to develop and implement telecommuting work arrangements with their employees.

“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,” said Villanueva in a statement.

The senator explained that 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.”

He added that the declaration of a traffic crisis in Cebu should allow the provincial government to take drastic steps to mitigate its impact in the short term while authorities seek to formulate and implement sustainable solutions to the problem.

“After all, economic opportunities lost in traffic cost Cebu an estimated P1.1 billion a day in 2018, according to a study of Japan International Coordination Agency,” he said.

Telecommuting allows workers to maintain their productivity with the lesser time they allot to travel from one place to another.

The law’s implementing rules and regulations mandate that the DOLE undertake a study to identify jobs which can be fulfilled under a telecommuting work arrangement. The study will help guide employers as they consider implementing their own telecommuting policies in their office.

Early this week, the Cebu Provincial Board has declared a “traffic crisis” in the province.

PB Member Glenn Anthony Soco of the sixth district of Cebu urged Congress to identify measures that would address the congestion problems here.

Soco, who is the former president of the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) also proposed for government to partner with the private sector in the implementation of projects that will address Cebu’s congestion problems.

Meanwhile, Maria Victoria Espano, Chairperson and chief executive officer (CEO) of P&A Grant Thornton, said that while the Telecommuting Act has been practiced by businesses in the Philippines, it is mostly adopted by multinational companies and, thus, employees are hopeful that local businesses will follow suit.

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