Is government killing the goose that lays the golden eggs?
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B Jimenez (The Freeman) - July 16, 2019 - 12:00am

Tomorrow, in the 56th national convention of all the country's HR professionals, in Waterfront Lahug, this writer has been asked to speak on how business is helping or hurting the economy. I will spill the beans and give the thousands of HR practitioners the truth no matter who gets the credit or the critique.

The greatest irony of our times is when government becomes the enemy of business, instead of being its ally and supporter. When the legislative keeps on passing laws that drive away investors and destroys job opportunities, and when the executive does not cease to ''terrorize'' businessmen with unabated inspections and interference in management prerogatives, from hiring to retiring, and when the judiciary never stops to decide cases based only on rights of labor, and oblivious of the long-term implications to the common good and the greater interests of the whole country, then we shall have a broken nation, and a troubled people.

When too many and too high regressive and anti-developmental taxes are imposed without regard to the viability of enterprises, and public funds are squandered or stolen, while businesses are closed and workers lose jobs, what should entrepreneurs do in order to remain competitive and viable?

When Congress keeps on passing laws that exacerbate the burden of making business enterprises survive in a very difficult and competitive global and regional arena, and the government is too slow, too inept, and even corrupt in providing basic services and infrastructures, what will happen to the Philippine economy in the long run?

And when the economy goes down, where shall our labor force get their employment and livelihood? Should we add to the 6,000 OFWs leaving the country each day?

There is nothing wrong with helping our workers, because they really need protection from greedy, cruel, and dishonest employers. But greed, cruelty, and dishonesty are not the rules but the exceptions. Most of our employers are mindful of the needs and welfare of their employees.

They pay wages and benefits even beyond the minimum standards, when productivity and quality exceed targets. They are generally compassionate in the administration of employee discipline, and instilling what this writer now calls “organizational justice.” The employers also think of career growth and employee development. Thus, government should help and not unduly hurt employers.

Business and government should be allies and not adversaries. The role of government is to provide a fair and equitable legal framework, where workers' rights are not abused and management prerogatives are respected and upheld.

When workers are exploited and oppressed, government should intervene and administer justice in fair and fast ways, for indeed, industrial peace based on justice is the solid foundation of harmony that produces high productivity levels and security of tenure. But when workers steal and commit serious misconduct, fraud, and willful defiance of management authority, then government should not tolerate them and uphold the imposition of fair and just penalties.

The greatest protection for the working class is to preserve their jobs by helping business remain viable and competitive. For when factories close and investors flee to other economies in Asia and in the world, then not even a thousand Labor Codes can provide jobs for the workers and food for their families. It is not the law that provides job security. It is the strength of our economy, the viability of our enterprises, and industrial harmony that works for both labor and capital.

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