MANILA - Several Senate bets on Sunday laid out plans to combat age discrimination in employment and force companies to comply with an existing law prohibiting it.
During the final installment of "Harapan 2019: The ABS-CBN Senatorial Town Hall Debate," 52-year old Imelda Arilas confronted 8 senatorial candidates and asked them what they can do to provide "teeth" to Republic Act 10911 o Anti-Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
Arilas believes her age cost her potential job opportunities she was qualified for, which made her "depressed."
Incumbent Senator JV Ejercito said that issue is a matter of "enforcement."
"Meron nang batas diyan... Kailangan lang ipagbigay-alam sa Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) nang sa ito'y maimbestigahan," said Ejercito.
(There's already a law on that. We just need to inform DOLE so they can investigate.)
Jeepney manufacturer Elmer Francisco and businessman RJ Javellana both said the root cause of age discrimination on employment is the lack of available jobs. Francisco added that a "proactive" approach is to industrialize the country as this will result in more job opportunities.
"Kailanganm maipatupad nang tama ang batas... Pero ang ugat ng problema ay kakulangan sa trabaho. Kailangan natin ng pambansang industriyalisasyon. Dahil kung marami pong trabaho, sila na mismo ang maghahanap pa sayo... Law of supply and demand po 'yan," Francisco said.
(The law needs to be implemented. But the root cause is the lack of jobs. We need national industrialization because if we have a lot of jobs, the employers themselves will look for you. It's the law of supply and demand.)
"Ultimo ang mga kabataan may problema sa pagpasok ng trabaho. Kulang na kulang po ang mga pagawaan kasi," Javellana said.
(Even the youth are having problems looking for jobs. There are not enough factories.)
Lawyer Dado Padilla reiterated Francisco's assertion that work discrimination is an issue of supply and demand.
"Kailangan nating magdagdag ng maraming trabaho," Padilla said.
(We need to add more jobs.)
Meanwhile, lawyer Dan Roleda suggested that DOLE and local government units (LGU) sign a memorandum of agreement to institutionalize complaint mechanisms for those victimized by age discrimination.
"Magtayo tayo ng help desk na hindi lang sa age discrimination kung hindi sa iba pang discrimination," he said.
(Let's set up a help desk not just for age discrimination but for other types of discrimination.)
For his part, Ernesto Arellano, a lawyer, said he will push for insurance for the displaced or dislocated workers to support them as they try to reintegrate to the workforce.
IT consultant Toti Casiño meanwhile said the government must solve the problem of "job mismatch." He also suggested upgrading the skills of those who face age discrimination to improve their chances of getting hired.
Labor leader Leody de Guzman lamented the government's policy for the lack of jobs available in the country.
"Iyung unemployment natin ay resulta ng policy ng gobyerno. Ang ating gobyerno ay walang patakaran to create jobs na permanente," the labor leader said.
(Unemployment is the result of government policy. The government has no plan to create permanent jobs.)
Under the Anti-Age Discrimination in Employment Act, employers can no longer reject applicants because of their age.