To help the local garments industry become more responsive to the demands of global trade, a joint department order on the accreditation of firms for tax holiday was issued by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Trade Industry (DTI).

The tax holiday, which is guided by the General System of Preference (GSP), is a preferential tariff scheme which allows duty-free access or 'zero tariffs' for products exported to other countries.

The joint order, signed last week by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, aims to help local garments firms to conform to the international labor standards, which is a requirement in supplying the global garments market.

These joint guidelines will help the local garments conform to the set requirements, as it intends to promote compliance with labor laws and standards by establishing a certification and decertification mechanism for companies intending to avail of preferential tariff under the GSP, Bello said.

The joint guidelines, Bello said, prescribes policies on the issuance, suspension or revocation of certificates of accreditation to firms engaged in the local garments.

The Secretary added that the joint guidelines will ensure that Filipino workers will have decent jobs, and enjoy the economic benefits brought by the industry's participation in the global trade base.

Under the joint order, the eligibility for market access under the GSP will be granted to firm or contractor that has secured from the DTI Accrediting Board (DAB) a Certificate of Accreditation for complying with labor standards.

The issuance of the Certificate of Accreditation is based on the findings and recommendations of the Workers' Rights Review Committee (WRRC) which will be created to conduct an audit of compliance for firms intending to avail the GSP, Bello said.

The WRRC will be composed of four members representing the DOLE, who will act as Committee Chair; a designated representative from the DTI, who will act as Vice-Chair; and one representative each from the labor and employers sector.

The joint order, Bello said, applies to all local garments manufacturers, exporters, and subcontractors that will avail of preferential treatment under the GSP.

The order likewise prescribes that the accreditation may be suspended or revoked in the event a firm or contractor fails to comply with minimum labor standards or when it engages into subcontracting of work to a person not accredited by DAB.

Firms whose accreditation was suspended may request to lift the suspension three months after receipt of the adverse decision. While those whose accreditation had been revoked may reapply for reaccreditation six months after receipt of the adverse decision, said Bello.

Initiated by the Clothing and Textile Industry Tripartite Council (CTITC), the joint order highlights the government's continuing effort to provide an environment conducive for business and investment through compliance with international labor standards.

This joint issuance serves as a potent proof of the Duterte administration's resolve to ensure that all Filipino workers here and abroad are able to reap the just fruits of their honest labor in a manner that also enables their employers to gain reasonable return on their investments, thus ensure business expansion and growth, Bello added.

Source: Department Of Labor AND Employment