In the recently concluded VisMin Cluster Convention on Labor Management Cooperation conducted via Zoom platform, more than a thousand LMC and GM practitioners from the 665 companies throughout the Visayas and Mindanao regions showed enthusiastic support to the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) and the Philippine League of Labor Management Cooperation Practitioners, Inc. (PHILAMCOP).

The Cluster Convention held on 23 September 2021 with the theme, “Continuing Labor-Management Partnership: Conquering and Living with COVID-19” was live streamed on Youtube to accommodate the influx of participants.

The Convention featured two timely and relevant topics on living and thriving with the COVID 19 pandemic.
Coach Jacqueline Fe Luy discussed “Strategic Agility and Resiliency During COVID-19”. Coach Jacque’s inspiring discussion focused on the importance of self-awareness and how this leads us to live a meaningful life, agile and resilient against the challenges of times.

Dr. Mary Ann Palermo-Maestral, tackled “COVID-19: Knowing and Learning the New Normal”. Dr. Maestral centered her presentation on the COVID-19 infection and provided measures on how to avoid being infected and to cope with the new normal.
NCMB Executive Director IV Maria Teresita D. Lacsamana-Cancio and PHILAMCOP President Teofilo S. Colocado, Jr. welcomed the participants with heartening and very inspiring messages.

President Colocado took the opportunity to express his gratitude to the participants, the companies, the Regional LMC Associations, the ever dedicated and committed PHILAMCOP Officers and the NCMB for the unending and unwavering support to the endeavors of the PHILAMCOP.

“Together, let us collectively work to sustain the gains of a harmonious management-labor relations to uphold partnership, productivity and industrial peace in the country,” President Colocado said.

ED Cancio stated that this gathering of all LMC practitioners in the Visayas and Mindanao islands has been made possible despite the challenges of embracing the new normal because of NCMB and PHILAMCOP’s commitment to hold the event every two years. Such is the “true essence and meaning of NCMB and PHILAMCOP – unyielding, dauntless, purposeful. And that is also exactly what we want our LMC practitioners to be – always determined, persevering, unwavering,” ED Cancio said.

ED Cancio applauded the companies and the workers for staying afloat, emphasizing the adjustments and sacrifices they have to make to survive the challenges brought about by the pandemic.

“This is the very essence of why we are all gathered here today. To celebrate our very existence and to share with one another the hope that we all must have to face the coming days.” says ED Cancio

“Let us share the excitement that is within us as we continue to search for new and effective ways to battle it out victoriously with COVID-19. We will continue to cope and cope well, seeing the good in every bad situation and better yet, transforming the bad into something beneficial to all,” she added.
“With this and the time-tested resilience of Filipino workers and employers in facing any calamity and disruption, we envision a more dynamic and constantly evolving business environment despite the continuous threat of COVID-19,” she concluded.

Due to an equally important engagement, Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III was unable to attend the Convention. He requested Executive Director Maria Teresita D. Lacsamana-Cancio to read his message to the participants.

In his Keynote Message, Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III commended the PHILAMCOP and the NCMB for working together to continuously promote and enhance industrial harmony in the country through the conduct of various advocacy programs among the member-companies.
“Kayo ang nagpapatunay na kapag nagtulungan ang pribadong sektor at ang gobyerno sa pagsulong ng mga programa para sa mga manggagawa at namumuhunan, higit na mas marami ang nararating at natutulungan ng ating mga inisyatibo. Nawa’y ipagpatuloy ninyo ang ganitong matibay na pagmamalasakit sa ating mga mamamayan,” says Secretary Bello.

He said that it has been more than a year since the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc even on the most developed countries. Companies resorted to retrenchment to arrest growing operational costs while others opted to adopt alternative work arrangements, and such flexible work arrangements brought a huge impact not only on Philippine businesses but also on the lives of workers and employers.

“This year’s convention on Labor-Management Cooperation, which focuses on the theme, “Continuing Labor-Management Partnership: Conquering and Living with COVID-19”, is proof of the persistent efforts and undaunted spirit of PHILAMCOP and NCMB in keeping the tradition of engaging LMC practitioners into meaningful and fruitful dialogues to improve workplace practices amid the pandemic,” Secretary Bello declared.
He extended his praise to the companies for taking care of their people and the workers, employees, and unions for respecting and understanding the conditions and circumstances of their employers. He hopes that this will serve as an inspiration for other businesses to step up with their labor-management strategies.
In closing, Secretary Bello said that he looks forward to a strengthened labor-management cooperation among key players in the sector despite the challenges we face today.

The afternoon session has been devoted to the video presentations showcasing best practices of the winning companies in overcoming the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic through LMC as well as the effectiveness of Grievance Machineries in resolving workplace issues. The awarding of regional winners were also shown in the audio visual presentations.
In between the presentations, raffle of gcash prizes were drawn making the participants alive and participative until the end of the activity.

To conclude the activity, NCMB Deputy Executive Director IV Teresita E. Audea delivered a heartfelt message of gratitude to the participants for joining the activity and stressed that their attendance is indeed a signal that cooperation and partnership are becoming a way of life for employers and employees.

She said that the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic made a severe blow to all aspects of society including how we work and it forced all of us to go hi-tech and learn the new way of doing things.

“It was not easy but we all managed slowly,” says Deputy Executive Director Audea.

She also shared how the best practices of the regional winners of the twin Search on LMC and GM showed that communication, dialogue, information-sharing, teamwork and being one especially in times of adversity are never outfashioned.

“Ipinakita po ng ating mga regional winners na ang LMC at GM ay napakahahalagang instrumento at napakagagandang pamamaraan upang malabanan ang pandemya. Tumatagos sa ating mga puso ang mga istorya ng ating mga regional winners na nagpapatunay at nagpapatotoo na kapag nagtulungan ang labor at management sa paglutas ng mga suliranin sa kumpanya, higit na magiging mas matatag at malakas ang kanilang samahan,” she mused.

Finally, she conveyed her appreciation and gratitude to the NCMB and PHILAMCOP officers and staff, the University of Mindanao and the Quipper Team for a job well done in making the 2021 VisMin Cluster Convention on Labor-Management Cooperation a successful event.

END/ Pia Bianca B. Sambrano