Pimentel, Li discuss PH-China party-to-party relations

MANILA — Philippine Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III in a meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday discussed efforts to strengthen Philippine-China ties not just through diplomatic channels but also party-to-party relations.

Pimentel is also the Party President of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino�Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) while Li is a member of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

“There is so much potential for cooperation between our countries. After all, the Philippines and China have had relations long before there was a People’s Republic of China or a Republic of the Philippines, Pimentel said in a press statement.

At present, there is already an agreement on friendship and cooperation between the two ruling parties.

Pimentel will be representing PDP-Laban in talks with the CPC and ruling parties of other major countries in Beijing this December.

What Premier Li and I want is to establish a long-standing relationship which would be immune to the issues of the day, and built on the friendship of our two nations, and not just our governments, he added.

During the meeting, Li pledged that China will provide grants to help rebuild the City of Marawi.

In turn, the senators said they would activate the Philippine-China Friendship Association in the Senate and to facilitate an exchange of parliamentarians with the National People’s Congress of China.

The meeting, hosted by Li, was held at the Conrad Hotel in Pasay City and included Senate Majority Floor Leader Vicente Sotto III, Senators Juan Miguel Zubiri, Emmanuel Pacquiao, and Sherwin Gatchalian.

Source: Philippine News Agency

Senator files bill pushing for 4-day work week

MANILA — After the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to allow a four-day work week, a senator on Tuesday filed his own measure seeking flexible working arrangements including a four-day work week.

“The Flexible Work Arrangements Bill limits the work duration to a maximum of 48 hours per week to safeguard the rights, health, and well-being of each employee, Senator Joel Villanueva said in filing Senate Bill 1571.

With this measure, an employee is given greater liberty to allocate his work hours to the number of days that work best for his situation,” he added.

Under Villanueva’s measure, alternative working arrangements will be allowed where both employer and employee agree on a beneficial arrangement of work that works best for both parties.

His measure amends Article 83 of the Labor Code which limits normal hours of work at eight hours a day for five days.

Villanueva explained that also under his measure, the employer has an option to implement any of the three types of flexible working arrangement which include the following:

Compressed Work Week arrangement � where the employee may opt to reduce the number of days dedicated to work, provided that the worker maintains the minimum number of rendered hours required. The bill sets a minimum of 40 hours a week and a maximum of 48 hours per week.

Gliding or Flexi-Time � where work may be completed within the establishment but where they can determine their arrival and departure time. It means an employee may choose to start his work at any time he wants but still needs to complete the required work hours per day.

Flexi Holidays Schedule � where employees agree to avail the holidays at some other days provided there is no diminution of resulting benefits

The senator, however, clarified that the adoption of flexible working arrangements will be voluntary on the part of employers and employees and that arrangements will depend on the nature of work.

He also noted that his bill is different from the Telecommuting Bill which he also authored. Telecommuting, or more commonly known as “work from home” is a scheme where an employee may accomplish his work tasks outside the office for at least one day a week. The bill was already passed on third and final reading in the Senate.

The senator, meanwhile, said that he also sees the proposal as one way to ease traffic and lessen the hassle being faced by employees as they may opt not to go to work on a specific work day granting that they have already completed the required work hours.

To date, some business process outsourcing (BPO) companies in the Philippine’s, such as Convergys have carried out compressed work-week scheme.

The Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resources Development chaired by Villanueva will conduct a hearing on the said measure on September 13.

Source: Philippine News Agency