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Palace says work from home law to ‘ease traffic congestion’

The law allowing private sector employees to work from home, or anywhere outside the office through telecommuting, is a potential solution to the traffic woes in Metro Manila and other urban centers, Malacañang said Friday.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo praised lawmakers who pushed for the enactment of Republic Act 11165 or The Telecommuting , which was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on December 20 last year.

“We laud our lawmakers for the timely passage of RA No. 11165, since telecommuting as a work arrangement is fast becoming the new norm, with the Filipino labor market starting to open up with alternative avenues in view of computer technologies,” Panelo said in a statement.

“With its full implementation, we are optimistic that this arrangement can also contribute to easing the traffic conditions in Metro Manila and in other urban areas.”

The Philippines is losing some P3.5 billion a day, mainly in terms of lost productivity due to the traffic situation in Metro Manila, according to a study released by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) last year.

With the rising costs of the gridlock hounding the country, JICA said the government must focus on its massive infrastructure spending program to address such concerns.

Under the Duterte administration’s ambitious Build, Build, Build program, the government plans to spend more than P8 trillion until 2022, largely funded by tax revenue.

RA 11165 keeps telecommuting as employers’ prerogative based on mutual agreement to include work hours that must be paid, minimum number of work hours, overtime, rest days, and entitlement to leave benefits.

“The Palace notes that this landmark piece of legislation will give fair treatment to telecommuting employees in the private sector, who can now work from home or any place outside the employers’ premises and still be given the same treatment and entitlements as those employees physically working at the offices,” Panelo said.

The Palace is confident that  that the Department of Labor and Employment “will perform thoroughly as it leads the government in putting into action the directives of the law.”

“President Duterte’s signing of the Telecommuting Act is indeed recognition of an emerging and innovative Filipino workforce,” Panelo said. —VDS, GMA News