Laguesma faces ‘new labor landscape’ in 2nd DOLE term

THE 24-man Commission on Appointments (CA) confirmed on Tuesday the ad interim appointment of Bienvenido Laguesma as secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment during the plenary session of the bicameral body.

Laguesma’s supposed confirmation last week was deferred upon the request of Sen. Risa Hontiveros to give her time to consult with her labor partners.

Senate President and CA Chairperson Juan Miguel “Migz” F. Zubiri described Laguesma as “the shot in the arm that our country needs for labor and employment to be infused back into our economy and our country.”

Presiding at the body’s plenary session Tuesday, Zubiri said Laguesma is not just qualified, but very qualified for the post. “My opinion, I believe we are very lucky to have him come out of retirement to serve once again the Filipino people in the capacity of Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment. In this time of the post-pandemic era, he is the same person that we need who can help heal the labor sector…” Zubiri said.

Earlier, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, who chairs the Senate’s Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, gave his “ full support” to the confirmation of the ad interim appointment of Laguesma.

“As Chairman of the Senate we will be working closely and frequently with the good Secretary in advancing labor legislation. It is therefore a relief that we are dealing with a veteran and a true professional who is always ready to accommodate our Committee’s requests for information and guidance. Just last week, we had Sec. Laguesma as one of our main resource persons in our organizational meeting and briefing.”

He noted that Laguesma is a returnee to DOLE, having been “appointed as DOLE Secretary by my father, former President Joseph Estrada in 1998. It is safe to say that Sec. Benny is our go-to guy for labor concerns.”

This time around, noted Estrada, Laguesma “will be confronted with a new labor landscape, one where telecommuting and work-from-home arrangements are considered the norm; where our manpower development suffered serious setbacks due to the restrictions posed by the pandemic; and where another government agency is created to fully take care of our migrant workers.”

Laguesma’s 22 years of experience in the DOLE and a total of 28 years in government service bode well for his second stint at DOLE, said Estrada.

Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” T. Go said that there is no doubt Laguesma “will fulfill his mandate with utmost diligence and faithfulness,” having previously held the position during the Estrada administration. The senator expressed hope that Laguesma will continue to work to make the lives of Filipinos more comfortable, “ensuring that no one will be left behind in the road towards recovery.”