President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s assumption to power served as an impetus for the prioritization of a host of socioeconomic and political reforms—one of which is the proposal to shift from unitary to federal government. The head of state has been openly advocating for such a move—calling for support from policymakers in amending the 1987 Constitution to pave the way for a “Federal Republic of the Philippines.” President Duterte views federalism as a means to comprehensively address social unrest in Mindanao and to fully tap regional growth potentials (Miral, 2017).

Against such backdrop, this issue paper tackles how labor and employment policies (LEP) fit into a federal form of government—providing key insights on how the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) can possibly envisage LEP to be implemented in the Philippines under a federal form of government. The subsequent parts of the paper are structured as follows: Section II gives an overview of federalism, offering a working definition of the term and outlining its typology; Section III provides a glimpse of the prototype of federalism endorsed by the Duterte Administration; Section IV contains the main portion of the issue paper where LEP are situated vis-à-vis a proposed federal set-up in the Philippines—drawing from experiences from various federal countries; and lastly, Section V concludes and reiterates the main points raised in the paper.

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Title: Labor and Employment Policies in the context of Federalism: Learnings for the Philippines
Researcher: John Emmanuel B. Villanueva