Accessing legal expertise

Ms. Celeste M. Valderrama, Director, International Labor Affairs Bureau, Department of Labor and Employment, Philippines, describes how legal expertise is accessed on an “as-needed” basis (December, 2011).

How is legal expertise brought into use?

“In previous years in the history of the ILAB, the office used to be ILAD, there were lawyers who were part of the personnel handling the division, the division handling the ILS. But they have left, they are gone now and we cannot anymore hire lawyers. So what do we do? With the limited resources, with the limited personnel that we have, we engage lawyers from all the other bureaus and so they provide a substantial… the substance to the report. We have lawyers from the Bureau of Labor relations, from the Bureau of Working Conditions, from the PRC for instance and the POEA. They are the ones handling the substantive reporting. I cannot really say do I need a lawyer, but a lawyer would be good, a lawyer would be helpful to do this ILS work here in this division, but if there is none, then we can accept the services of lawyers within the Department also, who provide the input to the report that we submit. I think the very controversial part of the report pertains to freedom of association and collective bargaining, I think for those areas we need a lawyer and then for that the Bureau of Labor relations provide that kind of  inputs.”

Special thanks go to the Honorable Secretary of Labor and Employment of the Philippines, and the Director and staff of the International Labor Affairs Bureau of the Department of Labor of the Philippines for their generous cooperation in the production of this video.