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Manila – Institute for Labor Studies (ILS) Executive Director Ahmma Charisma Lobrin-Satumba was invited to the Consultation with Government Agencies for the Development of the Five-Year Strategic Plan of the Philippine Council for Mental Health (PCMH) in relation to the implementation of Republic Act 11036 or the Philippine Mental Health Law last May 17 at the Best Western Hotel La Corona in Ermita, Manila.

Exec. Director Satumba was also joined by Arianne Ishreen C. Bucar, Labor and Employment Officer II from the ILS Advocacy and Publications Division. The meeting focused on the crafting of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 11036 (RA 11036), otherwise known as the Mental Health Act effective February 19, 2019.

The said law seeks to establish a national mental health policy directed towards improving the health of the population. It also underscores the basic right of all Filipinos to mental health care while shaping the structural and attitudinal challenges to achieving positive mental health. RA 11036 also stipulates the necessity of developing a strategic plan for the Philippine Council for Mental Health (PCMH) to implement the Mental Health Act.

The Philippine Council for Mental Health (PCMH) is composed of the following: Secretary of DOH as Chairperson; Secretary of DepEd; Secretary of DOLE; Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG); Chairperson of CHR; Chairperson of CHED; one representative from the academe/research; one representative from medical or health professional organizations; and one representative from non-government organizations (NGOs) involved in mental health issues.

The meeting focused on consultations with various sectors and collation of inputs from various stakeholders on key strategies and interventions to enhance the local population's access to mental health services, particularly on who needs mental health services, what and where these services can be availed, and identified areas of convergence.

Executive Director Satumba, as the DOLE’s representative to the PCMH, proposed the following actions: 1) Conduct of multipartite policy forum on mental health in aid of the formulation of guidelines; 2) Orientation and capacity building for HR officers in handling MH cases; 3) Development of company-level mental health first-aid guidelines or modules as globally practiced; 4) MH awareness or sensitivity training for government officials and employees; and 5) Conduct of research on mental health situation of workers in priority industries/sectors.

The Institute for Labor Studies (ILS) is the policy research and advocacy arm of the Department of Labor and Employment. For more information on this story, please contact the Advocacy and Publications Division at 527-3590.