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Real estate developers are now encouraged to think about protecting unique features of heritage buildings, rather than tearing them down.

This was among the arguments presented at the stakeholders’ forum on the Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence (BERDE) voluntary green building rating system, conducted by the Institute for Labor Studies (ILS) and the Philippine Green Building Council (PhilGBC) at the Occupational Safety and Health Center. BERDE is supported by the Department of Energy under the Philippine Energy Efficiency: Efficient Building Initiative (PEE-EBI) Project

“We laud the PhilGBC initiative of developing a rating system that will give incentive to the construction and use of greener buildings and the preservation of heritage structures. As an advocate for green jobs and cultural heritage tourism, we support programs that promote greener workplaces, cultivate cultural heritage tourism and generate green employment opportunities,” said Executive Director Cynthia Cruz of the ILS.

In 2012, the ILS released a paper on the economic potentials of cultural heritage tourism employment, which highlighted the creation of new jobs through cultural heritage tourism. In recent years, the debate between heritage conservation and the demand for real estate development has heated up. As debate intensifies, a greener perspective to this issue has been introduced by the (PhilGBC) through the BERDE Rating System. BERDE rating system is a voluntary rating scheme that rewards construction projects that demonstrate environment sensitivities beyond existing building and environmental laws, regulations and related industry standards.

“The debate between development and heritage conservation is continuing one. But when we begin to look at it from the perspective of how these developments contribute to greener buildings and green jobs, the discussion changes. From being an issue of aesthetics, it becomes now an issue of employment- of safer workplaces, of more employment opportunities,” emphasized Executive Director Cruz.

Under the Philippine Labor and Employment Plan 2011-2016 (LEP), the promotion of green jobs was among the strategies identified. These include local employment initiatives that promote green jobs and industries, particularly in the housing and construction.

“Through the stakeholders’ forum, we are confident that DOLE and its tripartite partners can enrich this system through their recommendations on safer workplaces and greener employment opportunities,” said Executive Director Cruz.

The ILS is the policy research and advocacy arm of the Department of Labor and Employment. It has done pioneer researches on green jobs. ILS researches are available at

(For more information on this press release please contact Ms. Linartes Viloria, Chief Advocacy and Publication Division, Institute for Labor Studies)

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