DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has only 574 labor law enforcers to do inspections and evaluation to about 937,000 business establishments all over the country.
DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said with the existing number or labor law compliance officers (LLCOs), they cannot expect that these could cover all the businesses in the entire Philippines.
“How can we expect 937,000 (business establishments) kahit araw-araw mag inspect ang mga inspectors natin, hindi kaya,” Bello said during the closing ceremony of the Pilot Training on Labor Laws and Social Legislations for Social Partners /Sectoral Representatives held at the Apo View Hotel here Friday, Aug. 12.
In his speech, Bello told the 53 new LLCOs from Mindanao who underwent the 10-day labor laws and social legislations training that they are expected to be implementors of the policies stated under Department Order 174 released in May this year.
The D.O. 174 highlights the amended rules of Labor Code wherein it features the prohibition of “labor-only contracting.”
As stated, “labor-only contracting refers to arrangement where the contractor or subcontractor merely recruits, supplies or places workers to perform a job or work for a principal yet not having substantial capital, not enough investments in the form of tools, etc. and the workers recruited are performing activities which are directly related to the main business operation of the principal.”
Bello said to avoid employee and workers’ abuses and violations of the Labor Code, there is a need to strictly implement the law.
“If there is no implementation, the Department Order is useless. And that is the reason why we are sharpening our legislation. We expect you to implement the D.O.174,” Bello said.
Bello urged the new LLCOs not to be afraid on enforcing the law and told them to assure that the laws are followed.
“Huwag kayong matakaot. Tingnan niyo na ang mga batas natin ay masunod (Don’t be afraid. Just ensure the laws are followed),” Bello said.
The 53 new LLCOs will be deputized in areas of Mindanao.
DOLE Undersecretary Joel Maglunsod said the LLCOs will serve as an ‘augment’ to the enforcement of the law including the security of tenure of workers.
“They will serve as aid, an augment to the strict enforcement of laws including the security of tenure,” Maglunsod said.
Maglunsod said the trainings recently held in Mindanao and trainings to be conducted in Luzon and Visayas aims to add more LLCOs to assess the business establishments. In June, a total of 55 workers and employers were trained as LLCOs in Mindanao.
“Ginahimo sa DOLE tungod kay una kinahanglan mapaspasan nato ang campaign against contractualization. Kay kung pasagdan lang nato ang mga llcos nga naa sa region dili siya paigo tungod kay daghan kaayo og mga business establishments na kinahanglan nato i-inspect, i-assess (DOLE is doing this because there is a need to hasten the campaign against contractualization. If we do not increase the number of the existing LLCOs here in the region, they will not be enough due to the huge number of business establishments to be inspected and assessed),” Maglunsod said.
Maglunsod also stressed there will be a difficulty on President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign to end contractualization if there will be no assessments and inspections on the said establishments.
Maglunsod also reported that since last year, about 70,000 workers were regularized directly to their respective “principals”. Principals are either natural or juridical identity, whether an employer or not, who puts out a job for a contractor.
He also mentioned that he is optimistic to reach about 200,000 workers to be regularized by the end of December this year.
Maglunsod urged the workers or employees to empower themselves and report immediately to the department if their contractors or employers violate the Labor Code.(davaotoday.com)