July 13, 2024

The accomplishments of the Department of Labor and Employment in the past year ranged from the creation of task forces against human trafficking and child labor; the strict implementation of the Alien Employment Permit (AEP), to combating illegal drugs and the worst forms of child labor in the workplace.
The year 2019 has been highlighted by the issuance of Administrative Order 551 creating the DOLE Task Force against Illegal Recruitment, Trafficking in Persons and Recruitment of Minor Workers, to have a more focused, concerted, coordinated, and effective programs to stop and eliminate illegal recruitment, trafficking in persons and recruitment of minors.
The task force is composed of a DOLE undersecretary; the Philippine Overseas Employment administrator as vice chair; and the members are the administrator of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration; directors of the Bureau of Local Employment, International Labor Affairs Bureau, and Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns; while the task force’s operational and law enforcement arm are the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.
The general functions of the task force are to develop and execute strategies and schemes against the modus operandi of illegal recruiters, human traffickers, and recruiters of minor workers; development and execution of strategies against syndicates responsible for tampering of birth records and securing spurious passports and travel documents; and recommend to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III for the prosecution of recruiters of minors, human traffickers and illegal recruiters, syndicates, their cohorts, protectors, and coddlers.
All DOLE regional offices nationwide are expected to create its respective task forces.
In the region, the DOLE-CAR and National Bureau of Investigation-CAR signed a memorandum of understanding last Nov. 19, 2019.
The AEP is not an exclusive authority for a foreigner to work in the Philippines. It is just one of the requirements in the issuance of a work visa (9g) to legally engage in gainful employment in the country. The foreign national must obtain the special temporary permit from the Professional Regulation Commission in case the employment is practice of profession and authority to employ alien from the Department of Justice where the employment is in a nationalized or partially nationalized industry and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in case of mining.
The influx of South Koreans in the country generates a host of questions, most of which remain unanswered. Some Koreans come to country for vacation, study, employment, business, and other purposes. Some choose to stay in Baguio City and the rest of the Cordillera longer than the others. Today, Baguio is ranked fourth in the country where Korean migrants are located for different purposes such as retirement, employment, and residency. Number one host is Cebu, followed by National Capital Region and Pampanga.
Korean Assistance Desks (KAD) have been set up in NCR, Central Luzon (Region 3), Calabarzon (Region 4a), Central Visayas (Region 7), Davao (Region 11), and Cordillera. The KAD is tasked to ensure completeness and correctness of AEP applications and not to accept incomplete or incorrect applications of Koreans.
Other foreign nationals wanting to legally work in the Philippines, including holders of Special Investors Resident Visa, Special Retirees Resident Visa, Treaty Traders Visa (9d) or Special Non-Immigrant Visa 47(a)2 who occupy any executive, advisory, supervisory, or technical position in any establishment or company are required to secure the AEP.
Bello issued Labor Advisory 10 or “Entitlement of Kasambahay to other Statutory Leave Benefits and Labor Standard Benefits” which will further strengthen the rights of household workers and their entitlement to work benefits and statutory leaves. Today, household workers who have rendered at least one month of service shall be covered by SSS, PhilHealth, and PagIbig and entitled to all benefits provided by law.
In the Cordillera, the present minimum wage rates of kasambahay is P4,000 in cities and first class municipalities and P3,000 in all other municipalities. This minimum wage rate took effect last May 19, 2019.
A new minimum daily wage rate for private workers in the Cordillera took effect last Nov. 18, 2019. For Baguio City, La Trinidad, Benguet and Tabuk City, Kalinga, the minimum wage rate is P340 (basic) plus P10 COLA or a total of P 350 for all sectors and industries. Other areas in the region have a minimum daily wage rate of P330 (basic) plus P10 (COLA) for a total of P340.
During the May 1 Labor Day Job Fair, 2,401 jobseekers trooped to the Baguio City High School main campus. There were 41 local employers and 11 overseas recruitment agencies who offered 2,638 local jobs and 15,618 overseas job vacancies, respectively. A total of 349 jobseekers were hired on the spot and 1,839 were near hire applicants, totalling 1,021 for local employment and 818 are overseas jobs.
The department’s continuing anti-illegal drugs campaign for a drug-free Philippines will monitor business establishments, companies, and workplaces for the strict compliance to Department Order 53-03 or the guidelines for implementation of a drug-free workplace policies and programs for the private sector.
Under the DOLE Drug-Free Workplace Policy and Program, an employee who, for the first time, is found positive of drug use, shall be referred for treatment and/or rehabilitation in a Department of Health-accredited center. After the rehabilitation, the company’s assessment team may recommend to the employer the resumption of the employee’s job if he/she poses no serious danger to his/her co-employees and/or the workplace.
Random drug test in the workplace is legal. The goal is to discourage drug use by not telling anyone in advance when and who will be tested. One don’t have to worry if he/she does not use drugs. The Supreme Court has taken judicial notice of scientific findings that drug abuse can damage the mental faculties of the user. Employees who use dangerous drugs could have serious problems to their health, wellbeing, and productivity.
All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence. — Martin Luther King, Jr.