The 18th Executive Labor Updates (ELU) of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines shed light on the latest policy issuances of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) entitled on inspection, its findings on the most common types of violations, and challenges of faced by companies on compliance issues.
The 18th ELU, which gathered more than 200 IR/HR practitioners, aimed to specifically provide them the latest developments on DOLE’s implementation of the laws and regulations on labor standards compliance with particular emphasis on labor-only contracting, the significant findings of DOLE regional offices in their inspections, the role of police and private security agencies in maintaining peace during strikes, and the initiatives of ECOP to promote self-regulation on compliance issues.
Atty. Benjo Santos Benavidez, OIC-Assistant Secretary of DOLE, the session presented an overview on the status of implementation of DOLE D.O. 183-18, AO 164-17, EO 51, as well as the Voluntary Regularization Program. These issuances as well as the program derive from the President’s directive to “eliminate endo and other forms of illegal contracting arrangements such as labor-only contracting that circumvent worker’s right to security of tenure.”
The inspection findings of DOLE were also tackled by Dir. Teresita Cucueco of the DOLE-BWC. According to Dir. Cucueco, DOLE found 3,377 companies that are engaged and suspected to be engaged in labor-only contracting. After further inspection, DOLE concluded that 767 are engaged in LOC while 2,610 are suspected to be engaged in LOC.
The second session focused on what on strikes and lockouts. The speakers included Ms. Teresita E. Audea, OIC Deputy Executive Director of the DOLE-National Conciliation and Mediation Board, and PCSupt. Rey Lyndon T. Lawas, Deputy Directorate for Operations of the Philippine National Police.
Dir. Audea emphasized that the right to strikes and lockouts is a constitutionally guaranteed right to workers. On the other hand, PCSupt. Lawas emphasized that DOLE has the full discretion of determining whether the strikes and lockouts are legal which means that PNP cannot intervene upon the request of the company unless a written request from DOLE has been received.
Atty. Benedicto Ernesto Bitonio, Professor, UP-School of Labor and Industrial Relations, also provided his points of view and reaction to the prior sessions. As per Atty. Bitonio, what was not mentioned was that two months after DO 174-17, circular 1 was issued to clarify DO 174-17 which tells us how contentious this issue is.
For the last session, Ms. Thelma Meneses, HR Group Head, NutriAsia Inc., and Atty. Melquiades Hernandez III, Corporate Affairs Director, Dole Philippines Inc., gave their insights about what companies should do if they are in the DOLE list. In addition, they also shared how they responded to the inspection findings of DOLE and how they protected and defended the interest of their respective companies in the light of the alleged violations.