The Philippine government continues to implement programs aimed at advancing the rights of workers with the implementation of intensified enforcement of labor laws and standards, particularly in ensuring every worker’s right to safe and humane working conditions, and to the security of tenure, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said.
DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the government has been exerting genuine efforts in advancing the Filipino workers’ welfare, who enjoy greater protection under the Duterte administration.
Citing the recent International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) Global Rights Index 2019 report citing the Philippines as one of the worst countries in the world for workers, placing the Philippines “as among the top 10 worst countries in the world for working people,” Sec. Bello said: “It is unfortunate that ITUC failed to see the consistent efforts of the government in protecting the welfare of Filipino workers. To say that the country has drastically regressed in protecting the worker’s rights is a drastically one-sided finding.”
Bello said in the ITU report’s cases of “violence and murder, brutal repression of public protests, and repressive laws” among workers are all allegations as the cited accusations are not officially reported as labor-related incidents.
As the ITUC, an international labor organization, promotes and defends workers’ rights and interests and is the largest trade union federation in the world, the enacted landmark laws in the Philippines that support the workers’ greater interest, including the Occupational Safety and Health Law, and the Expanded Maternity Leave Law, among others, show that the Philippine government protects its workers, Bello said.
The DOLE is currently in the process of hiring 500 additional Labor Laws Compliance Officers to complement the assessment of over 900,000 establishments across the country to ensure compliance with the general labor laws and standards.
“DOLE is not sleeping on its job and responsibility to protect the workers, in the same way, that we are mandated to encourage businesses to invest more. We remain committed to providing essence to our mandate despite these unwarranted accusations that undermine the genuine efforts of the administration,” Bello said.
In 2018, President Duterte signed the landmark OSH Law, which ensures a safe and healthful workplace for workers by affording them full protection against all hazards at work.
It also provides that any person who manages, controls, or supervises the work is compelled to ensure that the place of employment is safe for workers, and should be free from hazardous conditions likely to cause death, illness, or physical harm to workers.
The DOLE recently signed the IRR of Republic Act No. 11210 or the 105-Day Expanded Maternity Leave Law (EMLL), another landmark Act increasing the Maternity Leave Period to 105 days for female workers with an option to extend for an additional 30 days without pay and granting an additional 15 days for solo mothers and for other purposes.
Covered by the Law are female workers in the public and private sectors; in the informal economy; female members who are voluntary contributors to the Social Security System and female national athletes.
It also allowed a female worker, at her option, to allocate up to seven days of said benefits to the child’s father, whether or not the same is married to the beneficiary. (Ferdinand Patinio, PNA)