The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Friday reiterated that the government continues to implement programs aimed at advancing the rights of workers.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III made the statement as he criticized reports citing the Philippines as one of the worst countries in the world for workers.
The DOLE chief noted that Filipino workers enjoy greater protection under the Duterte administration, emphasizing that the government has exerted genuine efforts in advancing their welfare, including the intensified enforcement of labor laws and standard, particularly in ensuring every worker’s right to safe and humane working conditions, and to the security of tenure.
He was reacting on the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) Global Rights Index 2019 placing the Philippines “as among the top 10 worst countries in the world for working people,”
“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 a statement.
Bello explained that the 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.
At the same time, he mentioned the enacted landmark laws that support the workers’ greater interest, including the Occupational Safety and Health Law, and the Expanded Maternity Leave Law, among others.
Currently, the DOLE is 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.
The ITUC promotes and defends workers’ rights and interests and is the largest trade union federation in the world.
Last year, 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.
Earlier, the DOLE 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)