By Analou De Vera
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has reaffirmed its commitment to the administration’s reforms, as President Duterte is set to deliver his third State of the Nation Address.
In a statement on Saturday, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said his department is “steadfast in according full protection to workers by ensuring job security pursuant to the directive of the President.”
Bello said the DOLE has taken initiatives to pursue the effective implementation of the workers right to security of tenure and “eliminate practices that circumvent the law prohibiting illegal contractual arrangements.”
According to the labor department, a total of 321,964 workers were already regularized from August 2016 up to present. “Of this total, 202,779 workers were regularized through voluntary regularization while 119,185 were regularized through inspection,” the DOLE stated.
The department also stated it has established 18 One-Stop Service Centers for overseas Filipino workers across the country, which integrates frontline services of key government agencies.
Moreover, the DOLE said it initially rolled out the iDOLE card for OFWs that will eventually replace the Overseas Employment Certificate to “help ease doing business with government.”
The department also noted it has signed bilateral labor agreements with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Cambodia, to strengthen the protection on migrant workers.
“We have likewise repatriated almost 22,000 migrant workers in distress since 2016,” Bello said.
“For the welfare needs of vulnerable pensioners, we approved a P1,150 across the board increase in the monthly pension of Employees’ Compensation (EC) permanent disability pensioners and qualified beneficiaries in the public sector,” he added.
Meanwhile, the DOLE’s employment facilitation program ‘Trabaho, Negosyo, Kabuhayan’ has mounted 108 job and livelihood events last year, “where 384,379 job vacancies from 2,258 employers were offered to 80,592 qualified applicants.”
“Employment facilitation services and livelihood assistance were also provided to some 8,000 victims of the Marawi Siege composed of internally displaced persons (IDPs), dependents of soldiers and policemen,” the DOLE stated.
Furthermore, financial assistance, livelihood and emergency employment were also provided to affected workers in Boracay, due to the island’s ongoing rehabilitation.
“In the face of challenges, we are undaunted and remain committed to endeavor for the realization of decent job for the Filipino workers in an atmosphere of freedom where their rights are respected and welfare upheld,” Bello said.