By Analou De Vera
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) assured that it will prioritize the employment of Filipino workers over foreign nationals who intend to work in the country.
“We will not issue an AEP (Alien Employment Permit) if the work to be done by foreign nationals can be done by a Filipino,” said Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, citing that it is his marching order to labor officers.
The AEP is a document being issued by the labor department which authorizes a foreign national to work in the country for more than six months.
Bello said that they can impose a penalty to companies who hire illegal foreign workers.
“Kapag may nahuli kami na company na nagpapatrabaho ng isang foreign national na walang AEP, we can impose penalty and after investigation or inspection, we can order the suspension of the operator,” he said.
[If we catch a company that allows foreign nationals to work without AEP, we can impose penalty and after investigation or inspection, we can order the suspension of the operator.]
The labor chief said he wanted to increase the penalty and to have the authority to close down establishments who repeatedly commit the same offense of hiring illegal foreign workers.
“Ayun yung hinihingi ko sa Congress. They should give DOLE that power (to close down establishments in violation.). Sa ngayon fine palang eh,” said Bello.
[That’s what I’m asking for from Congress. They should give DOLE that power (to close down establishments in violation.). Right now, it’s only a fine.]
Currently, the labor department could only impose a fine worth P10,000 per illegal foreign worker, said Bello.
“Maliit nga lang—P10,000. Dapat P10 million. Per employee. Per offense, [It is small—P10,000. It should be P10 million. Per employee. Per offense]” said Bello.