By Erma Edera
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello said labor law compliance officers are now on red alert monitoring the potential recruitment of foreign workers by offshore gaming operators and building contractors for jobs that are already fit for Filipinos.
“Actually, on red alert yung ating labor law compliance officers. Hindi namin binabanggit sa publiko, meron kaming mga inspector na ini-inspect lahat itong ‘yang Boracay at Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (Our labor law compliance officers are on red alert. We haven’t made it public, but we have inspectors monitoring Boracay and POGOs),” he added.
“‘Yung tungkol sa negosyo ay wala tayong magagawa kasi tayo we are in trade relations with other countries kaya kung may mag invest dito, ok sa atin diba. Ang panget diyan kung ang magtatayo ng business dito ay dayuhan din ang kanilang gagamiting mga manggagawa. ‘Yun ang mali. We will not allow that (When it comes to businesses there is nothing we can do but if there are investments, it is fine with us. What we do not like is when foreign nationals are hired for the jobs),” Bello said.
The Department of Finance recently ordered the consolidation of all foreign nationals working for POGOs to ensure that they are paying the proper taxes.
Bello said the inter-agency task force will compile the list and would release the detailed result of the inspection in POGOs and the country’s economic zones.
“Nagkaroon kami ng massive inspection and we are just waiting for the result,” he said.
Bello said there were loopholes that that need to be addressed especially on solving labor and tax issues involving foreign nationals.
Foreign workers who are working without an alien employment permit (AEP), for example, are only fined P10,000, Bello said.
“Napakaliit eh kayang-kaya nila ‘yan. Bilyong bilyon ang kinikita ng mga lintik na ‘yan eh (That’s too small, they can pay it. They are earning billions),” he said.
Bello admitted that department has limited capability to thoroughly monitor almost 1 million establishments since it only has 800 labor inspectors nationwide.
He also urged the public to report illegal foreign workers through DOLE’s Hotline 1349. Smart and Globe Telecom subscribers can easily reach DOLE by dialing 1-3-4-9 without any prefix.