72 more dead OFWs from Saudi Arabia to be flown home Friday – DOLE

Robie de Guzman   •   August 26, 2020   •   402

MANILA, Philippines – The remains of 72 more overseas Filipino workers (OFW) who died in Saudi Arabia amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic will arrive in the Philippines on Friday, August 28, the Department of Labor and Employment (DILG) said.

In a statement on Tuesday, DOLE said 62 of the OFWs succumbed to COVID-19, while the 10 others died of other causes.

The department said the bodies will be flown home via a chartered flight that will land at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Friday morning.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said this is the fourth batch of dead OFWs covered by the government’s repatriation program through the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Bello said of the 72 remains, 40 are from Al Khobar, 17 from Jeddah and 15 from Riyadh. This brings to 264 the total repatriated human remains of OFWs from Saudi Arabia.

The first three batches of repatriated remains involving 192 migrant workers were brought home by the government in separate occasions last month, he said.

Grand ceremonies were held to welcome the deceased Filipinos in recognition of their heroism and valuable contribution to the national economy, he added.

“The same respect will be accorded to the arriving OFWs who lost their lives in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in pursuit of a better future for their families and motherland,” Bello said.

“We are ready for their arrival. We will continue to bring home our heroes whatever it takes,” he added.

No exemptions, deferment: DOLE tells firms to give workers 13th-month pay

Robie de Guzman   •   October 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Thursday said it will neither defer nor give exemptions to any company from releasing the 13th month pay for their workers even amid the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We will not postpone, we will not defer and we will not give an exemption to the payment of the 13th month pay,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said during a Laging Handa public briefing.

“The law says, pay the workers their 13th month pay on or before December 24. ‘Yan po ang ipatutupad ng Department of Labor,” he added.

Bello said a department order to companies will be released on Friday.

The Labor chief earlier said they are considering a proposal to help micro and small enterprises that were badly hit by the pandemic to give their workers 13th month pay through government subsidy.

Bello said they are seeking approval from the Department of Finance (DOF) for the proposed subsidy or loan program for small firms.

“Nag-request kami kay (Finance) Sec. (Carlos) Dominguez na kung maaari bigyan ng subsidy yung mga employers that are categorized as micro and small enterprises para mabigyan sila ng subsidy o kaya mabigyan sila ng opportunity to make loans sa ating banks, lahat ng mga banks,” he said.

Dominguez, for his part, said his agency has yet to determine the budget for the said proposal.

“I have asked Sec. Bello for the details of his proposal so we can determine if we have the budget cover for it,” the finance chief said in a message to reporters. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Mirasol Abogadil)

DOLE studying employers’ plea to subsidize 13th month pay

Robie de Guzman   •   October 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Wednesday said it is studying the plea of some “distressed” employers to subsidize the cost of the 13th  month pay of their workers.

DOLE said it would deliberate on the proposal after its meeting with labor groups and business owners on Tuesday.

The labor department added that it will coordinate with the Department of Finance to discuss the employers’ suggestion.

DOLE Undersecretary Benjo Benevidez, however, stressed that employers who may avail of the possible subsidy must pass the requirements and prove that their businesses have indeed took a hit in the last three business quarters.

“Kung ikaw ay nagsasabing distressed employer ka, patunayan mon a distressed employer ka… Isa po sa proseso ay magpunta ka sa DOLE at aaprubahan yung kanilang application,” he said.

DOLE met with employers and labor groups to discuss the possible deferment of the 13th month pay due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Under Presidential Decree No. 851, companies are required to give workers their 13th month pay and that this should be released before the end of each year, separate from other year-end bonuses.

The department said labor groups are firm on their position to receive their 13th month pay as provided by the law.

The employers are willing to give workers their 13th month pay but the pandemic has affected their capacity to do so, it added.

DOLE said it will announce its decision on the matter in the coming days. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Mirasol Abogadil)

13th month pay hindi kayang ibigay ng lahat ng kumpanya ngayong may pandemya – ECOP

Robie de Guzman   •   October 12, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Maraming kumpanya ang mahihirapang magbigay ng 13th month pay sa kanilang mga empleyado ngayong taon dahil sa epekto ng COVID-19 pandemic, ayon sa Employers Confederaton of the Philippines (ECOP).

Ayon kay ECOP President Sergio Luis-Ortiz Jr., 90 porsyento sa mga kumpanya sa bansa ay nabibilang sa micro o maliliit na negosyo at marami sa mga ito ang hindi pa nakakabawi mula sa pagkalugi bunsod ng pandemya.

Kaya kung puwede lang sana, ipagpaliban muna ang pagbibigay ng 13th month pay ngunit batid nilang hindi ito maaari sa ilalim ng Labor Code.

“We are encouraging everybody of course to pay, because that’s the law. Unfortunately the reality is merong mga kumpanya na hindi kayang magbigay,” ang wika ni Luis-Ortiz.

Ayon kay Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, obligado ang mga employer na bigyan ng 13th month pay ang mga manggagawa at wala silang planong ipagpaliban ito.

“’Yung 13th month pay ay dapat bayaran ng mga employer on or before December 25. ‘Yan ang batas PD 851. Wala po kaming planong i-postpone o i-delay ang pagbayad niyan,” ang pahayag ni Bello.

Kung kailangan naman ng mga maliliit na negosyante ng pera na pandagdag-puhunan o kaya ay para sa iba pang kadahilanan, sinabi ng Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) na maaari silang mag-apply sa loan program ng Small Business Corporation (SB Corp.)

Ayon kay Frank Lloyd Gonzaga, ang Vice President for planning and advocacy ng DTI-SB Corp., P10 bilyon ang inilaan ng pamahalaan para sa programang ito na ipinatutupad sa ilalim ng Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.

Ayon kay Gonzaga, pinadali na ang proseso sa aplikasyon ng loan at maaaring gawin online ang transaksyon.

“Ngayon ang nire-require natin as long as meron kang BIR filed financial statement ay maaari nang mag apply,” ang pahayag ni Gonzaga.

Sa mga interesado, maaaring bisitahin ang website ng SB Corp. para sa karagdagang detalye. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Rey Pelayo)

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