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DOLE to closely monitor firms violating Labor Code, Expanded Maternity Leave Act

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, May 3rd, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has assured it will closely monitor employers following the signing of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for the Republic Act 11210 or the Expanded Maternity Leave Act.

The implementing rules for the law were signed on Labor Day (May 1) in San Fernando, Pampanga, months after President Rodrigo Duterte signed the measure in February.

READ: IRR for Expanded Maternity Leave Law signed on Labor Day

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said they will keep watch of companies’ that will discriminate against women in their hiring practices following concerns on the “higher cost implications” of the new law.

“Mayroon naman tayong inspectorial power, puwede naming inspeksyunin yan,” Bello said.

Article 135 of the Philippine Labor Code states that it shall be unlawful for any employer to discriminate against any woman employee with respect to terms and conditions of employment solely on account of her sex.

Bello stressed that employers should hire female workers based on their competence and integrity and that the additional leave benefits for women should not be a concern to employers.

“Ang mga employers, when they hire workers they rise on the basis of their competence and integrity hindi yun sa buntis o sa ganda. It’s on the confidence and integrity of the worker kaya yung dagdag na araw na kanilang leave, it should not be a concern to our employer,” he said.

Under the law, working mothers in private and public sectors – regardless of civil status – will be granted 105 days of paid maternity leave with the option to extend for 30 days without pay.

Solo mothers can get additional 15 days of leave.

The previous law only allowed female workers a 60-day paid maternity leave for normal childbirth and 78 days for cesarean delivery.

Husbands can also benefit from the new law as it includes a provision allowing the allocation of seven maternity leave days to fathers. This is on top of the seven-day paternity leave provided under the Paternity Leave Act of 1996.

Bello also said that instead of raising concern on the additional cost implications, employers should appreciate the law which provides for women’s rights to health and decent work.

“Dapat i-appreciate ‘yan ng mga employer, alam mo kung bakit? This expanded maternity leave is intended to improve and ensure the health of our lady worker,” he said.

Meanwhile, Malacañang lauded the recent signing of the IRR, which will pave the way for the full implementation of the law.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that aside from added maternity leave benefits for female workers, the law also means more quality time to spend with the family.

“Imagine 105 days, that means you will have more time with your family, quality time. And that means also your health will be protected, because you will not be forced to work immediately after giving birth,” he said.

“And also the husbands, ‘di ba mayroon pa silang extended, parang 15, magiging 15 days na, so makakabuti sa pamilya iyon,” he added.

Employers who will fail or refuse to comply with the law will be fined of not less than P20,000 nor more than P200,000; imprisonment of less than six years and one day nor more than 12 years or both.

Failure to implement the new law shall also be a ground for non-renewal of business permits. (with reports from Rosalie Coz and Leslie Huidem)

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Malacañang expects Go, Bato, Tolentino to be independent as senators

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, May 16th, 2019

(L-R) Former Philippine National Police chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, former presidential adviser Francis Tolentino, former special assistant to the president Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Thursday (May 16) said it expects incoming senators, particularly those who are close allies of President Rodrigo Duterte, to be independent when it comes to issues involving national interest.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement following concerns that the check and balances in government may be affected as administration-backed Senate bets look set to join the upper chamber of Congress.

Partial and unofficial count from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) showed that nine Senate bets endorsed by Duterte are in the top 12.

These are reelectionist Senator Cynthia Villar, former special assistant to the president Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, former Philippine National Police chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, former presidential adviser Francis Tolentino, House Deputy Speaker Pia Cayetano, reelectionist senators Sonny Angara and Koko Pimentel, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos and former Senator Bong Revilla.

Three of them – Go, Dela Rosa and Tolentino – are known close allies of Duterte.

Panelo, however, believes that the three will do their job well and always put first the best interest of the nation.

 “It’s just happened that they are very close to the president but that doesn’t mean they will be subservient,” he said.

“Whether or not Senate or Congress is dominated by the allies of whoever is incumbent, we expect them to pass economic reforms that will be beneficial to the Filipino people. The issue on whether you are an ally or not should not be discussed,” he added.

Panelo stressed that the mandate of the Congress is to pass laws that will be beneficial for the people.

“It’s about time to eradicate the discussion on parties’ consideration. That is where we fail,” he said.

Aside from Duterte’s allies, other senatorial candidates who are in the winners’ circle based on partial tally are reelectionist senators Grace Poe, Nancy Binay, and former senator Lito Lapid. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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Malacañang: Recall of PH officials over trash spat, a warning to Canada

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, May 16th, 2019

Canadian trash illegally exported to the Philippines (left) and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (right)

MANILA, Philippines – The order of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to recall the Philippine ambassador and consuls to Canada is a warning that the diplomatic relations between the two countries may be severed over a garbage spat, the Malacañang said on Thursday.

This was after the Canadian government missed the May 15 deadline to take back tons of trash it sent to Manila several years ago.

DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said the recall order was to “maintain a diminished diplomatic presence in Canada until its garbage is ship bound there.”

READ: PH recalls envoys to Canada over missed trash shipment deadline

“The fact alone that Secretary Locsin has recalled our diplomats there shows that not only are we serious, we are already warning them, we’re gonna severe diplomatic relations,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo told reporters at a press briefing.

Panelo added that the recall order for envoys aims to urge the Canadian government to expedite the garbage shipment process.

“That order of the recall is to persuade them to make it fast. The more the delay, the more personnel will be coming back,” he said.

Panelo on Wednesday said there might be a slight delay in shipping out the Canadian garbage due to the processing of documents. He had then surmised that the shipment of the trash might begin in “one to two weeks.”

The Canadian government earlier agreed to pay for the expenses in shipping out all 69 waste containers it had dumped in the Philippines in 2013 following a stern warning issued by President Rodrigo Duterte last month.

READ: Finally! Canada agrees to shoulder return of trash shipment

The President had warned he would declare “war” against Canada if it fails to retrieve its illegally exported trash.

He was referring to 103 containers of Canadian mixed wastes that arrived in Manila in batches from 2013 to 2014. The trash from around 26 containers have been dumped in a private landfill in Tarlac.

READ: Canada vows to resolve trash dumping issue after Duterte’s war threat

Ottawa earlier assured Manila it is working on resolving the issue “to ensure the material is processed in an environmentally responsible way.”

There are more than 837,000 Filipinos residing and working in Canada, based on a 2016 census. Most of them are located in Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg.

Some Filipinos there have appealed to the Philippine government to reconsider its move against Canada so as not to jeopardize the relations between the two nations.

Malacañang, however, assured that the government will continue to protect the interest of Filipinos abroad no matter what the outcome of its actions will be.

“Whatever the consequence, this government will be protective of the interest of our countrymen in any part of the world,” Panelo said. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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Palace lambasts detractors over Netflix video attacking Duterte

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

Political comedian Hasan Minhaj | Courtesy: Netflix

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang lambasted a political-satire show on Netflix hosted by comedian Hasan Minhaj for “maliciously (implying) that President (Rodrigo) Duterte is an ‘autocrat’ who ‘every so often goes on a killing spree’.

“We find it desperate that, on the eve of the Philippine midterm elections, the vociferous detractors of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte would use an American comedy show, aired on Netflix, to demonize the Chief Executive and his government in its episode entitled ‘Brazil, Corruption and the Rainforest’ before the global audience,” Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said in a statement late Tuesday night.

Andanar made the remark after an episode of Hasan’s show “Patriot Act” went viral on social media a day before the May 13 midterm elections.

The Secretary hit Hasan for his “exaggerated” figures as the latter claimed that the government’s war on drugs allegedly yielded 27,000 deaths which is way higher than the actual, official count.

According to the Andanar, “There are about 5,050 drug personalities who died during the 115,435 anti-drug operations from July 2016 to November 2018.”

“We express outrage that such erroneous narratives, obviously peddled by anti-Duterte haters and trolls, would find their way to the gullible TV host and his comedy show and unwittingly parrot these falsehoods to an audience unaware of the real score in the Philippines,” he said.

In fact, Andanar said, a recent survey by an independent pollster which showed that 6 out of 10 Filipinos expressed their support to the government’s war on drugs “attesting that the campaign is effective.”

Also, in his video, the American comedian criticized Duterte for his endorsement of some senatorial aspirants.

In response, Andanar defended Duterte saying: “The President called on the public to vote for those who support his measures to uplift people from poverty and have a stable, comfortable, and peaceful life that they deserve. He also called on the public to dismiss black propaganda against the administration amid the midterm elections.”

But even if the President endorsed names for the senatorial election, the official argued that it is still the Filipino people that will decide on who shall be their leaders.

“The Philippines, like the USA, is a country where democracy is vibrant and the will of the people reigns supreme.  Ultimately, it is the Filipino people who will choose their own set of leaders and we simply have to respect the results of the elections,” Secretary Andanar stressed.

He added that the results of the midterm elections, which favored the candidates endorsed by President Duterte, just prove the Filipinos’ trust on the Chief Executive.

“The preliminary results of the nationwide polls affirmed that the public indeed heeded the President’s call. This proves that the voting population continues to believe in the genuine reforms advocated by the candidates endorsed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte,” he added

In the latter part of his commentary, Hasan expressed praises for personalities critical to the Duterte administration such as detained Senator Leila de Lima and Rappler CEO, Maria Ressa for “standing up” against the President.

But Andanar argued that “their cases underwent legal processes and their politics, or opposition to President Duterte, has nothing to do with the charges that they are now facing,”

“Both personalities violated domestic laws with Ms. Ressa committing tax evasion, breach of anti-dummy laws, and violation of cyber laws; and Senator De Lima transgressing anti-drug laws,” the Communication Secretary explained. – Marje Pelayo (with details from Rosaliie Coz)

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