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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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Palace: Term extension bid for elected officials up to Congress

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, July 11th, 2019

Courtesy : HOR Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – The decision on whether to amend the Constitution to provide for longer terms of elected officials, as proposed by House speaker bet Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano, is up to lawmakers, Malacañang said on Thursday.

“The decision would always lie on the members of Congress because they are the ones passing the bill. I will not preempt the wisdom of the members of Congress on this matter,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo told reporters at a Palace press briefing.

Cayetano, during a gathering of lawmakers on Wednesday, proposed to extend the term limits for elected officials, insisting it would be more “practical” and “productive” for the Lower House.  

Panelo also suggested to congressmen to consult the public about the proposal.

“I think they should conduct a survey on the sentiments of the people, whether or not they agree on that proposal. And I’m sure since that has been floated, there will be opinions being expressed by many sectors,” he said.

At present, a congressman has a three-year term and may serve for no more than three consecutive terms.

A senator has a six-year team with one re-election. (with details from Grace Casin)

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Term-sharing in House speakership won’t affect legislative agenda—Malacañang

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

Courtesy : HOR Facebook page

Malacañang has assured that the term-sharing in the House Speakership will not affect the legislative agenda of the administration.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said it is the decision of the House of Representatives if they will follow President Rodrigo Duterte’s endorsement about the term-sharing.

READ: Duterte: Cayetano, Velasco to share term as House Speaker

“Nag-agree na nga iyong tatlo, sila nga ang magkakalaban, (The three have already agreed) they forged into unity so how can there be disruptions?” Panelo said.

READ: Duterte: I don’t want to interfere in House affairs

Duterte already announced the term-sharing on Monday (July 8) between Taguig City Representative Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco as House Speakers.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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Malacañang slams Amnesty International over calls to probe Duterte’s war on drugs

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Monday, July 8th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang lambasted human rights group Amnesty International (AI) over calls for the United Nation Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to investigate the administration’s war on drugs.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Monday (July 8) accused the group of politicking and using the issue to malign the reputation of the President Rodrigo Duterte’s government.  

According to Malacañang, the group doesn’t have the right to probe the human rights situation in the country given that the Philippines has a local human rights body authorized to conduct an inquiry on the alleged abuses as a result of the government’s drive against illegal drugs.

Panelo added that there are organizations in the Philippines that can provide legal assistance to victims of human rights abuses such as the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP).

“The problem is this Amnesty International is politicizing the so-called extrajudicial killings of this country,” Panelo argued.

“There is bias. There is prejudice. We’d rather have our own groups here protective of human rights, to help, those who feel that there have been police abuses in the matter of police operations” he added.

The Palace insisted that the international group has no basis for its claims adding that its figure on alleged deaths related to the government’s drug war is exaggerated and is not backed by factual reports.

Likewise, the Duterte administration challenges its critics to file a formal complaint if there is any proof or confirmed victims of abuse in relation to the drug war as the government will not tolerate such practice especially among law enforcers such as the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Filing a complaint, Panelo said, is the most appropriate action against any case of abuse, if there’s any, during the conduct of anti-drug operations.

“I think it is incorrigible on the part of the Amnesty International to make that call. It keeps on calling for an investigation ever since. But the fact remains that the basis for their call is factually wrong,” argued Panelo.

“They’re saying that there have been murders in this country as if all those who are killed in the police operations have been intentionally slaughtered or killed by the policemen” he concluded.

Earlier on Monday, AI, made public its report – “They Just Kill” – which demanded the UNHRC to approve a resolution that seeks for an investigation into the Philippines’ drug war.

It also called for the UN body to “immediately initiate an independent, impartial and effective investigation into human rights violations in the ‘war on drugs,’ including the commission of crimes under international law.” – with reports from Rosalie Coz and April Cenedoza

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