DOLE vows to release IRR of service charge law soon

Robie de Guzman   •   August 20, 2019   •   336

Hotel attendant

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is eyeing to release the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Republic Act 11360 or the Service Charge Law soon.

In a statement, Labor Secretary Silvestro Bello III assured they will fast track the crafting of the IRR to release it within the 90-day period.

“We have 90 days to craft the IRR but we don’t intend to maximize it, instead we hope to come up with it as soon as possible so our workers in hotels and restaurants can finally receive reasonable incentives from their hard work and quality services,” Bello said.

The law, signed by President Rodrigo Duterte last August 7, requires restaurants, hotels, and similar establishments to distribute service charges in full among their rank and file and supervisory employees.

The law amended Article 96 of the Labor Code, which only provides workers with 85 percent of the service charge collection while the remaining 15 percent are for the management.

“The law will keep our workers in the hotel and restaurants motivated in providing quality services, as well as a chance to give them a simple reward for their hard work,” Bello said.

Under the new law, all service charges shall be distributed completely and equally among the covered workers, except managerial employees.

It also mandates the establishment of a grievance mechanism to resolve any dispute between employees and the management on the distribution of the service charge.

DOLE said workers can fully receive their equal distribution from the full collected service charges 15 days after the publication of its IRR in a newspaper of general circulation. 

POEA, OWWA to be placed as part of Department of OFW

Maris Federez   •   September 18, 2019

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is pushing for the inclusion of several of its attached agencies in the creation of the Department of OFW.

Based on the proposal submitted by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to the Lower House, he recommended to place the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), and the National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO) as part of the Department of OFW.

Aside from the aforementioned agencies, Bello also proposed to include in the soon to be created department all other entities that cater to the needs and welfare of Filipino workers abroad.

“May mga existing bureau services like yung International Labor Affairs Bureau ng DOLE, yung OWWA ng DFA, yung CFO ng Office of the President, ipapaabsorb diyan sa department na yan,” Bello said. (from the report of Vincent Arboleda) /mbmf

PHL ready to repatriate Filipinos in Saudi Arabia following oil sites attack

Robie de Guzman   •   September 17, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is ready to repatriate thousands of Filipinos from Saudi Arabia who were affected by the attacks on oil sites last weekend, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said Tuesday.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said this is if the condition in the world’s top oil-exporting country worsens in the coming days.

Bello added that as of now, they are still monitoring developments and assessing the possible implications of the attacks on the safety and security of Filipino workers in the area.

There are about 50,000 Filipino workers in areas affected by the blasts but Bello assured no Filipino was injured in the attacks.

“So far, no reports of OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) injured or negatively affected by the attack and no work disruption was reported. Our Philippine Overseas Labor Offices in Al Khobar, Riyadh, and Dammam are also on top of the situation to check on the conditions of our OFWs,” he said in a statement.

On the early hours of Saturday (Sept. 14), a series of major drone attacks were launched on Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil processing facility.

The attacks on the processor and a major oil field sparked a huge fire, according to the kingdom’s interior ministry.

Houthi Rebels have claimed responsibility for the attack.

DOLE said they are closely coordinating with the Department of Foreign Affairs on the possible evacuation of Filipinos from the blast sites.

“We are coordinating with the DFA on the development of the situation for constant assessment. But we are ready for any eventual repatriation to ensure the safety and security of OFWs, or help them secure employment in the other areas,” Bello said.

Saudi Arabia is among the top destination countries for OFWs composing 24.3 percent of the total 2.3 million OFWs across the globe, based on the 2018 Survey of the Philippine Statistics Authority.

Roxas, De Lima on GCTA controversy: Why blame the IRR?

UNTV News   •   September 12, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Former Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas and detained Senator Leila de Lima have broken their silence amid reports linking them to the controversial Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law.

Roxas and De Lima were among those who drafted the law’s implementing rules and regulations (IRR).

The Office of the Ombudsman has requested Roxas and De Lima to explain why the provisions concerning convicts of heinous crimes in relation to the GCTA privilege was not clarified in the IRR.

But the former Interior chief maintained that the IRR shouldn’t be blamed just because the law wasn’t properly implemented.

In a tweet, Roxas stressed that those who approved the convicts’ release order should face the questioning, not those who drafted the IRR.

He accused his critics of passing the buck because of the controversial law.

Nevertheless, Roxas vowed to appear and cooperate in the Ombudsman’s probe.

“Apparently iimbestigahan ng Ombudsman itong (The Ombudsman will probe this) GCTA issue. Well and good, at masasagot ko kung ano man ang mga tanong nila (I will have the chance to answer their questions),” Roxas tweeted.

Meanwhile, De Lima expressed doubts over the intention behind the linking of her name to the GCTA issue when she has nothing to do with the controversy.

“I find this development highly irregular,” the lady senator said in a statement.

De Lima emphasized that the focus of the probe should be on whether or not the officials of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) followed the rules and reviewed the cases using the proper guidelines of releasing a convict under GCTA.

Roxas and De Lima were given three days to respond to the request of the Ombudsman.

Meanwhile, the Ombudsman has launched a fact-finding investigation to determine the alleged irregularities in the implementation of the GCTA law. — MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

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