Labor Secretary Silvestre ” Bebot” Bello III
QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III announced a good news on regularization during his interview with the program “Get It Straight with Daniel Razon” on Tuesday (August 14).
Bello said the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) signified their support to President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign to end “endo” scheme or illegal contractualization in the country.
Secretary Bello said the group of employers in the country vowed to regularize 300,000 contractual employees within the year.
To make it happen, Bello said, ECOP promised to ink an agreement with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) before the year ends.
“Sabi ko kapag ginawa niyo iyan I will give you a labor holiday. In other words, hindi ko pabibisitahin ang mga inspectors ko. Just give me that 300,000 na i-regular niyo…Magkakaroon kami ng memorandum of understanding,” Bello assured.
ECOP serves as an umbrella organization of business communities from small entrepreneurs to large business companies and organizations such as the Hotel and Restaurant Association of the Philippines, Chinese- Filipino Businessmen and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Giant firms such as SM Retail Inc. and Jollibee Foods Corporation are also members of ECOP.
Meanwhile, Bello admits they lack available labor law compliance officers to complete the inspection of 800,000 business establishments in the country. Since President Duterte issued the directive in May this year, DOLE was able to inspect only around 99,000 establishments to date.
Thus the Secretary encourages workers and employees themselves to volunteer by undergoing a DOLE-facilitated training to help in the inspection while the agency is awaiting the additional funds from the government in order to hire a new set of Labor Law Compliance Officers.
“Ideally sana kung talagang mapagtibay namin ang aming pag- iinspect, tama na sakin muna ng at least 2, 500 additional for a start. Iyong mga nurse sabi namin mag- apply kayo. We will deputize you. After your training, kayo ang mag- inspect sa mga hospitals,” he said.
Secretary Bello admits that regularization is a huge challenge, noting that he needs to convince business giants and conglomerates.
He insists his conscience is clear against allegations being thrown at him, even linking him with giant private companies.
Bello made it to the headlines because of multiple accusations of corruption, extortion and unauthorized collection of fees for OFW iDOLE cards.
The Secretary said he is willing to step down anytime if the President orders him to do so. But Bello remains confident that he still has the trust of President Duterte.
“Awa ng Dios hindi pa naman ako tinatawagan ng Presidente. Kasi sabi naman ng Presidente na kahit kaunting suspicion lang na meron kang kinasasangkutan na katiwalian, ‘Hindi lang kita tanggalin, papatayin pa kita,’ sabi niya. Awa ng Dios buhay pa ako. Alam ng ating Pangulo ang pagkatao ko,” he concluded. – Aiko Miguel / Marje Pelayo