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Duterte ends appointment of Bello, 3 others as gov’t peace negotiators

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has terminated the appointment of Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III as the government’s chief peace negotiator following the collapse of peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, “by order of the President,” signed the termination letter dated March 18.

Aside from Bello, Duterte also ordered the termination of the role of Antonio Arellano, Angela Librado-Trinidad and Rene Sarmiento as members of the government peace negotiating panel.

The letters say the termination of their designation is effective immediately.

The four were also directed to return all the documents about the government peace process.

“To ensure uninterrupted delivery of public service, you are hereby directed to turn over all official documents, papers and properties in your possession to the office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity,” the letter read.

READ: Malacañang to CPP-NPA-NDF: Move on and don’t blame the gov’t for termination of talks

Duterte terminated the peace talks with the Reds in November 2017 following a string of attacks staged by the NPA rebels against government troops. – Robie de Guzman/Rosalie Coz

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PH ‘unjustly vilified’ in 2019 global workers’ rights index – Bello

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, July 5th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has criticized a report which cited the Philippines as one of the worst countries in the world for workers.

In a statement released Friday, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the country was “unjustly vilified” in the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) Global Rights Index 2019 placing the Philippines “as among the top 10 worst countries in the world for working people.”

The labor chief added that Filipino workers enjoy greater protection under the Duterte administration.

“It is unfortunate that ITUC failed to see the consistent efforts of the government in protecting the welfare of the Filipino workers. To say that the country has drastically regressed in protecting the worker’s rights is a drastically one-sided finding,” Bello said.

He also stressed that the cases of “violence and murder, brutal repression of public protests, and repressive laws” among workers are all allegations as the cited accusations are not officially reported as labor-related incidents.

He further emphasized the genuine efforts of the government in advancing the rights and welfare of workers, including the intensified enforcement of labor laws and standard, particularly in ensuring every worker’s right to safe and humane working conditions, and to the security of tenure.

The labor chief also noted the enacted landmark laws that championed the workers’ greater interest, including the Occupational Safety and Health Law, and the Expanded Maternity Leave Law, among others.

Bello also reported that as of now, DOLE is in the process of hiring 500 additional Labor Laws Compliance Officers to complement the assessment of over 900,000 establishments across the country to ensure compliance to the general labor laws and standards.

“DOLE is not sleeping on its job and responsibility to protect the workers, in the same way that we are mandated to encourage businesses to investing more,” he said.

“We remain committed in providing essence to our mandate despite these unwarranted accusations that undermine the genuine efforts of the administration,” he added.

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DOLE announces total deployment ban to Libya

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has announced the implementation of a total deployment ban on Filipino workers to Libya.

In an interview, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello said that the department has declared the total ban of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) to Libya after receiving a copy of the formal advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday (April 10) afternoon that they elevated the alert level in Tripoli and other parts of Libya.

This, after violence has escalated in Tripoli, Libya’s capital.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Embassy in Libya has earlier appealed “to the Filipino community in Tripoli and in areas near where armed clashes have been reported to relocate to safer locations before the fighting intensifies further,” in its Twitter post.

Bello further said that the deployment ban which is seen to affect more than 2,600 people will take effect immediately.

This includes even those who are just in the Philippines for a vacation and are just going back to work. – Maris Federez

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Thailand to open opportunities for Filipino English teachers – Bello

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III

MANILA, Philippines – Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III has announced that a labor agreement is soon to be signed with the government of Thailand to hire hundreds of Filipino English teachers.

Bello said he is set to meet with the Thai Ministry of Employment officials to discuss the provisions of the agreement under the Thai government’s ‘English for All’ Project in the area of Eastern Economic Corridor.

Bello said, “Filipino teachers are the preferred nationals needed by the government of Thailand because of the excellent English proficiency and competence of our teachers.”

Under the proposed agreement, the Thailand Ministry of Education will hire teachers to teach English to students in primary and secondary levels in government schools.

Successful applicants will receive 25,000 baht per month or P45,000 salary, inclusive of housing allowance, according to Bello.

Likewise, they will be provided with personal accident insurance, round trip airfare, and work permit fees to be shouldered by the Thai government.

Meanwhile, Secretary Bello said Thailand is also opening job opportunities to other foreign professionals in in the field of accounting, architecture, engineering, medicine and dental medicine.

According to government record, there are 16,704 overseas Filipino workers in Thailand.

A total of 11,848 of them are professionals, mostly composed of teachers, musicians and other professionals. – Marje Pelayo

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