Duterte urges Congress to expedite creation of agency concerning OFWs

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 28, 2020   •   190

President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte urged Congress to expedite the creation of a new agency that will cater to the welfare of the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

“So I proposed in the coming months, and I hope to come up with a Department of Overseas Workers,” he said.

Duterte said the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has so much burden to focus on OFWs.

The President also said the new agency will address the persistent woes encountered by OFWs. There is also a proposal to create another agency for seafarers.

“So iyan ang ano ko sa mga kababayan ko na naghihirap sa labas, (So that is what I can provide for our fellowmen abroad) that there will be a more thorough review in policies for your protection and that somebody should look after you,” he said.

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go in 2019 filed Senate Bill 202, or the Department of Overseas Filipinos Act of 2019 in support of President Duterte’s advocacy. AAC

No work stoppage order yet vs. Skyway project contractor over mishap — Bello

Marje Pelayo   •   November 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has not yet issued any work stoppage order against the contractor of Skyway Extension Project in Muntinlupa City following the fatal accident on Saturday (November 21).

In an interview on Tuesday (November 24), Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III clarified that there is no such decision yet as he needs to receive and read first the report from the DOLE-NCR regional director about the incident.

The report will be his basis for deciding whether or not to issue a formal stoppage order against the contractor.

According to initial investigation, a crane tipped over while it moving into position. It hit a steel girder that fell on six vehicles leaving one person dead, four others injured and several vehicles damaged.

In DOLE’s Live broadcast on Facebook Monday (November 23), IPS Director Rolly Francia announced that DOLE-NCR Regional Director Sarah Buena Mirasol issued an order against the contractor of the project – EEI Corporation and its sub-contractors, to immediately suspend work on the construction site.

Francia, citing the order from Mirasol, said the work stoppage order was issued to give way to an investigation that will determine if the contractor and subcontractors of the project committed violations of occupational and safety standards and if they are duly licensed to operate.

Contractors may face penalties and non-issuance of clearances for Occupational Safety (OS) should violations be proven. MNP / Raymund David

Young agri-professionals to be deployed to gov’t projects under internship program

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 10, 2020

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) announced that hundreds of young agricultural professionals will be deployed to various government offices and projects to suffice the demand for the profession in agriculture.

In a statement, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said these young professionals will be deployed under the labor department’s Government Internship Program (GIP).

An agreement was signed by Bello and Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar where hundreds of technical and agricultural biosystems engineers and graduates will be employed by DA.

“From the labor and employment perspective, the development of the rural sector is a crucial first step for the country to provide more and better jobs for the poor. Three-quarters of the poor are found in the rural areas and agriculture employs most of the poor, which means agriculture plays a key role in efficiently reducing poverty”, he said.

According to DOLE, the internship period will be a minimum of three months to a maximum of six months.

These young professionals will be paid equivalent to the existing minimum wage of the region where the beneficiary is employed and shall be entitled to insurance coverage. -AAC

Duterte summons BI personnel allegedly involved in pastillas controversy

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 10, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday (November 10) summoned to Malacañang the forty-four Bureau of Immigration (BI) personnel allegedly involved in the ‘pastillas’ controversy.

According to Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra, Duterte handed each of the BI personnel peso bills that were wrapped to look like pastillas. The said personnel were suspended by the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) due to their alleged involvement in the ‘pastillas scheme’.

“He wanted them to eat the pastillas, but did not insist ‘out of deference to the secretary of justice who was also present’. He said, either you eat it or give it to the first beggar you see,” Guevarra said in a statement.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the stunt was to reiterate the President does not tolerate corruption.

Nagsabi rin po ang president na dapat matigil na ang korupsyon, at nagsabi rin ang president na kayo’y nakasuhan na, depensahan ninyo ang sarili ninyo (The President also said that corruption should be curbed and he also said you will face charges. Defend yourself),” he said.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said the passage of the Immigration Act will help curb corruption in the agency. The act aims to respond to the concerns of Immigration personnel with regard to salary.

“The new law, which is already in Congress, will answer salary woes, remove systemic issues, plug loopholes in policies, update fines and penalties, ensure division of power, and confer to the Commissioner the proper disciplinary powers,” the statement reads. -AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

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