Kingdom of Bahrain lifts suspension on domestic workers — DOLE

Marje Pelayo   •   September 17, 2020   •   200

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Tuesday (September 14) confirmed that the Kingdom of Bahrain has lifted its temporary suspension on household service workers.

This means that the Kingdom has resumed the recruitment of domestic workers.

In an advisory, the agency said the announcement was made a month after the renewal of the issuance of work permits of expatriate skilled workers last August 9.

According to its report to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Bahrain added that Filipino workers are preferred by most employers in the kingdom in reopening their doors to migrant workers.

It said that the Kingdom’s Labor Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) has warned would-be employers of migrant domestic workers to refrain from engaging the services of unlicensed domestic manpower agencies in hiring domestic workers. 

Such is to ensure that mitigation measures against the spread of COVID-19 are strictly followed and workers’ rights are upheld and protected, the agency said.

Based on data from POLO–Bahrain, the number of Filipino domestic workers in the Kingdom declined by 9% from January 2019 to June 2020. 

From 18,663 domestic workers in 2019, only 16,576 remained as of June 2020, the agency said.

The ban was announced in March due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

DOLE, DTI mandate regular COVID-19 tests for workers

Marje Pelayo   •   August 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said that workers in several sectors will be required to undergo regular real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests.

The said measure, which took effect Saturday (August 15), is contained in the Joint Memorandum Circular No. 20-04 series of 2020, or DTI and DOLE Supplemental Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19.

It aims at preventing the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in workplaces, according to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.

It covers all workers in the hospitality and tourism sectors, manufacturing companies, including frontline and economic priority employees.

The Secretary emphasized, however, that the tests must be administered free of charge.

“The COVID-19 testing must be at no cost to the employees,” he said.

“This is so far the most comprehensive set of guidelines for the safety and protection of workers and employees in workplaces. The strict observance of these health protocols will make a big  difference in our long-drawn battle to defeat Covid 19 and ensure the productivity of the Filipino workforce,” he added.

Specifically identified to undergo the RT–PCR test include workers in:

  • tourist zones
  • local manufacturing companies
  • transport and logistics
  • food retail
  • education
  • financial services
  • non-food retail services
  • public market
  • construction
  • water supply
  • sewerage and waste management
  • public sector
  • mass media

The joint memorandum covers all establishments, projects, sites, including establishments located inside special economic zones and other investment promotion agencies, and all other places where work is being undertaken in all branches of economic activity, except in the public sector.

The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) said it still need to clarify the details of the memorandum with DOLE. 

According to ECOP President Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr., about 90% of businesses in the country are micro enterprises and about 50% of them have already closed.

ECOP said these enterprises might decide to permanently close due to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. 

“Even nga iyong small matters like face mask and face shield, issue pa rin sa ibang kumpanya. Napakaliit na bagay noon. Iyong testing pa ba [Even the small matters like face masks and face shield remain an issue with other companies. Those are actually small items. How much more with the (RT-PCR) testing],” Luis concluded. MNP (with inputs from Rey Pelayo)

Bahrain king pardons 16 jailed OFWs; 11 deported to PH

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 12, 2020

His Majesty King Hamad Bin lsa Al Khalifa has granted royal pardon to 16 overseas Filipino workers jailed in Bahrain.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said 11 of them have already been deported to the Philippines while the deportation of four others is still being arranged.

“The remaining OFW has been pardoned for the crime of drug peddling, but still faces a 7-year jail term for human trafficking,” DOLE said.

President Rodrigo Duterte expressed his gratitude and hailed the royal pardon as an act of the king’s benevolence made in celebration of this year’s Eid Al-Fitr.

“This act of humanity by His Majesty King Hamad Bin lsa Al Khalifa provides renewed hope and an opportunity for our countrymen and women to build new lives,” he stated in his letter of gratitude to the king. AAC

DOLE now accessible worldwide through mobile app

Marje Pelayo   •   November 27, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) now have ways to stay updated on the services and offers of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) through a mobile application.

According to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, the DOLE mobile app will provide Filipino workers across the globe with the latest news and regulations as well as keep them informed of their rights and benefits at work.

It will also provide them immediate access to the labor departments’ hotline numbers, and contact details of labor offices in their host countries especially during emergencies.

The DOLE mobile app is free to downloaded from the Google Play Store for Android devices and the App Store for Apple devices.

“This application is intended to provide a major channel for our workers and OFWs to get in touch with DOLE and the POLO ( Philippine Overseas Labor Office),” Bello said.

“Through the use of modern technology, they can relay their labor related concerns and complaints,” he concluded.

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