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Minimum wage earners in NCR may expect P20 or higher pay increase – DOLE

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, 27 September 2018 04:19 PM


(File photo) Construction workers


QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) is expected to finalize next month the amount of wage increase that workers in the National Capital Region (NCR) will get.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III assured that the wage hike for minimum wage earners in NCR will not be lower than P20.00.

“It could be a minimum of P20 or above. Ang ibig sabihin within the range na iyan,” Bello said.

But for the labor group Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP), a P20-pesos increase is not enough.

According to Alan Tanjusay, the group’s spokesperson, they will appeal to the Wage Board if the P20-increase pushes through.

ALU-TUCP calls for a P320 increase in the minimum wage of Metro Manila workers.

But DOLE said they need to consider all aspects that could impact other sectors of the government before they implement a wage increase.

“We have to balance the interest of management and also especially labor hindi ka lang pwede magbigay ng ganyang kalaki,maaring makakabuti sa manggawa for a while kasi ok tataas sila pero eh kung mag-close yung business e di mawawalan sila ng trabaho,” explained Secretary Bello.

DOLE expects a final decision on the wage increase on the third week of October.

For a minimum wage earner like Vic Arañes, a P20-increase would never be enough for his family of six.

He wishes it to be higher.

“Sana mas higit pa dun kasi mababa talaga. Kapos pa rin. Pinagkakasya lang naming. Minsan sa isang araw halos dalawang beses na lang kami kumain sa sobrang tipid kasi nga maraming gastusin,” said Arañes, a construction worker. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Joan Nano)

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Asian domestic workers urge HK gov’t for a pay increase

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, 15 March 2019 04:30 PM

Hong Kong | Photo credit: Reuters

HONG KONG – The Asian Domestic Workers Union is urging the Hong Kong government to look into the condition of household workers in the country who suffer from what they call ‘modern day slavery.”

The group argued that the current policies deprive household workers time to rest.

“Most of migrant domestic workers here usually work for 12-16 hours a day,” said Niken Wulan, an Indonesian migrant worker.

“We just want a humane and equal treatment,” she added.

The group wants the government to increase the monthly salary of household workers’ minimum wage from HK$4,520 (P30,000) to HK$5,500 (P37,000).

The domestic workers’ union also wants increase in food allowances for those whose employers’ do not provide free meal.

Meanwhile, the group condemned the Hong Kong government’s failure to adopt the United Nation’s International Labor Organization Convention on Domestic Helpers No. 189 which protects the rights of household workers across the globe.

Foreign household workers in Hong Kong has increased to 350,000 in 2017.

Government statistics say such number is expected to boom to 600,000 in the year 2047. – Marje Pelayo (with details from Ferdie Petalio)

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DOLE task force verifies number of foreign workers in the country

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Saturday, 23 February 2019 10:07 PM

(File photo) Philippine authorities arrest Chinese employees at Fontana Casino for allegedly being part of an illegal online gambling operation ( December 21, 2016)

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has formed a task force, in cooperation with other agencies, to determine the actual number of illegal foreign workers in the country.

Labor Sec. Silvestre bello III said they have already met with the secretary of Department of Finance, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and  Bureau of Immigration (BI) and is eyeing to release an inventory within a month.

“Bawa’t agency may sarili silang inventory, hindi magkatugma. Gaya ng sa bid, iba ang figures nila, iba ang figures namin, iba ang POGO (Philippine offshore gaming operators), iba ang DTI. We have to come up with a consolidated inventory,” Bello said.

(Each agency has their own inventory, but it doesn’t match up. Like in a bid, our figures are different from each other. POGO has its own figure and so does DTI. We have to come up with a consolidated inventory.)

Based on DOLE’s data, there are 169,000 foreign workers in the country compared with 40 million Filipino workers.

The Labor Secretary also said, work should be given to Filipino workers instead of foreign workers if they are capable of doing the job. He added that if a foreigner is working as a construction worker, he is definitely an illegal worker.

Meanwhile, during a Senate hearing on the rise of foreign illegal workers in the country, Senator Joel Villanueva proposed to remove from the Bureau of Immigration the authority to issue special working permits due to the department’s lapses on the issue.

“Wala ho silang kapasidad bilang ahensya na i-vet kung ito ba ay pu-puwede o pu- wedeng ibigay pa ito sa banyaga sapagka’t hindi kayang punan ng ating kababayan,” according to Villanueva.

(They don’t have the capacity as an agency to vet whether [a permit] should be given to a foreigner because Filipinos can’t fill the position.)

“Iyong Bureau of Immigration napakadaling makakuha ng Special Working Permits at iyong process nila halos hindi natin na ma- appreciate kung talaga bang tinutumbok nito iyong proteksyon ng ating kababayan na nakasaad sa ating konstitusyon,” he said.

(It’s so easy to get a special working permit from the Bureau of Immigration that we can hardly appreciate whether the process really aims to protect the Filipinos as stated in the Constitution.)

The senator also said that some foreigners abuse the said permits, which is only effective for three to six months, after which they would still continue to work in the country through loopholes.

The BI is prepared to cooperate on the said issue saying, they “would welcome if other agencies would participate in the vetting of those applying for work especially for nationals, we have guidelines in the processing of special work permits.” — Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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Labor Sec. Bello believes PTV reporters deserve regularization

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, 27 December 2018 06:09 PM

FILE PHOTO: Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Sec. Silvestre Bello III

MANILA, Philippines – State-run television channel People’s Television Network (PTV) is famous for its tagline “Para sa Bayan”.

President Rodrigo Duterte himself once envisioned PTV to serve via its tagline and be a role model of public service and truthful news reporting.

He said PTV should operate like a private company and its template should follow the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in delivering information for the public.

To better manage public information, a law should be passed – I’m addressing Congress– to create the People’s Broadcasting Corporation, replacing PTV-4, the government-run TV station, which now aims to replicate international government broadcasting networks. Teams from these international news agencies — I’d like to mention those interested BBC — are set to visit the country soon to train people from government-run channels to observe. Ito ang gusto ko — tutal pera naman ng tao — to observe editorial independence through innovative programs and intelligent treatment and analysis of news reports, as well as developments of national and international significance,” the President said during his first state of the nation address (SONA) in 2015.

 For Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, he believes that the reporters of the government-owned TV station deserve to be regularized in order to be motivated to deliver high-quality news reporting.

“Bilang nakakaalam po sa regulation pagdating po sa paggawa, dapat po bang i-hire as contract of service maging yung mga field reporters? if you ask me as secretary of labor, I would make recommend them to be regular employees’ para hindi sila mag-engage sa fake news,” Bello said.

But for years and under several administrations, PTV has not solved its problems regarding large number of staff under ‘contract of service’ (COS) status or the so called talents which obviously outnumbers the regular employees.

Bello admits that government offices are limited when it comes to hiring regular employees than private companies as stated in Article IX, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution:

“Appointments in the civil service shall be made only according to merit and fitness to be determined, as far as practicable, and, except to positions which are policy-determining, primarily confidential, or highly technical, by competitive examination.”

The Civil Service Commission (CSC), meanwhile, said the PTV management should submit first to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) a request for additional plantilla positions in order to regularized additional workers.

Potential employees should also pass the civil service examination to be absorbed for government positions.

“Hindi pwedeng maramihan. Dapat mag-request muna ng position. I-justify kung bakit kailangan nito (at) dapat aprubahan ng DBM,” explained CSC Director Maria Luisa Salonga-Agamata.

Some COS workers in PTV who preferred anonymity said they are still thankful that the station handed them their bonuses though unexpected after some of their colleagues surfaced to report the problems in their employment status.

They hope that their condition will be addressed at the soonest possible time which Secretary Bello supports.

“If you are doing that kind of a job, I would rather have you as a regular employee. Pero kagaya ng sinabi ko, kasi pag submit mo ng budget, may plantilla yan. You create plantilla positions. They try to anticipate kung ano ang pangangailangan ng agency nila and submit yung plantilla,” the Labor Secretary said.

As of this writing, the office of Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar has not yet issued an official statement on the matter nor allowed any request for media interview. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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