PH Labor chief apologizes to Dubai gov’t over report on OFW death due to coronavirus

Robie de Guzman   •   February 7, 2020   •   1221

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III

MANILA, Philippines – Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Friday issued an apology to the government of Dubai for his earlier statement that a Filipino worker there recently died of coronavirus.

In a statement, DOLE clarified that the death of Filipino worker, identified as Amalia Collado Daproza, was not a case of novel coronavirus.

“Based on a belated report received by the office of Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III from the Philippine Labor Office in Dubai, results of confirmatory tests conducted by the Pathology and Genetics Department of the Dubai Health Authority on Daproza’s specimen yielded negative of the novel coronavirus,” DOLE said.

“Secretary Bello nonetheless wishes to apologize to the government of Dubai for the confusion and whatever anxiety that the announcement may have caused,” it added.

Bello on Thursday told media that a Filipino in Dubai had died of “coronavirus” based on earlier information provided to his office.

He, however, did not say if the worker was infected with the novel coronavirus strain which caused the outbreak in China.

The Dubai Government Media Office in a Facebook post denied Bello’s claim, saying tests conducted on the deceased person showed she did not contract the virus.

“The Dubai government media office denied the validity of the statements by the Philippine minister of labor regarding the death of a Filipino woman in Dubai due to the new coronavirus,” the post stated.

“The deceased was suffering from a respiratory infection and laboratory tests showed she did not have the virus,” it added.

Bello tells micro, small biz:  Apply for a 13th-month pay loan

Maris Federez   •   November 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has announced that micro and small enterprises that are having difficulty in financing the 13th-month pay of their employees can apply for a government loan.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III made the call on Friday during the ceremonial launch of the loan program with the Department of Trade and Industry and its financing arm, the Small Business Corporation (SBCorp), reminding employers that the grant of 13th-month pay is mandatory.

The labor chief, however, assured establishments that are still struggling amid the re-opening of the economy of the government’s support through SBCorp.

“Let me remind the employers that the grant of 13th-month pay is mandatory. We issued a Labor Advisory where we maintained that no exemption and no deferment will be allowed on the payment of the 13th-month pay,” Bello said.

“So, with this loan facility from SB Corporation, there is no more reason to not give the 13th-month pay,” he added.

As of November 12, a total of 25 loan applications amounting to P5.052 million were already approved by SBCorp.

DOLE said qualified borrowers are the micro and small enterprises that have implemented flexible work arrangements and registered under the agency’s Establishment Reporting System as of October 15, 2021.

The zero-interest rate, no collateral loan program can cover up to 40 employees per establishment.

The loanable amount is at P12,000 per current employee which is payable in 12 months, inclusive of the three-month grace period.

“I encourage our employers, especially yung mga nahihirapan pa, to avail of this facility so that they can comply with the mandate to pay our workers with what is due them, especially this Christmas season,” said Bello.

The labor chief invites interested micro and small enterprises to apply at www.bayanihancares.ph. —/mbmf

DOLE on Bello running for senator: ‘He has until Monday to do so’

Maris Federez   •   November 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Saturday belied reports that Secretary Silvestre Bello III has substituted to run for senator under Lakas-CMD in the 2022 national and local elections.

“Secretary Bebot Bello has yet to decide whether or not to seek a seat in the Senate. He has until Monday to do so,” DOLE said.

Until such time, DOLE said Bello will continue to perform his task as labor chief.

In the meantime, tuloy lang ang trabaho nya at pangunguna sa pagbibigay ng ayuda sa mga mamamayan sa pamamagitan ng flagship program ng DOLE na TUPAD para sa mga lubhang naapektuhan ng pandemiya.” —/mbmf

PH to re-deploy OFWs after South Korea lifts restrictions – DOLE

Robie de Guzman   •   November 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Overseas Filipino workers will soon be re-deployed to South Korea after entry restrictions into the country have been lifted, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said.

In a statement on Sunday, DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said he has directed the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to commence the processing of deployment of workers as he welcomed the South Korean government’s decision.

“This is a very good news not only to our EPS (entry permit system) workers and their families, but also to the Korean employers who have been waiting for our workers to return,” he said.

Last Friday, Korea’s Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) announced it will allow the entry of workers under EPS from all sending countries, including the Philippines starting this November.

According to MOEL, the entry of EPS workers will be subject to pre-entry measures such as full vaccination and negative PCR test results, and post-entry measures such as mandatory quarantine and PCR testing.

The Korean Embassy in the Philippines said it is awaiting guidelines from the South Korean government on the issuance of E9 visas to Filipino EPS workers.

Bello said he has directed the POEA to immediately meet with the Korean government officials to discuss the requirements and procedures for the re-entry of EPS workers to Korea, in coordination with the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in the Philippine Embassy in Seoul.

Since 2004, the Philippines has been sending Filipino workers to Korea under a government-to-government cooperation agreement on EPS.

The deployment of workers was temporarily halted in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic.

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