PH ‘unjustly vilified’ in 2019 global workers’ rights index – Bello
Robie de Guzman • July 5, 2019 • 1435
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 workersenjoy 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.
More than 30,000 college students who are dependents of repatriated, displaced, and deceased overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will benefit from the government’s P1 billion education subsidy, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III signed a memorandum of agreement to launch “Tabang OFW”. The program aims to provide a one-time financial assistance of P30,000 to one college-level dependent of a repatriated, displaced, or deceased OFW.
Bello said the program is just one of the government’s ways of reciprocating the sacrifices of overseas Filipinos.
“We hope this will go a long way in helping our OFWs and their children in these most challenging times. By doing this, we also hope we can partly repay our modern-day heroes,” he said.
Under the agreement the Labor Department shall issue orders, circulars or guidelines that will spell out the effective and efficient implementation of the program while the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) will release the funds amounting to P1 billion to DOLE for its implementation.
The Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) will assist DOLE on the promotion and other information dissemination activities of the program. AAC
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said it has sought the assistance of national Coast Guards from China, South Korea and Taiwan to help locate the Filipino crew men of the livestock cargo vessel that sank off south-western Japan.
In a meeting on Thursday (September 25), Bello assured the kin of missing seafarers that the government is doing its best to find the answers as to what happened to their loved ones.
“I know you’re in a very difficult situation, but there’s hope,” Bello told wives, siblings and parents of the missing seafarers.
Prior to this, the Japanese Coast guard, which found three Filipino mariners—two survivors and one fatality—announced that it has stopped its special operations for the remaining crew —36 Filipinos, two Australians and two New Zealanders–of the ill-fated MV Gulf Livestock 1.
“So don’t give up on your loved ones because there’s really hope. Three foreign governments are helping us find them,” Bello, who requested the assistance abroad, said
Huang Xilian, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China, said China has already commenced rescue operations.
The Chinese government announced, however, that they have not found any sign of the missing seafarers during their rescue operations on September 19 and 20.
Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Ambassador Peiyung Hsu told Belo his request was immediately conveyed to the Taiwan Coast Guard (TCG).
“Rest assured that your good office will be kept posted on any findings or developments of the said operations,” he said.
Meanwhile, South Korean Ambassador Han Dong-Man in response to Bello’s request said he has already forwarded the endorsement to their Ministry of Foreign Affairs for proper action.
“I am hoping that our government’s participation in any search and rescue operation that may be conducted will shed light on the status of the missing crew,” the official added.
Given these developments, families of the missing mariners thanked Bello for giving them hope. Each family of the victims present during the meeting was given financial assistance by DOLE through the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
President Rodrigo Duterte will make his final decision on Thursday (September 17) regarding the reduction of physical distancing in public transportation.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said doctors have opposing opinions on the matter and added that last meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Against COVID-19 even took six hours discussing the issue.
“Ang mga doctor iba-iba rin po ang mga pananaw. Wala pong isang opinyon pagdating dito sa pagbawas ng isang dangkal lang naman na social distancing sa pampublikong mga transportation(Our doctors have varying opinions. There is no unified opinion when it comes to social distancing in public transportation),” he said on Wednesday (September 16) during a press briefing.
Roque also said the IATF based their recommendation to reduce physical distancing on research and advice from doctors.
“Ang rekomendasyon po ay isusumite kay Preisdente. Si Presidente na po ang magde-decide (The recommendation has been submitted to the President and he will be the one to decide),“ Roque said. AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
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