MANILA — Over 400,000 workers from the private sector have been regularized since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in 2016.
Data from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) show that for the period 2016-2018, a total of 413,940 workers have been regularized.
Of the figure, 291,612 benefitted from voluntary regularization and 122,328 were regularized through inspection.
The DOLE issued Department Order No. 174, Series of 2017, which is the new implementing rules and regulations of Articles 106 to 109 of the Labor Code, as amended.
DO 174-17 is a product of comprehensive and inclusive area-wide consultations involving all sectors (i.e. formal, informal, public, migrant, women, and youth).
Based on the submitted report of the 16 DOLE Regional Offices (DOLE-ROs), as of March 2019, a total of 4,717 registered contractors have valid registration, 3,271 of which were registered under D.O. 174 and 1,446 under D.O. 18-A.
According to the DOLE, it has undertaken measures to ensure the effective implementation of DO 174-17, which include regularization of workers through inspection, deputization of trade unions and employer organizations to participate in the inspection of establishments’ compliance to labor laws and social legislations (DOLE Administrative Order No. 164-17).
Also, it issued Department Order 183, Series of 2017, or the Revised Rules on the Administrative and Enforcement of Labor Laws to further strengthen the implementation of the visitorial and enforcement powers under the Labor Code, towards securing a higher level of compliance with labor laws.
Violators and compliant
DOLE-ROs reported that a total of 3,377 companies were found to be engaged and suspected to be engaged in Labor-only contracting (LOC) or other non-permissible contracting/subcontracting arrangements in violation of the right to security of tenure.
The number covers 2016 up to April 2018.
Of these, 767 companies were found to be engaged in LOC, and issued with Compliance Orders directing the regularization of affected workers, including those with pending appeal before the Office of the Labor Secretary.
On the other hand, the remaining 2,610 companies, which were suspected to be engaged in LOC, were establishments with no Compliance Orders issued yet, but the results of inspection and Mandatory Conference suggest engagement in LOC.
Meanwhile, Asec. Benjo Benavidez believed that the situation of laborers in the country has improved under the Duterte administration.
“To us, oo (yes, it has improved) kasi nakita namin ‘yung sa mga employer marami (because many employers have implemened voluntary regularization). ‘Yung datos namin siguro, mga 65 percent ng mga na-regular based on voluntary regularization so ito ay kusang loob ginawa ng mga companies kahit hindi namin sila in-inspection so mas paborable po ‘yun (Based on our data, around 65 percent of regularized workers were voluntarily regularized, meaning it was out of the companies' actions which they did even without us doing inspections so it is more favorable),” he said in an interview Wednesday.
The DOLE official noted that the welfare of the workers, particularly with regards to their safety has also improved.
“Then aside from that, the occupational safety and health standards and also other labor standards, we think these helped improved the condition of our workers. You cannot quantify a safe workplace. If you are free from diseases and other hazards, you are safe," he added. (PNA)