Philippine Standard Time:

The Construction Industry Tripartite Council (CITC) on 05 May 2014 held a special meeting at the Occupational Safety and Health Center presided over by DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz.

“We have so many laws, we have so many regulations in the government pero yung implementation po ang dapat tutukan,” Baldoz said as several issues and concerns were raised on the imperatives of decent work in Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects and rebuilding and rehabilitation efforts in the Yolanda-affected areas.

“Isa sa mga mandato ng DOLE ay siguraduhin na lahat ng batas sa paggawa ay mapatupad sa tamang oras at sa tamang panahon”, recalled Baldoz as instructed by the President. With this, the number of compliance and inspection officers increased to 574 who are tasked to audit companies if they comply with general labor law standards and occupational safety and health standards especially in the construction industry where health and safety is at high risk. She said that they issue certificates of compliance with 3-year validity to those who are able to comply.

In addition, she stated that department orders were already issued to address other concerns. “Iiinstitutionalize po ang DO 13 through a law”, referring to the existing Department Order No. 13 that governs occupational safety and health in the construction industry. “Meron pong Article 288 ang ating Labor Code para sa mga unscrupulous employers na naging kultura na ang pag circumvent at pag-violate ng labor laws” reminded the Secretary for those who want to file cases to the Department of Justice after an assessment of DOLE to the employers. Also, she mentioned DO 18-A which was issued to regulate subcontracting arrangements.     

Meanwhile, with regard to the concerns in the rebuilding and rehabilitation programs in Yolanda-affected areas, the Secretary explained that despite the absence of a Comprehensive Rehabilitation Plan and the delay of the release of funds, the government is doing concrete activities. DOLE for its part has been utilizing its regular budget for the implementation of its programs which are consistent with the Decent Work Agenda.

The components of decent work agenda include rights of work, employment, social protection and social dialogue. The Secretary said that these components should be balanced; that rights of work compliments sustainable enterprises, that risks encountered by the workers should be covered through social protection and that issues should be addressed proactively through social dialogue.