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The Bureau of Labor Relations organized the 15th Annual Mediator-Arbiters’ National Consultation on 14-18 September 2015 at the Almont Beach Resort in Surigao City. Forty (40) participants attended the consultation comprised of DOLE Mediator-Arbiters from different regions, Regional Directors, Assistant Regional Directors, Regional Conciliation Mediation Branch Directors and different labor groups from Mindanao.

The consultation began with a Mindanao-Wide Labor Dialogue with AWATU, SENTRO, FFW, PTGWO and ALU-TUCP to discuss and thresh out issues and concerns on certification election, intra-union disputes and other cases.

The consultation aimed to keep all Mediator-Arbiters abreast of the latest labor–related jurisprudence on labor relations and labor standards as well as other programs and policies of the Department and hone their skills particularly in leadership and potential in government service with emphasis on ethical standards. It also served as a venue for resolution of issues on problem areas, discussion of issues and concerns in the implementation of Implementing Rules of Book V of Labor Code of the Philippines, as amended specifically on D.O. No. 40, as amended.

Further, it is intended to capacitate the Mediator-Arbiters as Special Prosecutors and Hearing Officers in administrative cases.

Undersecretary Rebecca C. Chato spearheaded the activity with the assistance of National Conciliation Mediation Board OIC-Deputy Executive Director Jay Jasper Javines and Bureau of Labor Relations Director Benjo Santos M. Benavidez.

Usec. Chato discussed the newly issued Department Order No. 40-I-15 or “ Further Amending Department Order No. 40, Series of 2003, Amending the Implementing Rules and Regulation of Book V of the Labor Code of the Philippines, as Amended” for uniform implementation by the Mediator-Arbiters.

Dir. Benavidez lectured on the Department Order No. 147-15, otherwise known as “Amending the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Book VI of the Labor Code of the Philippines, as Amended”, and the importance and functions of Regional Tripartite Monitoring Body (RTMB).

Likewise, Dir. Benavidez provided updates on the DOLE-DepEd-TESDA-CHED Joint Guidelines on the Implementation of the Labor and Employment Component of Republic Act No. 10533 (Enhanced Basic Education of 2013) or the K to 12. The Guidelines aimed to ensure the sustainability of the private and public educational institutions, protect the rights, interests and welfare of teaching and non-teaching personnel and optimize employment retention or prevent possible displacement of faculty and non-academic personnel in private and public higher education institutions (HEIs) during the transition period of K to 12.

OIC-Dep. Exec. Dir. Javines also tackled on the draft Implementing Rules and Regulations of Single Entry Approach (SEnA). Director Florencio Sunico, Jr. of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA)-Caraga shared insights on Creative Innovations and Reforms for Committed Leadership and Effectiveness.

Atty. Jhamaline Lacandazo-Escalona of Civil Service Commission (CSC) talked about the Civil Service Rules on Administrative Cases with emphasis on the functions of Mediator-Arbiters as Hearing Officers and Special Prosecutors, and Legal Ethics for Lawyers in the Government Service.

Overall, the consultation was a success. It provided Mediator-Arbiters the opportunity for advancement to ensure efficiency in the performance of their functions and duties.

END/Honey Glaze M. Alipio