DOLE mulls lifting suspension of OFW deployment in Israel

Marje Pelayo   •   July 7, 2021   •   653

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is considering lifting the temporary suspension of the deployment of Filipino workers to Israel.

According to DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III, tensions in Israel seem to have subsided after its exchange of rockets with the Hamas terrorists.

But Bello said they will coordinate with the Department of Foreign Affairs first to confirm if sending overseas Filipino workers to Israel is now safe.

Bello said he already directed the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration to continue with the processing of the Overseas Employment Certificate of around 1,000 workers waiting for departure.

Most Filipinos working in Israel are caregivers and hotel workers, the DOLE said.

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

DOLE denies deployment ban on health care workers

Maris Federez   •   November 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)  has denied reports of a deployment ban on health care workers, particularly nurses.

In a statement, DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III clarified that since the deployment cap of 6,500 has already been reached, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) announced the temporary suspension of deployment.

However, there are exemptions to the said ban.

“We have already reached the current ceiling of 6,500 on the deployment of health care workers. However, OFWs under the Balik Manggagawa, government-to-government arrangements, and those who will be deployed in the United Kingdom are exempted from the suspension,” Bello said.

The labor chief also said that the lifting of the suspension is subject to the evaluation by concerned government agencies of the current situation on the deployment of healthcare workers.

“The Labor Department will confer the matter with the Professional Regulation Commission, the Philippines Nurses Association and the Department of Health should there be a need for the increase of say, another 1,500 in the existing cap,” Bello said. —/mbmf

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