GIS EXCLUSIVE: Employers vow to regularize 300,000 workers this year – Bello

Marje Pelayo   •   August 14, 2018   •   3352

 

 

Labor Secretary Silvestre ” Bebot” Bello III

 

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III announced a good news on regularization during his interview with the program “Get It Straight with Daniel Razon” on Tuesday (August 14).

Bello said the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) signified their support to President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign to end “endo” scheme or illegal contractualization in the country.

Secretary Bello said the group of employers in the country vowed to regularize 300,000 contractual employees within the year.

To make it happen, Bello said, ECOP promised to ink an agreement with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) before the year ends.

“Sabi ko kapag ginawa niyo iyan I will give you a labor holiday. In other words, hindi ko pabibisitahin ang mga inspectors ko. Just give me that 300,000 na i-regular niyo…Magkakaroon kami ng memorandum of understanding,” Bello assured.

ECOP serves as an umbrella organization of business communities from small entrepreneurs to large business companies and organizations such as the Hotel and Restaurant Association of the Philippines, Chinese- Filipino Businessmen and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Giant firms such as SM Retail Inc. and Jollibee Foods Corporation are also members of ECOP.

Meanwhile, Bello admits they lack available labor law compliance officers to complete the inspection of 800,000 business establishments in the country. Since President Duterte issued the directive in May this year, DOLE was able to inspect only around 99,000 establishments to date.

Thus the Secretary encourages workers and employees themselves to volunteer by undergoing a DOLE-facilitated training to help in the inspection while the agency is awaiting the additional funds from the government in order to hire a new set of Labor Law Compliance Officers.

Ideally sana kung talagang mapagtibay namin ang aming pag- iinspect, tama na sakin muna ng at least 2, 500 additional for a start. Iyong mga nurse sabi namin mag- apply kayo. We will deputize you. After your training, kayo ang mag- inspect sa mga hospitals,” he said.

Secretary Bello admits that regularization is a huge challenge, noting that he needs to convince business giants and conglomerates.

He insists his conscience is clear against allegations being thrown at him, even linking him with giant private companies.

Bello made it to the headlines because of multiple accusations of corruption, extortion and unauthorized collection of fees for OFW iDOLE cards.

The Secretary said he is willing to step down anytime if the President orders him to do so. But Bello remains confident that he still has the trust of President Duterte.

Awa ng Dios hindi pa naman ako tinatawagan ng Presidente. Kasi sabi naman ng Presidente na kahit kaunting suspicion lang na meron kang kinasasangkutan na katiwalian, ‘Hindi lang kita tanggalin, papatayin pa kita,’ sabi niya. Awa ng Dios buhay pa ako. Alam ng ating Pangulo ang pagkatao ko,” he concluded. – Aiko Miguel / Marje Pelayo

Bello vows justice for OFW raped in Saudi Arabia

Marje Pelayo   •   July 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Monday (July 5) directed Philippine representatives in Saudi Arabia to take immediate action on the case of a Filipina overseas worker who was raped by her foreign recruiter and abused by her employer there.

Specifically, Bello ordered the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Riyadh to initiate appropriate legal steps against the suspects, and impose administrative penalties on the local recruitment agency which deployed the victim.

The OFW identified by the name Michelle was allegedly raped by the owner of the foreign recruitment agency (FDA) and molested by one of her employers before she was repatriated recently.

The Labor Chief directed POLO to take legal action and go after Meshail Mabrook Al Bassani Al Qahtani and employer Abdulaziz Ahlas, owners of Home Comfort Recruitment Office/Home Comfort Manpower Services, for the rape and abuse of the Filipina.

Bello also directed the POEA to penalize the local company SAMA International Recruitment Agency which reportedly ignored Michelle’s complaints and her ordeal in Saudi Arabia.

In his urgent memorandum to Labor Attache Fidel Macauyag, Bello instructed the POLO in Riyadh to work with authorities there for immediate legal action there as the case is cannot be processed in the Philippines “due to lack of jurisdiction.”

“The crime happened outside of the Philippines and the principle of extraterritoriality can’t be applied to the case,” he explained.

Nevertheless, Bello vowed justice to the aggrieved OFW.

“I will do everything possible to help our OFW fight back against her tormentors,” Bello said.

He noted that he already ordered the suspension of the FDA’s accreditation with the POLO.

He also directed Macauyag to coordinate closely with Arab authorities for the filing of criminal cases and prosecution of Al Qahtani and Ahlas.

On the other hand, Bello tasked POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia to probe Ahlas over violations of POEA rules and impose penalties for the sexual abuse committed against the OFW.

The Labor chief also told Olalia to sanction the FDA and Qahtani.

Likewise, he ordered POEA to build up an administrative case against SAMA and suspend the agency to prevent further violation and exploitation of Filipino migrant workers.

Upon her arrival in the country, Michelle went to the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) where she was given legal assistance in the preparation for her sworn statement.

PAO also conducted forensic tests on the OFW which yielded results indicating sexual abuse and injuries.

Bello clarifies ‘nurses-for-vax’ issue; says UK asks exemption from PH deployment cap on nurses

Marje Pelayo   •   March 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III cannot put in detail yet the response of the British government on the conditions the Philippine government has offered to allow the deployment of more Filipino health workers to the United Kingdom.

But Bello has high hopes that the negotiations will yield positive results for the benefit of overseas Filipino workers.

“Positive naman ang reaction ng Ambassador. Sabi niya, I can go back to his principal and he will come to me after 10 days which he did. Bumalik siya noong February 24 at meron siyang sulat,” Bello explained.

“Kaya lang hindi pa ko at liberty na i-public ang content ng sulat because I will first submit it to the President,” he added.

Secretary Bello said it was the UK government who requested not to include them in the Philippines’ list of countries with deployment caps for health workers.

The said deployment cap allows only 5,000 Filipino health workers to go abroad each year.

Bello clarified on the matter after a group of nurses expressed disappointment over reports of alleged ‘nurses-for-vaccine’ in which DOLE appeared to be bargaining Filipino nurses for COVID-19 vaccine supply from the UK.

“Nasaktan kami and we think na hindi yun tama dahil ang mga nurses ay matagal nang nagsasakripisyo at tumutulong sa pandemyang ito pero hindi magandang pakinggan na parang kami ay barter commodity na kapalit noong bakuna,” said Jocelyn Andamo, secretary general of Filipino Nurses United.

Bello explained that the UK is sixth among countries in the world with the fastest infection rate for COVID-19. 

He said they just want to make sure that the nurse will be protected first before they are deployed to the UK.

“Gusto ko bago sila ma-deploy ay naka-vaccine na sila para ligtas sila,” Bello noted.

“Hindi ko sinabing bigyan nyo ako ng vaccine tapos kapalit ng nurses,” he stressed.

The FNU opposes the deployment cap saying the country has enough nurses.

In fact, the group said, there are about 800,000 to 900,000 registered nurses in the country. 

Over 250,000 of them are deployed in different countries; over 220,000 works outside of the field of medicine; and only about 90,000 are practicing their profession.

“Ang shortage ng nurses sa tingin namin ito ay acute or even false shortage because we have enough nurses in the Philippines,” Adamo argued.

“Hindi lang sila maximized, tapped or encouraged to work in that nursing profession or maglingkod within the healthcare system dahil nga sa sobrang kababaan ng sahod at hindi magandang work conditions,” she added.

It can be recalled that the Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 imposed a deployment cap on nurses to ensure that the country has enough number in case the COVID-19 situation worsens in the country.

Bello confirmed that aside from the UK, about 50,000 nurses are also needed in Germany though there is no negotiation yet between Berlin and Manila on the matter. MNP (with input from Rey Pelayo)

‘Behind the Wishper’ virtual concert pays tribute to Wish 107.5 innovator, donates gadgets to deserving students

Marje Pelayo   •   December 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — All-hits FM radio station, Wish 107.5 on Sunday (December 20) took “wishers’” and fans all over the world to a journey into its inception and success while being serenaded by some of the top Filipino artists in a virtual concert entitled “Behind the Wishper.”

OPM A-listers such as KZ Tandingan, Yeng Constantino, Morisette Amon, Bugoy Drilon, balladeer Marco Sison, the Wishfuls , The Juans among other special guests performed during the special digital concert streamed live on Wish 107.5’s YouTube channel.

The artists paid homage to Kuya Daniel Razon, the station’s innovator — and the voice behind the station’s “voiceprint”— for conceptualizing a unique platform for singers and composers of Original Pilipino Music (OPM), to showcase their talent not only in the Philippines but in the international music scene.

“It feels good na mayroong [Wish 107.5] na sobra ang support sa OPM. Hindi lang sa malalaking singers. Talagang open ang pinto ninyo for the new breeds to show their music,” said snger-composer Yeng Constantino.

Singer Bugoy Drilon echoed the same sentiment: “Sobrang malaki ang naitulong ng (Wish 107.5) kasi nagbigay sila ng avenue sa Filipino talents around the world.”

“Not only mainstream but even underground, they all deserve na marinig ang talent nila at music nila and (Wish 107.5) gave it to them, to us,” he added. Bugoy celebrated his 10th year anniversary in the industry with a first solo concert organized by Wish 107.5 in 2018.

Part of last night’s concert was a look back at the station’s charitable endeavors among which is the Wish Music Awards where winning artists are given the chance to help their chosen charities.

“The reason why Wish 107.5 is getting bigger and bigger kumbaga mas marami pang blessings na natatanggap ang Wish 107.5 is because they never forget to give back and to pay it forward,” noted Asia’s soul supreme, KZ Tandingan.

KZ was the first Filipino artist to perform at the Dubai World Trade Center which was made possible through Wish 107.5. She was proud to note how her Wishclusive videos helped her land a spot in a singing competition in China. The experience was an important milestone in the artist’s career.

During the concert, the station distributed 107 tablets to student beneficiaries for their online classes.

“Sabi ko nga mas blessed iyong feeling na nakaka-bless din tayo ng ibang tao kasi the fact na mayroon tayong abilidad at may pagkakataon tayong makatulong. Sobrang thankful ako na ginagawa ng Wish iyon kasi nagkakaroon kami ng venue para makatulong din sa iba,” said singer Daryl Ong who was hailed Wish Male Artist of the Year in 2016.

Like most wishers, the artists expressed their gratitude to Kuya Daniel for breathing new life into Filipino music through digital media and paving the way for OPM into the global airwaves.

“I think that’s the reason why a lot of artists love to always come back to Wish 107.5 kasi kay Kuya Daniel pa lang ang sarap na palagi ng trato. He respects you as an artist and as an individual,” noted KZ

“Thank you again for all your efforts, for your vision of Filipino music, for putting Filipino musicians and artists sa harapan ng publiko para makita nila kung gaano kaganda ang ating sariling musika,” said national artist for music, Ryan Cayabyab who wished Kuya Daniel more wisdom and more innovations ahead for OPM.

After the special concert, Wish 107.5 announced the next big project happening on January 15, 2021 — the 6th Wish Music Awards. Nominations for favorite artists officially opened on November 9, 2020.

As an added milestone, “Behind the Wishper” concert trended at number one spot with the hashtag #BehindTheWISHper on Philippine trends logging 14,400 tweets on Twitter.

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