PH signs new labor accord with UAE; to resume deployment of household workers on March 31

Marje Pelayo   •   March 4, 2021   •   470

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) announced the signing of the historic new labor accord between the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) giving greater protection to Filipino household service workers.

Part of the agreement is the Philippine government’s resumption of deployment of household service workers to the Emirates starting March 31.

The Philippines stopped sending household service workers to UAE in 2014.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III hailed the agreement as a milestone in the government’s efforts to further protect Filipino overseas workers.

According to Philippine delegation head Undersecretary Claro Arellano, the new deployment will now be covered by a Unified Employment Contract with provisions similar to the standard employment contract being used in Kuwait.

The contract provides stringent measures to protect Filipino household workers pursuant to the directives of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Under the unified contract, both the employer and the Foreign Recruitment Agencies, and the Philippine Recruitment Agencies are bound by joint and solidary liability should anything happen to the Filipino workers.

The four-party contract, which becomes addendum to the Memorandum of Understanding on Labor Cooperation with Annex Protocol on Domestic Workers, incorporates the President’s instructions for specific provisions to ensure the safety and well-being of household workers as follows:

  1. The right of the domestic worker to take at least eight (8) continuous hours of sleep every night;
  2. The right of the domestic worker to take a break that is paid, outside the residence of the employer at least one (1) full day every week;
  3. The right of the domestic worker to keep his/her passport or identification documents and the employer is not allowed to hold them;
  4. The employer shall allow the domestic worker to have and use cellular phones and other communication devices and the employer is prohibited from confiscating them;
  5. Opening of bank account under the name of the domestic worker for payment of salary; and
  6. Allowing the domestic workers to cook her or his own food.

The agreement was signed during the two-day Joint Committee Meeting between countries held in Manila on Wednesday (March 3) with Saif Ahmed Alsuwaidi, undersecretary of Human Resources and Emiratisation representing the UAE.

Another significant achievement in the meeting is the agreement on the conversion of tourist/visit visa to working visa. 

As agreed, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) will be notified when a visit visa is converted to employment visa for a Filipino domestic worker.

The Philippines reiterated its position to deploy the workers through the legal channel.

Therefore, the conversion of tourist visa to working visa is not recommended since this may lead to illegal recruitment and trafficking in persons.

Nearly 400,000 tourism workers receive P5,000 cash aid from DOLE

Marje Pelayo   •   April 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) approved the application of close to 400,000 tourism sector workers for the one-time P5,000 aid under the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP).

As of April 11, the DOLE said 14,301 tourism establishments, organizations, and associations nationwide have applied for the financial aid on behalf of their employees which account for 370,434 beneficiaries.

Meanwhile, a total of 13,123 workers applied individually for the cash aid.

The awarding was led on Monday (April 12) by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat to select beneficiaries in the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal in a virtual ceremony.

The Labor Chief encouraged tourism sector workers who were displaced by the pandemic “especially those affected by the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila, including the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal to apply for the financial aid” being jointly implemented by the labor and tourism departments.

Of the assistance, P1.2 billion was already remitted to payment centers, while the remaining P719.2 million is awaiting disbursement.

More gov’t offices on lockdown due to COVID-19

Marje Pelayo   •   March 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The central office of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Intramuros, Manila and the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) in Quezon City are on lockdown beginning Thursday (March 18).

Both offices are undergoing disinfection and cleaning activities as measures to curb transmission of COVID-19.

The lockdown will remain until Friday (March 19).

Meanwhile, DOLE offices in BF Condominium and its satellite branch in Antonino Building in Kalaw are also under lockdown after three employees tested positive for COVID-19.

Due to these circumstance, DOLE designated a skeletal workforce until Friday.

Meanwhile, all NAPOLCOM personnel opted to work from home while a receiving personnel will be assigned at the ground floor of the building to accept documents that needed immediate processing.

Normal operations in both government agencies are expected to resume on Monday (March 22).

DOLE orders bus disinfection before every trip

Marje Pelayo   •   March 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is requiring the disinfection of public buses on every trip to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections.

DOLE Assistant Secretary Maria Teresita Cucueco in a statement noted that buses are considered as an extension of the work place among transport workers like drivers and conductors.

“So we are also requiring good ventilation. The air should be diluted so if possible, windows should be opened for at least 15 seconds and there should be disinfection every trip,” she said.

Earlier, DOLE issued new guidelines on ventilation for indoor and outdoor workplaces to protect the public, especially workers, from COVID-19 transmission.

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