DOLE plans to regularize 5,000 workers in Palawan

DOLE initiates voluntary regularization dialogue to 178 business establishments in Palawan to intensify its campaign to end contractualization. Photo shows DOLE regional director Joel Gonzales.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is targeting to regularize this year an estimated 5,000 workers in Palawan through the “Voluntary Commitment Plan” (VCP) that is part of their campaign to end contractualization.

DOLE officer-in-charge regional director Joel Gonzales said this in a dialogue last week with 178 private companies in Palawan, encouraging them to commit through the VCP.

“Gusto nating makapag-regularize ng mga workers na marami-rami. Pinaka-ponto natin ay e-campaign itong security of tenure para ang ating mga companies ay kusa ng mag-regularize ng mga manggagawa,” he said.

The 5,000 workers are part of their 9,000 target for the entire MIMAROPA region.

The DOLE provided VCP, including attached forms to these companies, whose deadline for submission will be on Thursday, May 17, 2018.

In the VCP, the company will submit a list of their regularized employees, copies of their employment contracts, and other related reporting requirements at the end of each month until such time that all of them are regularized.

Under the plan, the company commits to cease from engaging workers under prohibited contracting arrangements.

They will also work closely with DOLE towards the compliance and shall immediately correct any violations found. The company likewise promised that during the period of regularization, there shall be no termination of employment resulting from this process, also, regularized workers shall enjoy the benefits under existing company’s rules and regulation and collective bargaining agreement.

Gonzales further said that there are schemes that were intended to circumvent the law such as the “cabo” system or the use or middleman to supply workers. In DOLE Department Order No. 174, such form is strictly prohibited.

“Ang kabo ay ito yung kunyari kompanya o kunyari coop nagsu-supply ng tao, at ang pinaka-purpose n’ya ay mag supply ng workers,” he said.

Other prohibited acts include the establishment of an in-house agency or dummy agency, outsourcing workers to perform the job of regular employees of the principal, outsourcing workers in case of strike or lockout, and others.

Director Gonzales said that the principal can only outsource workers if it is not directly related to its main functions.

For example, he said hotel operations that need front desk officers and managers cannot outsource them since they hold vital functions. They can outsource security guards and laundry servuces, but they have to be separate business entities.

“Hindi pwedeng i-outsource kung directly related ang function ng outsourced worker sa business ng principal. Halimbawa sa isang supermarket ay in-outsource mo ang worker mag-function bilang cashier, illegal yon,” he said.

He further explained that in performing the outsourced services, the contractor or subcontractor is free from the control or direction of the principal in all matters connected with the performance of the work except as to the result thereto.

Presence of power to control means that the worker is an employee of the principal and not of the contractor.

A worker can only be considered as outsourced if the principal has no control, or the independent contractor has contracted to do the work according to his own methods and without being subject to the control of the employer except only as to the result of the work.

“[Ka]pag nalaman natin na labor-only-contracting (LOC), i-de-declare natin na yong empleyado ay empleyado ng principal. Sa mga back wages and benefits ng workers, ang sisingilin namin hindi ang agent kundi ang principal employer,” he added.

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