Legazpi City- Contractual workers in the region has no more reason to be afraid on losing their jobs prematurely or by being desperately intimidated and saddened due to the completion of their contract of employment. This, was after DOLE-Bicol assured contractual workers here of ‘security of tenure’, in their jobs, - a law which was strongly specified under Department Order No. 18-A (D.O. 18-A) during the orientation seminar held on February 22 at the Kanzo Hall and Restaurant.
“While we are assuring our contractual workers to worry no more, we are also soliciting the cooperation and support of all the construction and service contractors and sub-contractors in the region to abide by the new law which is the main reason why we called for this orientation-seminar” DOLE Bicol Regional Director Nathaniel V. Lacambra said.
The DO 18-A seminar, attended by 137 management representatives and owners of establishments engaged in contracting and sub-contracting from all over the region, focused in orienting and educating the participants on the pertinent provisions of the law such as: security of tenure of contractual workers, compliance to basic labor laws compliance to registration and permits issuance by DOLE. “This new law has given us (DOLE) more power to regulate the practice of job contracting and strictly prohibiting labor-only contracting.” Lacambra added.
DO 18-A or “The Guidelines in Labor Contracting and Sub-Contracting” was issued by Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimipilis-Baldoz sometime in November last year and will be implemented this year. The new law is designed to address the issue on contractualization which undermines the security of tenure of contractual workers. The new DO also addresses the issue of Labor Only Contracting (LOC) and fly-by-night establishments that are contracting services without sufficient capital thereby sacrificing their worker’s security of tenure and labor standards benefit.
Under DO 18-A, contractual workers cannot be terminated without due cause and after due process and shall enjoy all the benefits and privileges accorded to a regular employee. Meanwhile, establishments or companies listed as principals, or those engaging the services of a contractor, must justify to DOLE that the work to be done by the contractor are not necessary and desirable to the business of the company.
During the orientation, participants coming from small establishments, had reacted on the considerable increase in permits fee and capitalization requirements. The new DO, according to DOLE Asst. Reg. Dir. Exequiel Ronnie A. Guzman will provide safety net protection to the workers by ensuring that contractors/sub-contractors are legitimate and have substantial capitalization. DOLE-Bicol also emphasized that the 5 months- 5 months contract will be addressed by the provision of the new DOLE D.O.
Ms. Mona Catoria, 37-years old and a management representative of Elkan Konstrak Development Corporation (ELKAN), a well-known construction firm in Albay, said that the new law is actually “OK” but the P25,000.00 registration fee may not be acceptable specially to small contractors/sub-contractors. Infra Builders represented by “Ms. Ira” (not her real name) of Daraga, Albay and “Ms. Lanie” (also not her real name) of AVIC Construction shares the same comment. “Wala naman problema dun sa security of tenure at compliance namin sa labor standards. Ang parang nakakagulat lang eh yung registration na P25k kasi dati P100 lang tapos ngayon ang taas na at yung requirement na dapat ay di bababa sa P3M and paid-up capitalization. Sa amin malalaking estalishments ay ayos lang e pano yung mga maliliit at nag uumpisa pa lamang? Kung ang layunin natin ay mag-generate ng employment, di ang mga maliliit na sub-contractors/contractors ay di na mabibigyan ng pagkakataon na lumago”
DOLE-Bicol however said they will take note of all the concerns raised by the participants. With the unanimous concerns, the participants have agreed to organize an Industry Tripartite Council (ITC) after the orientation in order to come up with their written position on DO18-A.
“Our advise to the small contractors/sub-contractors if they cannot comply with the P3M paid-up capitalization, then they can form a merger.” DOLE RD Lacambra said.
DOLE-Bicol has scheduled another orientation on DO 18-A on March for the members of the Tri-Media under its DOLE and Media Alliance (DAMA Bicol) Program. “The tri-media is our partner in information dissemination. We need their help in letting the public know this new developments on labor laws.” Lacambra remarked. – fin.