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Labor dept to complete list of foreigners working in PHL

The Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) announced it will be conducting a “special” labor inspection this month to complete its validated list of foreign nationals (FN) who are working in the country before the end of the year. 

In an interview, Bureau of Local Employment (BLE) Director Dominique R. Tutay said the validation process will determine the number of FNs working in the country for tax and labor law enforcement purposes. 

“Our special inspection for establishments hiring foreigners will be up to December 15,” Tutay told reporters in an interview last week. 

She said the special inspection will cover all establishments, particularly Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) and their service providers, with FNs. These establishments were issued Alien Employment Permits. The AEP is a permit issued by Dole regional offices for foreigners who will be employed in the country for more than six months. 

Licensing impact

In a separate interview with the BusinessMirror, Tutay said the validation process is necessary so they could check if the person, who applied for the AEP, is the one who is using it. 

The labor official said they will also determine if the Pogos are compliant to general labor standards (GLS), occupational safety and health standards (OSHS) and tax laws. 

Noncompliance to GLS or OSHS, Tutay said, can be a ground for the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) to revoke the license of a Pogo or its service provider. 

“Under existing rules of Pagcor, violations of specific laws constitute demerits. Once they get the necessary number of demerits, that is the only time Pagcor could revoke their license,” Tutay explained. 

She said Pagcor currently has registered 61 Pogos and 226 Pogo service providers.     

Tutay said they already completed the validation process in all regions except for Metro Manila, which has the highest concentration of Pogos nationwide. 

Suspended inspection

The DOLE finally announced on Sunday the regular suspension of its labor inspection a few weeks before Christmas through Administrative Order 495, Series of 2019. 

Tutay explained that the annual suspension would ensure its labor inspectors wouldn’t receive any gifts—solicited or voluntary given—from companies they will assess.

Aside from companies with AEP holders, other companies, which are exempted from the labor inspection suspensions are those with OSHS  investigation; technical safety inspection, such as inspection of boilers, pressure vessels, and mechanical and electrical installation, etc.; and inspection of any establishment or industry as directed by the labor secretary.

The regular workplace inspection will resume next month after Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III issues the 2020 General Authority to Labor Inspectors. 

As of September, Bello said they already inspected 57,514 establishments covering 2.3 million workers. 

Common GLS violations are nonmaintenance of employment records in the workplace; nonpayment of service incentive leave; non-coverage of workers to social welfare agencies; and nonremittance of social welfare contributions.

In the case of occupational safety and health, the common violations are the absence of OSH personnel in the workplace; non-conduct of workers’ OSH seminar; non-submission of the annual medical report; and, lack of health facilities.

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