To guide workers and employers filing for Assumption of Jurisdiction petitions
Baldoz identifies industries deemed indispensable to national interest

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz has issued a department order amending the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Labor Code of the Philippines that identify industries indispensable to the national interest.

“This essential amendment is in pursuit of clear-cut rules to govern assumption of jurisdiction (AJ) petitions before the Office of the DOLE Secretary in those situations that this mechanism is resorted to,” said Baldoz after she signed Department Order No. 40-11-13, Series of 2013.

The department order amends Rule XXII of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Book V of the Labor Code of the Philippines, by adding a new section, Section 16.

The amendment reads: “Section 16. Industries indispensable to the National Interest. — For the guidance of the workers and employers in the filing of Petition for Assumption of Jurisdiction, the following industries/services are hereby recognized as deemed indispensable to the national interest: (a) Hospital Sector; (b) Electric Power Industry; (c) Water Supply Services, to exclude small water supply services, such as bottling and refilling stations; (d) Air Traffic Control; and (e) such other industries as may be recommended by the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (NTIPC).”

Baldoz’s new order re-numbered Section 16 of D.O. No. 40-G-03 S. 2010 to Section 17, and re-numbered Section 17 to Section 18 and amended accordingly, and which now reads as follows:

“Section 18. Decision on the assumed labor dispute; finality. – Within five (5) days from the issuance of the assumption or certification order, a preliminary conference or hearing shall immediately be conducted by the Office of the Secretary of Labor and Employment, the NLRC, or the Voluntary Arbitrator or Panel of Voluntary Arbitrators as the case maybe.

“The decision of the Secretary of Labor and Employment, the NLRC, or the Voluntary Arbitrator or Panel of Voluntary Arbitrators shall be rendered within thirty (30) days from submission of the case for resolution and shall be final and executory ten (10) calendar days after receipt thereof by the parties.”

Baldoz said Article 263 of the Labor Code does not preclude the President of the Philippines from determining industries that, in his opinion, are indispensable to the national interest, and from intervening at any time and assuming jurisdiction over such labor dispute in order to settle or terminate the same.

The amendment, Baldoz said, finds basis in President Benigno S. Aquino III’s 22-point labor and employment agenda whose overarching goal is “to promote industrial peace based on social justice by strengthening tripartite cooperation and reforming labor arbitration and adjudication by streamlining procedures, removing red tape, and at the same time, restoring integrity and fairness in the system.”

As labor and employment chief, Baldozhas been very judicious and sparing in the application of assumption of jurisdiction (AJ). Based DOLE records, no AJ has been resorted to on any actual strikes since she took the post as Secretary. On the other hand, the record shows that in settling actual strike/lockout notices, Baldoz only resorted to AJ twice in the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2010; four (4) times in 2012; and none at all during the first semester of 2013, for a total of only six (6) AJs in the past three years.

Baldoz said this has contributed to the newfound reputation of the Philippines as Asia’s hub of industrial peace.

“Through sustained promotion of industrial peace, social dialogue, and cooperation., we have shown that inclusive social dialogue and cooperation between labor and management could lead to industrial peace,” she said.

“In fact, the DOLE provides a host of other mechanisms by which parties in dispute in any industry or workplace, short of AJ, have resorted to with the active assistance and intervention of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board,” she added.

These avenues of mutual settlement include preventive mediation, voluntary or compulsory arbitration, and other modes of disposition, such as the mandatory 30-day Single Entry Approach (SEnA) which has produced very significant results.

END
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