To ensure that labor inspectors will have no opportunity for bribery, gift solicitation, or other forms of graft and corruption, Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz has suspended all labor inspection activities during the holiday season starting 7 December.
The suspension of labor inspection is contained in Administrative Order No. 479, Series of 2013 which Baldoz re-issued on 27 November.
“We have to affirm the integrity of the DOLE’s labor inspection process under the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III, hence, this moratorium,” said Baldoz.
In her order, the labor and employment chief specifically directed all DOLE regional directors to suspend all labor inspection activities in their respective regions, including the conduct of Training and Advisory Visits and Self-Assessment Activities.
However, Baldoz exempted the following activities from the suspension: (1) compliance visits emanating from Single Entry Approach (SEnA) referrals and complaints of labor law standards violations filed against an establishment; (2) technical safety inspections (i.e. mechanical equipment and electrical wiring installation); (3) urgent compliance visits or Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHS) investigation due to compelling circumstances, in which case, the regional office concerned shall seek the approval of the Secretary of Labor and Employment before any such inspection may be conducted; and (4) assessment and certification of Philippine-registered ships engaged in domestic shipping.
She also exempted the conduct of OSHS investigation in case of imminent danger, dangerous occurrences, accident resulting in disabling injuries, and occupational safety and health violations committed in plain view or in the presence of the Labor Laws Compliance Officers (LLCO).
“During the suspension,” Baldoz said, “the Regional Offices (ROs) shall dispose all pending labor standards cases in 2013. An inventory of cases shall be submitted to the Bureau of Working Conditions on or before 6 January 2014.”
“The aforesaid inventory shall contain the case title, address of the respondent, specific violations, workers involved, date filed, amount of monetary involved, and the corresponding status of the cases.”
For the next year, Baldoz also bared that starting 14 January the DOLE shall implement the new Labor Laws Compliance System.
She advised the ROs to undertake the following preparatory activities: (1) reproduction of the labor and employment chief’s letter to be sent out to ROs’ target establishments; (2) reproduction of the necessary forms relative to the implementation of the LLCS; (3) orientation of DOLE personnel on the procedures to be followed in the implementation of the LLCS; (4) hands-on orientation on the actual LLCS application; and (5) initiation of the creation of establishments in the system, which the ROs would like to assess by the 1st quarter of 2014 using the LLCS Web Application Server.
“From a purely regulatory framework, we will add a strong proactive and developmental dimension in the manner we enforce and dispose labor standards cases,” Baldoz said, unveiling the thrust of labor standards enforcement for 2014.
It can be recalled that in 2012, President Aquino has granted the creation of additional 372 plantilla positions for Labor Law Compliance Officers (LLCOs) who shall cover at least 76,765 establishments for compliance monitoring.
“We will create a culture of voluntary compliance and encourage companies to effect immediate restitution and correction. The goal is to facilitate fast and fair settlement and minimize long, tedious and costly litigations,” she finally said.