Acting Labor and Employment Secretary Danilo P. Cruz announced yesterday that the Civil Service Commission has chosen the Single Entry Approach (SEnA) Team of the Department of Labor and Employment as a Presidential Lingkod Bayan Awardee for the CSC’s 2013 Search for Outstanding Public Officials and Employees.

In a report to DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, who is in New York as head of the Philippine delegation to the 2nd United Nations High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development, Cruz said the DOLE’s SEnA team won the Lingkod Bayan Award for its exceptional performance in delivering speedy, impartial, inexpensive and accessible settlement of labor issues through conciliation and mediation.

“It is with great honor and pride for the DOLE to be recognized for its dedication in providing affordable and easily-accessible means of settling labor-related issues,” Acting Secretary Cruz said in his report, to which Baldoz replied:

“I am very happy and proud that the DOLE’s SEnA team is a winner in the CSC’s 2013 Search for Outstanding Public Officials and Employees. I congratulate the members of the DOLE SEnA team for this rare feat. This achievement is really an honor for all of us at the DOLE.”

The SEnA team is headed by National Conciliation and Mediation Board Executive Director Reynaldo R. Ubaldo, with Conciliator-Mediator Edgar G. Aquino, Conciliator-Mediator Angelita S. Narvaez, Conciliator-Mediator Jay Jasper B. Javines, Director Gil G. Caragayan, Senior Labor and Employment Officer Vivencio E. Lagahid, Supervising Labor and Employment Officer Reynante N. Lugtu, Senior Labor and Employment Officer Aurita L. Limpin, and Labor and Employment Officer III Joselito V. Diego.

The SEnA is a reform measure enacted by Secretary Baldoz in 2010 under Department Order No. 107 pursuant to the 22-point Labor and Employment Agenda of President Benigno S. Aquino III, particularly on seeking to avoid litigious and expensive proceedings, while promoting integrity, efficacy, and fairness in the delivery of labor justice in the country. Under this reform, the DOLE and its attached agencies are mandated to strictly follow a 30-day mandatory conciliation-mediation process for all cases so that these will not mature into full-blown, legal proceedings.

It is an administrative approach that provides speedy, impartial, inexpensive, and accessible settlement of all labor issues. The SEnA has a rallying cry of “Problema sa Trabaho, I-SEnA mo!”. Under the SEnA, conciliation-mediation is done by Single Entry Approach Desk Officers (SEADOs) who are trained to fast-track settlement of all labor and employment cases, also called requests for assistance, brought before them.

In just two years of implementation, because of its efficacy in settling requests for assistance (RFAs), the Congress has enacted R.A. 10396 institutionalizing conciliation-mediation as a mandatory mode of dispute settlement for all labor cases. President Aquino III signed it into law on 14 March 2013.

The NCMB SEnA team was selected by the CSC through its Honor and Awards Program from hundreds of nominations nationwide. The Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award is an award for outstanding work performance conferred on an individual or group of individuals for exceptional or extraordinary contributions resulting from an idea or performance that had nationwide impact on public interest, security, and patrimony. The contribution may be a suggestion, innovation, invention, or superior performance.

For the DOLE’s SEna team, its concerted effort enabled the Department to achieve a reduction in the compulsory handling of cases in DOLE regional offices by 99 percent by the end of 2012. With the SEnA, RFAs took an average of ony 17 days to settle, a dramatic change from the longer litigation process under the compulsory mode of dispute resolution, including appeal processes which take an average of one year, with some cases taking too long that workers tend not to pursue them, thus preventing the administration of labor justice guaranteed by the Constitution.

The SEnA program–because of settlement–had also prevented 31,592 labor disputes, or 75 percent of RFAs, from maturing into regular compulsory arbitration cases either at the DOLE or at the NLRC. Monetary settlement facilitated through the SEnA reached more than P1.5 billion, benefitting more than 45,000 workers.

The awardees will be fitted in an appropriate ceremony in Malacanang Palace in line with the celebration of the 113th Philippine Civil Service Anniversary on 24 October. The team will receive a Presidential plaque with citation and signature of President Aquino III, while each team member will be handed a gold-gilded medallion. The team will also receive a cash reward of P200,000.

Baldoz said this latest achievement of the DOLE is a challenge to all officials and employees to work harder in serving the Filipino workers.

“Our work as public servants is noble and we must continue to pursue this nobility with vigor and excellence,” she said.

Gillian Pearl L. Guerrero


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