“The heat is on in a country of captivating skylines and gorgeous coasts. But vacation could be more fun and enjoyable if the beach resort or hotel where vacationers stay is strictly observing all labor laws and occupational safety and health standards, including not being served by child laborers.”

 

This is the message of Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday in a press conference in Intramuros, Manila, where she bared the highlights of the DOLE’s accomplishments on the first year of its implementation of the new Labor Laws Compliance System (LLCS).

 

“We have raised the bar of the Philippine tourism industry. We have brought the Labor Laws Compliance System to all establishments in our tourist destinations with the message that it is more fun in a tourist haven if establishments voluntary abide with all labor laws. If there is a culture of fun, there must also be a culture of voluntary compliance with all labor laws and occupational safety and health. It makes good business. It makes our tourism industry even more competitive,” Baldoz said.

 

A week after the historic unveiling of a 22.75 ft. by 15.75 ft. marker mounted at the entrance of the Dapa Port in Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte and which proclaims the world-class surfing capital of the Philippines a labor laws-complaint tourist destination, Baldoz related the symbol of compliance to a guaranteed ‘first-rate holiday experience’ for visitors stepping ashore the island.

 

“Observance of labor laws creates happy workers, who pay it forward to clients with optimum service and hospitality. Passing the test of compliance with General Labor Standards (GLS) and Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHS) becomes an additional come-on for tourists, aside from the already distinct charm of this island as a tourist destination,” she said.

 

Siargao Island became the 5th Labor Law Compliant Tourism Zone, joining the league of tourist attractions earlier awarded with LLCS Compliance Certificate by Secretary Baldoz herself.

 

The first four tourist zones to receive the much-coveted stamp of compliance were Guimaras, which was declared such on 17 November 2014; Boracay Island, which was declared labor laws-compliant the following day; Camiguin Islands, on 13 March 2015; and Dinagat Islands, on 25 March 2015.

 

The labor and employment chief recalled that, right before the close of 2014, she instructed DOLE regional directors to step-up efforts in assessing and evaluating labor law compliance of tourist zones in their respective regions.

 

Shortly after the recognition of Guimaras and Boracay Islands in Region 6, the said instruction was included in each Regional Office Performance Commitment and Review (OPCR) targets for 2015.

 

“The voluntary inclusion of our regional directors of labor law compliance assessment in their OPCRs reflects our commitment in making our tourist destinations a complete package—they must be beautiful inside and out. They must embody not just the physical charm, but also exemplify integrity and efficiency in operations,” Baldoz said.

 

She added: “Also this summer, we are looking forward to the passing of LLCS evaluation and unveiling of markers in some of the tourist spots in Luzon—particularly in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, and Baler, Aurora.”

 

Baldoz said advanced economies in the world look up to labor laws compliance as a requisite for their dealings with other countries. “They frown upon countries whose businesses come short in complying with international labor standards. So, our ensuring that our tourist destinations are all labor laws compliant will help the Department of Tourism market our tourist spots easily with visitors from advanced economies,” she said.

 

“With our declaration of these prime tourist spots, we hope to see more visitors coming to Guimaras Island, which saw over 60,000 visitors last year; Boracay Island, which recorded over 1.2 million visitors; Camiguin, which was visited by a quarter million tourists; Dinagat Islands (5,000 visitors); and Siargao (130,000 tourists).

The LLCS evaluation of tourism establishments involves joint assessment wherein establishments, branches, and workplaces are appraised if they are compliant with labor laws and social legislations.

 

The Joint Assessment is jointly undertaken by a labor laws compliance officer, employer’s representative, and the representative of the employees using a prescribed assessment checklist.

 

Once an establishment is found to be compliant, a two-year Certificate of Compliance is awarded; while an establishment with deficiencies are assisted, free of charge, by the Labor Law Compliance Officer to correct the deficiencies.

 

A verification assessment is finally conducted to validate compliance after a 10-day correction period and/or the agreed Occupational Safety and Health remediation period, which should not be more than three months before it is awarded a Certificate of Compliance.

 

The unveiling of labor laws compliance marker in five tourist destinations is expected to benefit 125 establishments in Guimaras Island; 490 establishments in Boracay Island; 70 in Camiguin Islands; 102 in Dinagat Islands; and 127 in Siargao Islands.

 

END/hjtg

 

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