Jefferson Bonilla has been working with Cebuana Lhuillier as cashier for less than a year when he decided to quit, yielding to the lure of greener pasture abroad.

In November 2012, he left the company and flew to Dubai in search for a better opportunity.

But having left in haste, he failed to collect his 13th month pay and differential on his wage adjustment, as well as the certification of his premium contributions with SSS, Philhealth, and Pag-ibig.

He had left behind a Special Power of Attorney, though, authorizing his mother Estrella to collect in his behalf the aforecited claims from the company.

Mrs. Bonilla hardly knows anybody in the company, and so, on March 11, 2013, she went to the NCR office of the NCMB to seek assistance for her son’s claims.

Conciliator-Mediator Cynthia S. Foncardas, the officer who assisted her, scheduled the initial meeting on March 18, 2013. A notice was faxed to the company on March 11, 2013.

Upon receipt of the notice, Mr. Vicente G. Turdanes, the human resource manager of the company, immediately called Mrs. Bonilla, informing her that her son’s check in the amount of P14,189.43  was ready to be picked up. Mr. Turdanes, incidentally is an accredited voluntary arbitrator (AVA).

The check was for Jefferson’s pro-rated 13th month pay and differential of his wage adjustments.

“Ang bilis naman,” was all Mrs. Bonilla could utter when she collected the check and her son’s certification of SSS, Philhealth and Pag-ibig contributions the following day, March 12, 2013.

“AVA Turdanes immediately responded to our notice by causing the preparation of the check for Mr. Bonilla’s claims,” Con-Med Foncardas said. “His prompt action manifests his belief in the SENA program of the Department,” she added.

SENA is a reform measure in the labor dispute settlement system initiated by Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz when she assumed office in 2010.

The program seeks to simplify the filing and processing of cases and instituted a 30-day mandatory conciliation-mediation of labor-related complaints.

Under the program, complaints are processed with conciliation-mediation as the initial step. If the complaint is not settled within thirty days, the same is elevated or referred to the appropriate office of the Department.

Mr. Bonilla’s case is just one of the 1,518 RFAs processed by the NCMB since January 2013. Some 1,208 workers have benefited from the SENA with P 28 M in separation pay and other restitution benefits.

END/William E. Calina, LCO, NCMB

With a report from Estelita S. Bautista, Conciliator-Mediator

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