What is Ecozone-wide Assessment on Voluntary Compliance? DOLE’s A.O. 404 explains

An ecozone-wide assessment on voluntary compliance is one of five compliance assessment modalities outlined under DOLE Administrative Order No. 404, Series of 2014, and Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz had instructed  all  DOLE regional directors and program managers to utilize it in combination, separately, or simultaneously with the other modalities to ensure that all target establishments for 2014 have been visited and extended assistance towards compliance with all labor laws.

“You have to coordinate with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, (PEZA) in organizing an ecozone-wide assessment on voluntary compliance,” Baldoz said in her instruction.

In carrying out the ecozone-wide assessment, Baldoz said the DOLE will be consistent  with the agreed joint  enforcement of labor standards laws and occupational health and safety standards in the PEZA’s economic zones, pursuant to the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the 2006 DOLE-PEZA Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and the corresponding regional MOA.

“All DOLE Regional Directors  shall organize an ecozone-wide Assessment  of locators’ voluntary compliance with all labor laws and OSH with the PEZA manager in the area,” she said.

On 18 August 2014, Baldoz issued  Administrative Order. No. 404, Series of 2014, or the “Guide for Effective and Efficient Compliance Assessment under LLCS”,   to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of implementing the DOLE’s new Labor Laws Compliance System (LLCS).

Under A.O. No. 404, all  the 16   DOLE Regional Offices  can resort to the five compliance assessment modalities—the ecozone-wide assessment of which is one—to  complete their respective assessment target for 2014.

The other four assessment compliance modalities are (1) zonal assessment (2) in-house OSH assessment; (3) assessment by industry; and (4) assessment of establishments with Labor-Management Councils (LMCs) and convergence programs.

An ecozone-wide assessment  can be done using the industry joint assessment  process, or it can be organized differently  depending on the peculiarity of the ecozone operations.

A composite team composed of the PEZA zone manager and DOLE LLCOs, shall conduct the compliance audit and, in case of deficiency, provide zone locators with technical  advisory services and assistance for the immediate correction of violations and submission of action plans to effect the full compliance.

The labor chief said that if  declared free of any violation after evaluation, the locator shall be immediately issued a Certificate of Compliance, and if all the locators are compliant will all labor laws, the economic zone  shall be declared a compliant zone and bestowed with a marker that reads: “This Ecozone is Labor Laws Compliant and Child Labor Free”.

A.O. No. 404 specifies the criteria in determining the regional offices’ assessment priorities, which regional directors and program managers may consider from the list of establishments provided by the Bureau of Working Conditions (BWC).

These establishments are those considered to be:
(1)  engaged in hazardous work;
(2)  employing child employees;
(3)  engaged in contracting and subcontracting arrangements (Principals and contractors);
(4)  Philippine-registered ships or vessels engaged in domestic shipping;
(5)  employing 10 or more employees; and
(6)  other priority establishments covered by issuances.

Baldoz emphasized that the DOLE regional offices and its attached offices are providing free technical assistance and services   to establishments with deficiencies to ensure full compliance with all labor laws.


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