Mina Diaz

DoLE brings livelihood aid to Misamis folk

Residents of Misamis Occidental were given the chance to have an emergency employment for their livelihood after the P600,000 financial assistance was released by the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) recently. The financial package was intended for the DoLE Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program. Leonardo Rodrigo, DoLE 10 Misamis Occidental chief, was elated that the livelihood project reached the mountainous areas of the province with the help of the 10th Infantry Battalion (IB) of the Philippine Army of Barangay Burgos, Oroquieta City. The assistance of the Philippine Army was needed as the 33 barangays are known as communist-affected areas. Rodrigo also disclosed they granted P300,000 to the 30 members of the Small Potongan Farmer’s Association to finance their Backyard Piggery Livelihood Project. The P300,000 worth of aid was also given to Small Potongan Women’s Association, of which 28 beneficiaries received for their mini grocery and general merchandise. The two associations decided to engage in income generating projects that will provide home-based businesses and employment opportunities to all members and their respective families. For his part, Lt. Col. Ryan Severo, 10th IB commanding officer, is grateful to DoLE-10 for bringing livelihood projects to the poor and disadvantaged families in the unfortunate localities.

DoLE: Report age discrimination

The Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) has urged workers who experience age discrimination in the workplace to report companies that violate the Anti-Age Discrimination Act. According to Nicanor Bon, program and policy division chief of the Bureau of Working Conditions (BWC), the law prohibits employers from setting age limits in advertising job vacancies in media, and determining the declaration of age or date of birth during the process of applying for jobs, as well as denying the employees’ advancement or opportunity for training and imposing early retirement due to their age. “It is clearly stated in the law that age discrimination in workplaces is prohibited. Even labor organizations are not allowed to refuse or deny membership of any worker due to age limitations,” Bon said. However, the law prohibits employers from limiting employment age limits if age is a legitimate job qualification that is reasonably necessary for the normal operation of a business. Bon said the public should report non-compliant companies and encourage workers who have been discriminated upon due to age to report the incident to the nearest regional office of the DoLE to assist them in filing cases. DoLE reminds private establishments that violators can be punished by fines of at least P50,000 and not more than P500,000, or imprisonment of at least three months and not more than two years. “Should the court find a company guilty of the offense, it may be fined with P50,000 to P500,000 or its officials meted three months to two years imprisonment. They should be knowledgeable of the law because it clearly states that age discrimination and constraining the promotion of an employee solely basing on their age are strictly prohibited,” Bon further added.

Region 6 employers can apply for salary hike exemption

Employers in Western Visayas may file an appeal before the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) on the recently approved minimum salary increase, an official of the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) in Region 6 yesterday said. “The approval of new rates is flexible since the order provides remedies such as exemption,” DoLE Regional Director Johnson Cañete, who also chairs the RTWPB-6, said. “If certain establishments can show proof that they have no capacity to implement the increase, the board can grant an exemption,” he added. As of Wednesday, the new wage order has already been submitted to the National Wages and Productivity (NWPC) after it was signed by the RTWPB-6 members last week. The board approved an increase of P13.50 to P41.50, which includes cost of living allowance, in the daily minimum wage of private sector workers in the region. After receiving a copy of the new wage order, the NWPC will forward the document to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III for approval. Wage Order No. 24 will then be published and will take effect 15 days after publication, which is possibly by August 15.

DPWH kicks off week-long anniversary celebration

he Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) kicks off its week-long anniversary celebration after the launching of the Regional “One Town One Product” Exhibits at the DPWH Central Office in Port Area, Manila. This year’s theme -- “120 Years of Bridging Modern Development” -- emphasizes the sustainable infrastructure projects delivered through the years that helped drive the country’s economic growth and competitiveness which is vital to the improvement of the quality of life for all Filipinos. The three major goals of the Public Works department -- reduced travel time, improved road quality and safety, and lives and properties protected from natural disasters -- have already been set to be the agency’s contribution in achieving the goal of sustainable development. Also, the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC) and the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG Fund) were invited to set up a mobile assistance desk for inquiries and concerns of DPWH employees. Today, June 21 the department will showcase an Employee’s Welfare Seminar that will delve on topics ranging from the effective financial management to lifestyle disease prevention. This will be followed by giving recognition to retirees and loyalty awardees for their untiring support and contribution and awarding of Sportsfest winners and individual distinction the next day.

P80-M flood control project in Calbayog City in progress

The government is now constructing a retaining wall along Tinambacan River in Calbayog City, Samar to spare residents and properties from danger of flood. According to the report of Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)-Samar First District Engineering Office (DEO) Director Alvin Ignacio, an P80-million flood control project measuring 634 lineal meters is now ongoing to help decrease water levels in the low-lying areas of the city brought by overflowing of Tinambacan River. “It is our priority to protect lives and properties which are greatly affected by the floodings due to continuous heavy rains during typhoon season,” Ignacio said. “With the construction of retaining walls, we prevent flood water from affecting residential communities,” he added. The project along Tinambacan River is one of the two major flood control projects to be carried along major river channels of Calbayog City this year. The other project will be constructed along Jibatang River with budget amounting to P71 million. DPWH Samar First DEO is tasked to implement a total of P671-million flood control projects this year. This is P151 million higher than the P520- million budget last year.

No wage adjustment yet in Aklan

Wage adjustment in the province of Aklan will not be implemented in the meantime following the closure of some business establishments in the area, particularly in Boracay Island. According to Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) Region 6 Director and RTWPB 6 chairman Johnson Cañete, there will be no immediate wage adjustment in Aklan since Boracay has been closed due to government’s order to rehabilitate the island. Cañete said the province of Aklan might have wage increase approved by RTWPB in November. However, some establishment owners said the wage order can be enforced three months after Boracay will be opened to the public on October 26. Cañete added that there’s a big possibility that wage increase will take effect on January 27, 2019 following the income on their business adjustment scheme base on their economy. The minimum wage in Region 6 or Western Visayas is expected to be implemented in August, except in Aklan province.

Flood project on P. Burgos Ave. finished in time for rainy season

The flood control project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) along Padre Burgos Avenue from Luneta Pumping Station to Anda Street, Intramuros, Manila will be a great help during the rainy season. “P. Burgos is one of the important connecting roads that provide access to several thoroughfares such as Taft Avenue, Rizal Avenue, Roxas Boulevard and Quezon Boulevard. It was also identified as one of the flood-prone areas within the metropolis,” Public Works Secretary Mark Villar said. “Our goal is to directly catch the flood waters in the area around Manila City Hall and Intramuros which will be pumped out by the newly constructed pumping station, providing convenience to pedestrians and protection to properties,” he added. Villar personally visited the Luneta Pumping Station to ensure the project will help reduce the intensity of the flooding area every time the rainy season sets in. “We always make sure to expedite this kind of projects to ensure the safety of motorists and to improve roads which are vulnerable to flooding. DPWH is not only committed to building road networks but also to building disaster-risk reduction and resiliency infrastructures,” Villar said. The flood control project includes two submersible pumps with a capacity of 0.75 cu. m. per sec. for flood waters to be easily discharged through a 600 mm. x 600 mm. pipe into Manila Bay. The total length of the drainage line is 2,268.5 lineal meters.

Wage board OKs salary increase in Regions 6, 7

The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) has approved an increase in the daily minimum wage of private sector workers in Western and Central Visayas. The wage board of Region 6 or Western Visayas added P41.50 to the daily minimum wages of non-agricultural workers. In establishments with less than 10 employees, P23.50 per day has been added. Agricultural workers have increased P13.50 in their daily pay. Johnson Cañete, regional director of Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) 6, said the new wage hike order will take effect in August. “Under Wage Order No. 24, the wage rates in Western Visayas will now range from P295 to P365, up from the previous P271.50 to P323.50 under Wage Order No. 23,” Cañete, who also chairs RTPWB-6, said during a press briefing held at the Sugar Workers Development Center in Bacolod City last Monday. Cañete said the amounts of increase include cost of living allowance (COLA) and depend on the workers’ category. In Region 7 or Central Visayas, the RTWPB added P20 per day to the lowest minimum wage of workers working in Class A cities and towns while P15 for employees working in Classes B, C and D. DoLE 7 Regional Director Alvin Villamor, who also chairs the RTWPB, said they will do their best to send their recommendation this week or next week to the National Wages and Productivity Commission. “We saw some adverse effects of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law on workers. It has had some jarring effects on the economy,” Villamor explained The Associated Labor Unions (ALU), however, said the new wage increase rates in two regions do not boost workers out of poverty. Alan Tanjusay, spokesman of ALU, said it is also bound to create more poverty problems caused by migration of workers and their families with the segmentation of wage rates, particularly in the Central Visayas. Aside from inadequate wage rates, Tanjusay said the segmentation of wage rates in various classifications, in Region 7 for example, would lead to greater problems due to the migration overpopulation of workers and their families in areas where salary rates are highest — in the same way Metro Manila is experiencing now. “This will create bigger problems because cities with highest wage rates will be inundated with population more than their design and capacity,” Tanjusay said in an interview. “Also, with the prices of commodities and services almost the same among Classes A, B, C and D cities and towns, workers with the lowest rate will be unable to cope with the rising inflation,” he added. With these wage orders, the RTWPB highly favored the employers sector and committed a mistake and created more problems than solutions for workers, Tanjusay added.

Gov’t strengthens campaign vs roadside encroachment

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is urging the local government units (LGUs) to participate in maintaining the proper place for motorists and pedestrians on national roads and sidewalks. DPWH-National Capital Region made the statement following another round of clearing operations along the newly-widened Road Radial 10 (R-10) in Manila. Melvin Navarro, DPWH-NCR director, said recurrent road obstructions along R-10 vary from illegally-parked vehicles, vendors, garbage, permanent and temporary structures. “Note that while we are doing our best to improve and widen our national roads especially here in Metro Manila, we can’t maximize its use with persistent road encroachment that can be prevented if only people obey the six-meter easement rule of road right-of-way,” Navarro said. “This is why we call on the public, especially our LGUs to help us monitor and strictly enforce the law to ensure safety of our motorists and pedestrians,” he added. The provisions of Section 23 of Presidential Decree 178, also known as the Revised Philippine Highway Act, prohibits the use of road right-of-way for temporary and permanent structures such as buildings, houses, shanties, stores, shops, stalls, sheds, canopies and billboards.
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