Bello warns vs. layoffs in Boracay

MANILA Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III has warned establishments in Boracay against terminating their employees during the six-month closure of the resort island starting April 26.

Temporary suspension of business operations should not and must not result in the termination or separation of any employee, he said in an advisory issued late Friday.

With this, Bello added that employers may only observe the principle of No Work, No Pay, or require the employees to go on forced leave by utilizing their leave credits, if any.

Employees are expected to be recalled back to work upon the lifting of the temporary closure of Boracay island, he said.

The labor advisory is for strict observance and compliance, the DOLE chief added.

Last week, Bello said they will extend assistance to affected workers in the island, including the provision of emergency employment.

Some 5,000 informal sector workers and members of the indigenous community in the island will be employed in the cleanup of the area. An initial amount of PHP60 million will be released for the emergency employment assistance.

Meanwhile, the Partido Manggagawa (PM) called on the DOLE to initiate a dialogue with affected workers in the terms of emergency assistance.

Rene Magtubo, PM national chair, appealed that all workers, including unregistered ones, be beneficiaries of aid to affected workers.

Unregistered workers in Boracay, numbering 9,365, deserve the same assistance as 17,328 registered workers. Unregistered workers comprise a third of all Boracay employees and should not be denied aid. Like registered workers, they also have families to feed and support, he said in a statement.

DOLE's proposed assistance of insurance and compensation equivalent to the minimum wage is not necessarily bad per se. We call on the DOLE to initiate a dialogue with representatives of affected workers to get their real-life grievances and concerns in order to craft appropriate emergency response and assistance for the duration of the closure of Boracay, he added.

At the same time, the labor group official called on Boracay workers, registered and unregistered, to organize themselves so they could have voice and representation.

Only by organizing themselves can Boracay workers claim and win the kind of relief and assistance is suitable to their conditions, Magtubo said. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency