Bicol workers receive claims worth Php8M from mediated disputes

Legazpi City – Some 471 workers in the Bicol region were able to claim their monetary benefits in the amount of P8,009, 034 in the first quarter of 2019 through the assistance of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Regional Office V (Bicol) based on the 2019 First Quarter Report of the DOLE Technical Support and Services Division.

Atty. Alvin M. Villamor, Regional Director said that it is the result of the dedication and efforts of the Single Entry Approach Desk Officers (SEADOs) that led to the settlement of 391 out of 481 request for assistance (RFA) handled from January to March 2019.

Accounting for the biggest bulk of settled cases in the first quarter, Camarines Sur Provincial Field Office (PFO) settled 158 RFAs which led to the awarding of P2,207,516 in monetary benefits to 181 workers. While Albay PFO has the highest monetary restitutions or awards to 127 workers in the amount of P2,689,614.

The report also shows that Sorsogon has awarded P1,453,029 to 75 workers; Camarines Norte with P982,615 to 49 workers; Catanduanes with P295,289 to 21 workers; Masbate with P167,071 to 12 workers, and TSSD with P213,900 to 6 workers.

“We were able to hit 98% disposition rate and 83% settlement rate regionwide for this quarter,” Villamor stressed.

He added that the average duration to settle RFAs last only for 12 days, while the average duration to dispose RFAs was computed at 12 days.

The RFA filed by the workers involve complaints on illegal dismissal, non-payment and underpayment of wages, non-payment of overtime, holiday, night shift differential, 13th month and separation pays, non-coverage to social protection benefits such as SSS, PhilHealth, and Pag-IBIG; and unauthorized cash bond deductions.

The aggrieved employees who filed RFAs came from various sectors in Bicol such as security agencies, wholesale and retail trading, accommodation and food service activities, construction, and education.

“We hope to sustain the settlement and disposition rate towards the end of the year. Above all, it is our mandate to promote industrial peace in workplaces and ensure full respect of labor standards and the fundamental principles and rights at work,” Villamor said.

The SeNA (Single Entry Approach), is DOLE’s banner program ensuring that all complaints first go through a 30-day mandatory conciliation and mediation period to exhaust possible means towards a fair settlement, before they are referred for arbitration.

Villamor also explained the importance of SEnA an administrative approach to provide a speedy, impartial, inexpensive, and accessible settlement procedure for all issues/complaints arising from employer-employee relations to prevent them from ripening into full blown disputes.

Further, during the conduct SEnA (Single Entry Approach), Villammor added, “we try to convince also the principals/ employers to regularize workers in their respective establishments who responded in positive way embracing the advantages of voluntarily regularizing their workers.”