The Department of Labor and Employment – National Capital Region (DOLE-NCR), in partnership with the DOLE-Bureau of Local Employment (BLE), held a hybrid seminar on the process improvement regarding the issuance of Alien Employment Permits (AEP) to foreign nationals (FNs) at Orchid Garden Suites, Malate, Manila on October 5, 2022.

Part of the activity also covered an orientation on the “Revised Rules and Regulations for the Issuance of Employment Permit to Foreign Nationals,” as well as other pertinent laws and policies.

The event was attended by various representatives from government agencies that provide services to FNs, especially those who seek gainful employment in the Philippines. These include DOLE-NCR Regional Director, Atty. Sarah Buena S. Mirasol; DOLE Region 3 Assistant Regional Director, Atty. Alejandro Inza Cruz; DOLE-NCR TSSD-EPWW OIC, Mr. Rey D. Sanglay; DOLE-NCR MALSU OIC, Atty. Cesar P. Petate; DOLE IV-A Chief Labor and Employment Officer (LEO), Ms. Celia G. Ariola; DOLE Bureau of Local Employment (BLE) Supervising LEO, Mr. Jerome P. Lucas; Mr. Miguel D. Alfaro (BIR); Atty. Bernadette C. Ongoco (DOJ); Mr. Emmanuel A. Villanueva (BI); Ms. Marie Cecille P. Fernando (PRC); Atty. Clefford Pascual (TESDA); Mr. Jason Suarez (PEZA); and Mr. Richard Emerson D. Ballester (NEDA).

Simultaneous to the seminar was a virtual meeting for 18 DOLE AEP focal persons from CAR, CARAGA, MIMAROPA, Region 2, Region 5, and Region 7.

 

The orientation was also attended virtually by 18 AEP focal persons from DOLE CAR, CARAGA, MIMAROPA, Region 2, Region 5, and Region 7.

Atty. Sarah Buena S. Mirasol, DOLE-NCR Regional Director, officially welcomed the participants and delivered the inspirational message on behalf of DOLE Undersecretary, Ms. Carmela I. Torres.

“DOLE is committed to afford full protection of labor and promote full employment opportunities for all. Protecting local employment entails the regulation of employment of foreign nationals,” she said.

Emphasizing the need for more and better policies, the Director also mentioned the importance of harmonizing and standardizing rules and regulations of concerned government agencies to be of better service to Filipinos and FNs.

The sense of urgency comes from the recent, drastic increase in FNs seeking employment in the Philippines. So far, a total of 40,634 applications have been processed just this year in the whole country.

With the said number, the labor department is anticipating an even more overwhelming upswing of interested foreigners; hence, the need for an improved issuance process.

“Furthermore, we seek to thresh out concerns affecting the issuance of AEP. Let us take this opportunity to have a fruitful and meaningful discussion,” she added.

Mr. Wilmer B. Pasague, Senior LEO of DOLE-BLE then discussed the application process for FNs, the requirements, and the new features of AEP cards, which include a QR code that will facilitate the validation process for DOLE.

During the panel discussion, Atty. Bernadette C. Ongoco, DOJ (left) shed light on the concerns of the Department regarding the outdated checklist of Anti-Dummy Law. Other representatives also took the opportunity to ask for clarifications about the legality of their experienced cases on foreign nationals. She was joined by Mr. Emmanuel A. Villanueva, BI (right).

 

Atty. Ongoco took the opportunity to ask for recommendations for the revision of the 1976 checklist of Commonwealth Act No. 108, also known as Anti-Dummy Law.

Mr. Villanueva from the Bureau of Immigration expressed his concerns regarding the data and security of the proposed QR codes. Mr. Pasague assured that the said feature only promotes efficiency without compromising security since the profiles of the FNs are not linked to the QR codes.

Issues regarding the technicality of jobs were also raised following the reminder that FNs are not supposed to handle technical jobs. When asked if TESDA could simply provide a list of technical jobs, Atty. Pascual said that job descriptions are always the bases of the technicality of the jobs and at present, TESDA is yet to provide the list.

Just before the closing remarks, Mr. Rey D. Sanglay, DOLE-NCR Employment Promotion and Workers Welfare (EPWW) Officer-in-Charge, distributed the certificates of appreciation and participation to the resource speakers and participants from the different agencies.

Mr. Rey D. Sanglay, DOLE-NCR Employment Promotion and Workers Welfare (EPWW) Officer-in-Charge (2nd from right), awarded the certificates of appreciation and participation to the resource speakers and participants from the different agencies.

 

Mr. Jerome P. Lucas, BLE Supervising LEO, on behalf of BLE OIC Mr. Patrick Patriwirawan Jr., thanked the participants for coming.

“Rest assured that the Bureau of Local Employment is always ready to assist our implementors especially on matters about AEP,” he said.

No government agency is perfect. But with the desire to improve and to serve the Filipinos better, collaborations among the mentioned sectors are needed as they promote drastic and more effective changes in the country.

END / Report and photos by Esteban Chua, Jr.