As the coronavirus pandemic continues for an unforeseeable future, businesses and government alike have embraced technology in shaping relationships and collaboration. With mobility restrictions being enforced to ensure the health and safety of the general public, the Regional Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (RTIPC) heeded the call of the times to gather in a virtual meeting that have indeed become an integral part of the new normal.

With the Regional Director and RTIPC Chair, Atty. Sarah Buena S. Mirasol presiding over the meeting via the online platform Zoom on July 14, 2020, members were apprised on the employment situationer in the National Capital Region (NCR) during the COVID-19 pandemic, citing reports on establishments that adopted flexible work arrangement, temporary closure, or a combination of these.

As to the local job displacement, Division Chief Nelia M. Mungcal of the Technical Services and Support Division – Labor Relations, Labor Standards (TSSD-LRLS) also reported a total of 21,411 workers who were displaced in NCR from 1,233 establishments, 89% of which is due to retrenchment / reduced workforce (19,088) while the remaining 11% reported permanent closure (2,323). She also presented the results of the programs implemented by the Department on COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP), TUPAD #BKBK (#Barangay Ko, Bahay Ko Disinfection/Sanitation Project), and DOLE-AKAP for OFWs.

The virtual meeting also served as a venue to provide updates on the Joint Monitoring of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and DOLE Interim Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19. Covering the period June 8 to July 13, 2020, total establishments monitored resulted to 12,061, covering 233,610 workers posting an 85% compliance rate.

The top five monitored industries including the respective compliance rates were: (1) wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles – 86%; (2) accommodation and food service activities – 85%; (3) other service activities – 85%; (4) financial and insurance activities – 86%; and (5) manufacturing – 76%.

To maintain ease of access to DOLE’s services, Senior Labor and Employment Officer Joseph A. Arriola oriented the members on the Online Establishment Report System that was launched on July 8, 2020, by the Bureau of Working Conditions in cooperation with the DOLE-NCR. The said online service was developed to allow stakeholders to comply with the documentary requirements mandated under the Labor Code and other relevant laws and standards in the comfort of their homes or workplaces. This includes filing of relevant documents in relation to Flexible Work Arrangement, Temporary Closure, Retrenchment / Reduction of Workforce, and Permanent Closure.

A walk-through on the DOLE-NCR’s e-filing services was also made to keep members abreast of the innovative actions being undertaken by the region so that clients may have ready access to its services electronically. This includes: 1) Request for Assistance; 2) Request for Certificate of Involuntary Separation for SSS; 3) Registration of Establishment under Rule 1020; 4) Registration of Job, Service Contractor, Subcontractor (D.O. 174-17); 5) Construction Safety and Health Program Application (Simplified); 6) Construction Safety and Health Program Application (Comprehensive); 7) Request for Technical Safety Inspection; 8) Annual Medical Report; 9) Report of Safety Organization; 10) Application for DOLE Clearance (Certificate of No Pending Case); and 11) Application for DOLE Clearance (Certificate of No Pending Case on Child Labor).

As the RTIPC remains to be committed to review policies and submit recommendations on labor and employment issues, the virtual meeting also paved the way for the analysis of the proposed resolution of the Pasay City Tripartite Industrial Peace Council on limiting the number of foreign nationals applying for Alien Employment Permit (AEP) in the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGOs), increasing the penalties for individuals and employers working without AEP, and creating an inter-agency committee to strictly regulate POGO activities. The proposal was headed by the Pasay City TIPC Vice-Chairs Christopher Matsumoto (management), Joseph Macalinao (labor), and then Makati-Pasay OIC-Field Office Director, Atty. Joel Petaca (government).

The Pasay City TIPC’s recommendation is seen to be a timely move as the review on the guidelines on the employment of foreign nationals is now underway with the Bureau of Local Employment (BLE) as the program manager. In principle, the RTIPC has approved the adoption of the Pasay City TIPC resolution subject to certain enhancements.

The virtual meeting was attended by almost sixty members from the labor, management, and government sectors.

END / Jackilyn G. Borja