MANILA — Some 220,000 private sector employees of Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP)-member companies will be regularized in three years, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) announced on Wednesday.
DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the commitment is included in the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the National Voluntary Regularization Program with ECOP which they will sign on Friday.
“We are pleased to announce the conclusion of an agreement with the Employers Confederation of the Philippines for the implementation of a National Voluntary Regularization Plan which will commence this month,” he said.
“This will cover workers in more than 3,200 establishments, mostly ECOP members. As a start, between 30 to 40 percent of the workers of the pre-identified establishments will benefit from the plan,” Bello added.
Included in the agreement is the absorption by the principal employers as regulars the workers who are believed engaged under illegal contracting arrangements.
Bello said majority of the employees that are likely to benefit are from the National Capital Region and Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon).
He noted that part of the incentives of ECOP member-companies that are participating in the program is they will not be subjected to labor inspections.
“We will be declaring a moratorium on labor inspection effective for three years, except when there is a complaint lodged against them,” he said.
Bello hopes that other groups will also adopt such agreement with the DOLE in the campaign to regularize more workers.
“But we are confident that this agreement will set the stage for the massive regularization to be voluntarily initiated by the rest of the employers nationwide,” he said.
“We consider this agreement a breakthrough in the campaign of the government to reduce if not eliminate the practice of contractualization in the country. This is a significant leap forward in the attainment of the desire of the President to give the Filipino workers secure and decent jobs,” the DOLE chief added.
Meanwhile, DOLE Assistant Secretary Benjo Benavidez noted that most of the industries covered by the program are from the manufacturing, retailing, and accommodation, particularly factories, malls, and hotels.
Based on DOLE data, as of Dec. 2018, a total of 413,940 workers were regularized workers — 291,612 of which were voluntarily regularized by their own employers while the 122,328 secured their employment through labor inspections and assessment. (PNA) By Ferdinand Patinio