DOLE starts assisting 2,925 NCCC workers

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will look into the compliance by management of the burnt NCCC Mall of Davao with labor safety and other required labor standards at the time of the  21-hour fire that occurred last December 23, 2017.

This was bared yesterday by Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III during a press conference at the DOLE regional office along Dacudao Ave. wherein he discussed details of the P30-million Emergency Employment Program (EEP) the DOLE will extend to 2,925 workers displaced by the mall fire.

Bello also announced that President Duterte has approved the repeal of an old memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and the DOLE, wherein DOLE has waived its authority to enforce safety and other labor standards in all PEZA-accredited establishments, including BPO (Business Process  Outsourcing) call or contact centers.

This means, Bello said that from now on, the prerogative to enforce safety and other labor standards even in PEZA-accredited  workplaces will now be back with DOLE.

In a related development, the Labor secretary said that the DOLE has asked Congress to allocate funds for the hiring of additional 2,000 labor inspectors starting this year. The agency has also linked up with non-government   organizations and professional groups to provide volunteers who will be deputized by DOLE after the needed training and orientation on Labor laws.

Bello also met with some 200 displaced workers of NCCC mall who were being oriented at the DOLE regional office before availing themselves of the  30-day emergency employment provided by DOLE.

The  close to 3,000 fire-affected workers will receive a minimum daily wage rate of P340 in the duration of their emergency employment, according to DOLE 11 Regional Director  Raymundo G. Agravante.

Recently,  officials of several agencies of the labor department held a series of meetings with the management of NCCC Mall and SSI, the PBO firm, to ensure zero displacement of workers affected by the fire incident.

Also directed to provide assistance were the Bureau of Working Conditions (BWC), Occupational Safety  and Health Center (OSHC) and the Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC).

On the other hand, the SSI officials committed that all their employees will be paid salary up to December 31, 2017. SSI also added that they will be rebuilding within 60 days as the company has already found another site for its operations and assured its workers’ employment as soon as their operations resume.

A proposal for the payment of workers’ salary for the 60-day period is also being considered by the principal of SSI in the United States.

In addition, the DOLE regional office along with OSHC and ECC has put up funds to extend P20,000 in assistance to each family of those who perish in the fire.

On the part of ECC, P30,000 in burial assistance was provided to each family of the 38 victims, including grocery items for the wake which will be followed by the provision of survivorship pension to their families amounting to at least P 3, 700 per month.