Zamboanga City – The Department of Labor and Employment Regional Office 9 (DOLE 9) recently facilitated the release of P4.2 million pesos as payment of benefits to 45 workers of a construction firm.

Regional Director Ofelia B. Domingo personally handed the checks to workers on July 27, 2018 at the DOLE Regional Office. 100% of the checks were released to workers wherein the highest amount paid was P162,769.20. Some 23 workers received more than P100k each while the rest received varying amounts.

The said amounts representunderpayment of minimum wage, non-payment of 13th month pay, holiday pay, special holiday, overtime and 5 days’ service incentive leave.

Director Domingo said that DOLE 9 is continually implementing public information campaigns urging employers to comply with core labor standards, reminding them of their obligation to pay the mandatory holiday pay and other statutory benefits. She also emphasizes the importance of continuous dialogue between the employers and workers.

She added that the releasing of checks was the product of issuance of a compliance order by virtue of DOLE’s visitorial and enforcement power. DOLE 9, after issuing the said order, compelled the company to pay the entitlements to workers.

The entire process only took 3 months to resolve which began with a complaint inspection conducted by DOLE 9 Labor Inspectors. The labor case went on with two (2) mandatory conferences and four (4) more special conferences handled by Hearing Officer from the Technical Support and Services Division (TSSD).

Director Domingo, prior to releasing the checks, told the workers that DOLE is concerned with their plight which enabled the case to be resolved speedily. She went on to advise the workers to spend their money wisely and to try investing it or opening up a business

The workers who received their monetary benefits were very grateful to DOLE 9 for the assistance.

Reylan Garcillas said that he was thankful to DOLE for the help extended to them. He worked as a mason for more than 2 years under the said company and has received only P230/day. After receiving his check worth P69 thousand, he says he plans to purchase a motorcycle.

“Alegre iyo cae no hay gayot deha el DOLE canamon. Yahace sila preciso con el de amon caso cae sabe sila pobre lang kame. Ta ayuda gayot el DOLE defende con el de amon maga derecho como maga trabahador. (I am happy that DOLE never left us. They prioritized our case because they know we are poor. DOLE really defends our rights as workers.),” said Rizaldy Barredo, a welder, who plans to pay off a loan he incurred for the enrolment of his kids.

Aside from Reylan and Rizaldy, their co-workers claimed that they will be spending their money on small business start-ups, minor home repairs, children’s education and even paying off medical bills and personal loans.

Meanwhile, DOLE 9 conducted profiling of the workers for possible future employment and for provision of livelihood starter kits for those who are interested in venturing into an enterprise.

END/Karen Claire Q. Grafia with report from Miraflor J. Casanes, Sr. LEO, TSSD

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