By: Jessa Mae O. Sotto, @cebudailynews, Feb 22, 2018
LABOR Secretary Silvestre Bello III yesterday named hospitals in the country as the number one violators of labor laws.
He said that more often than not, their workers are either underpaid or overworked, or both.
Bello made this announcement in a message which he delivered in a Cebu forum called: “Policy Direction of the Duterte Administration on Labor Inspection and Compliance” organized by law students of the University of San Carlos (USC) on Thursday afternoon.
“Number one violators ang mga hospitals. Underpaid ang mga workers, overworked ang mga nurses,” he said.
Cyril Ticao, director of the Department of Labor and Employment in Central Visayas (DOLE-7), said he agreed with Sec. Bello.
Ticao admitted that their office also failed in ensuring private hospitals’ compliance with labor laws because of their shortage in Labor Law Compliance Officers (LLCO).
“Because sa dami ng establishments kulang pa tayo (we lack in the number of required personnel),” he said in an interview with Cebu Daily News.
Ticao said there are about 62,000 business establishments in Cebu alone which already include privately-owned hospitals.
However, he said, they only have 35 LLCOs to inspect labor laws and Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHS) compliance of these establishments.
“Pero this year 2018, isa yan sa aming priority for inspection,” he said.
“We will first give them due process. We will let them comply with what we have on our findings. If not, we will issue an order to comply,” Ticao added.
Lilia Estillore, DOLE-7 assistant regional director, said they are also looking into reports that some private hospitals require a P500 per month fee from nurses who work with them to gain the experience that they need for an employment abroad.
Meanwhile, Sec. Bello invited USC law students to undergo a ten-day training with DOLE to become one of their LLCOs.
He said DOLE needs as many LLCOs they can get to help inspect the at least 900,000 establishments nationwide.
“We need you as labor law compliance officers,” Bello said.