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Philippines: DOLE Puts Up Single Entry Approach Desks; Steps Up Labor Arbitration Reform
Source: balita.ph
Source Date: Sunday, November 28, 2010
Focus: Institution and HR Management
Country: Philippines
Created: Nov 29, 2010

MANILA, Nov. 27 Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda D. Baldoz said on Saturday the DOLE is on track on its reform program in the labor arbitration and adjudication system, as she announced the establishment of Single Entry Approach Desks (SEADs) nationwide that will serve as entry points in speeding up the resolution of all cases affecting workers and employers.

Following a report of DOLE Undersecretary for Labor Relations Hans Leo G. Cacdac, Baldoz said the desks have been established in all the regional branches of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) and of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), as well as in the offices/branches of the DOLE.

The desks have been established in pursuit of the goal of President Benigno S. Aquino III in his 22-point labor and employment agenda.

There are now desks manned by 49 desk officers who have been trained on conciliation-mediation work. We are training more and we will add more desks very soon, Baldoz said.

The SEADs have been established in compliance with DOLE Department Order No. 107-10, Series of 2010, which mandates a 30-day conciliation-mediation for all cases involving workers and employers.

The 30-day mandatory conciliation-mediation approach, which shall be made operational through the SEADs, is a reform program that answers President Aquinos directive to the DOLE to reform labor arbitration and adjudication systems by streamlining procedures, removing red tape, and at the same time, restore integrity and fairness in the system and to ensure that 98 percent of all pending labor cases are disposed of with quality decisions by April 2011.

As a reform program, the 30-day conciliation-mediation approach was a product of tripartite consultation. In early July, the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (TIPC) endorsed the reform by virtue of TIPC Resolution No. 3, Series of 2010.

DO No. 107-10 prescribes the guidelines on the reform measure by virtue of the mandate of Section 3, Article XIII of the 1987 Constitution on the preferential use of voluntary modes of dispute settlement; Article 211 of the Labor Code, as amended; the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Act of 2004; and Executive Order No. 523 instituting the use of ADR for the speedy resolution of all disputes before the administrative bodies of the Executive Department.

As Labor Relations cluster head, Undersecretary Cacdac, upon the DOLE-led Regional Coordinating Councils recommendation to ensure efficiency in the establishment of the SEADs nationwide, has designated as priority regions the National Capital Region, Regions 3, 4-A, 7 and 11 based on case volume assessment, and Regions 4-B, 7, 8 and 10 for reinforcement.

Following the completion of the facts for information dissemination, we have also tentatively scheduled a national consultation of SEAD officers in February 2011, Cacdac said.

For this purpose, he expects the officials/agencies designated as SEAD cluster focal persons to do their utmost in ensuring that the desk functions smoothly in preventing the clogging up of labor and employment cases through judicious and fair 30-day conciliation and mediation leading to de-judicialization, with recourse to compulsory arbitration as a last resort and applying only to cases that remain unresolved.

Cacdac designated Director Leah S. Fortuna of the DOLEs Legal Service (for Legal Service Desks); Director Shay Pascual of the NCMB for Luzon (CAR, Regions 1, 2 and 4B); Director Rebecca C. Chato of the Bureau of Labor Relations for the Mindanao area, NCR, and Regions 3 and 4-B; and himself, for the Visayas and Regional Office No. 5, with the NCMB directors reinforcing Regions 4-B, 7, 8 and 10.

"I cannot overemphasize the importance of the 30-day mandatory conciliation and mediation for all labor and employment cases in speeding up and hastening the settlement of all labor and employment disputes affecting the countrys workforce and employers, Secretary Baldoz said.

The impartial use of conciliation-mediation in the settlement of all labor cases, with only unresolved cases subjected to either voluntary arbitration or compulsory arbitration under the NLRC will redound to the benefit of workers and employers and contribute greatly to enterprise and national productivity and industrial stability and peace, she added.
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