CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — More than 30 employees of the Ministry of Labor and Employment (MOLE) underwent a 5-day intensive training on labor inspectorate on May 15-19, held at the N Hotel, in this city.

The training, in partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) central office through its Bureau of Working Conditions (BWC), and the DOLE Regional Office X, aimed to upskill potential labor inspectors to further intensify the ministry’s implementation of its visitorial and enforcement powers, as provided under the Labor Code of the Philippines, in the workplaces across the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.

Labor inspectors play a vital role in the enforcement of labor laws and standards, and ensuring a higher level of compliance, thus, securing continuity and sustainability of compliance among the workplaces in the region.

Atty. Estrella U. Pahalla, Regional Director of DOLE RO X, who welcomed the guests and participants, described Cagayan de Oro City as a city of golden friendship, an international gateway, and an agricultural hub and major industrial tourism and trade center in the country.

In her overview of the significance of labor inspection, Pahalla stressed one of DOLE Secretary Bienvenido E. Laguesma’s remarks. “We would like to see DOLE inspectors [to] look more closely at substantive matters such as compliance with rules on working hours and proper payment of benefits, including a non-negotiable stance on occupational safety and health in adherence to the country’s newly passed occupational safety and health (OSH) law,” Pahalla quoted. 

“[Sec. Laguesma] asked inspectors to go further in ensuring compliance to labor laws, health and safety procedures, and social fairness for workers. He also mentioned shifting the focus of inspections to industries and sectors based on the degree of workers’ exposure to risks and hazards,” Pahalla added.

Moreover, Undersecretary Benjo Santos M. Benavidez of DOLE’s Workers’ Welfare and Protection Cluster, through a video message, recounted the establishment of BARMM as a realization of a long struggling aspirations of Bangsamoro people for a genuine and meaningful self-determination reflective of a system of life as prescribed by faith, harmony, customary laws, cultures and traditions.

On DOLE’s Labor Inspection Program, Atty. Benavidez underscored it as an integral component of labor protection. “The inspectorate is the primary instrument in operationalizing GLS, OSH standards, and social legislation intended to safeguard the rights of workers to just and humane working conditions,” the Usec. said. 

He also highlighted the importance of the training on labor inspection as the DOLE adopted a strategic and developmental approach through its newly revised rules on labor inspection.

Engr. Hatta T. Jumdain, Director of MOLE’s Bureau of Labor Relations and Standards (BLRS), on the other hand, delivered the message of BARMM Labor Minister Muslimin G. Sema. He expressed his gratitude to the DOLE central office and the BWC for its commitment to support and assist the ministry. Jumdain also expressed his gratitude to DOLE RO X for its support and warm welcome.

“This labor inspectorate training is imperative to effectively perform our functions and realize our mandates, our mission, and objectives to attain decent work,” said Sema.

Sema also emphasized the role of the labor inspector is crucial in the enforcement and implementation of relevant labor laws, policies, and legislation at the workplaces to ensure that such policies are respected, strictly applied and adopted by the employers.

The training, which was mainly facilitated by Engr. Kristine Carol S. Ramos of BWC, covered the discussion from several resource persons from the BWC and DOLE RO X, on the topics on visitorial and enforcement power through the DOLE Department Order No. 238, Series of 2023; Technical Advisory Visit process flow and modules.

It also covered the General Labor Standards (GLS) review and application and other related labor laws and issuances; OSH law review and application, and DOLE DO 198, s2023; Strategic Enforcement and Compliance; and DOLE programs and services on productivity and child labor and family welfare.

Rene Robert, a specialist in Labour Administration and Labour Inspection from the International Labour Organization (ILO), comprehensively discussed the Strategic Compliance Planning on labor inspection.

As part of the intensive training, an examination for labor inspectors was administered by Engr. Ramos.

The training, which fostered strong relations between the Bangsamoro government and the national government, BWC Director Atty. Alvin B. Curada assured the ministry of its commitment to the partnership and future collaboration.