Press Releases
DOLE-X advocates employment preservation amid COVID-19 pandemic

Cagayan de Oro City --- The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE-X)

Regional Director lawyer Joffrey M. Suyao highlights the DOLE Labor Advisory No.

17 advocating employment preservation during the fourth Management Committee

meeting on May 28, 2020 in DOLE-X. The Advisory is part of recovery support

program of the Department under post-COVID-19 pandemic aimed to support the

revamp of economies in the region. This supports the increased categories and

increased number of businesses now allowed to open/operate business subject to

the IATF-EID (Inter-Agency Task Force-Emerging Infectious Diseases) and

concerned Local Government Unit’s rules and regulations upon the declaration of

Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) for Cagayan de Oro City and

concerned provinces in the region.


To recall, Presidential Proclamation No. 922, Series of 2020 was issued which

declared a State of Public Health Emergency throughout the country in view of

COVID-19 pandemic. Operating under the “Bayanihan To Heal As One Act” through

one government approach, the DOLE upholds to protect the interests of workers in

the private sector, supports the continued business operations by ensuring health,

safety and welfare of workers, employers and the general public in Northern

Mindanao under MGCQ starting July 1, 2020. The DTI-DOLE Interim Guidelines on

Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19 tangibly monitors opened

businesses through workplace visits to assess/monitor/validate minimum compliance

to basic health and safety requirements.


As a support to bolster economies and businesses, Director Suyao further clarifies

that Labor Advisory No. 17, Series of 2020 promotes employment preservation


regardless of employment status of workers in the private sector operating or

allowed to resume business operations under community quarantine arrangements.

The Labor Advisory promotes flexible work arrangements or alternative work

schemes that employers and workers may avail instead of resorting to permanent

termination of workers from work or cessation of business operations. Schemes may

include but not limited to: reduction of work hours, rotation of workers, temporary

closures or other schemes which shall adhere to basic Labor Standards policies.

Under any of the schemes, employers and employees may agree voluntarily and

express in writing to temporarily adjust employees’ wage and wage-related benefits

following the existing labor standards rules and regulations; period of which shall not

exceed six months’ period; and subject to review by the signing parties for any

possible improvements.


As a support to businesses allowed to operate, the Joint Interim Memorandum with

the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Department of Tourism (DOT)

authorizes the conduct of monitoring visits to establishments by the DTI, DOT, DOLE

and the LGU prioritizing respective industry sectors of said entities/agencies. This

post COVID-19 activity aims to monitor/validate compliance to IATF-EID health and

safety protocols through actual workplace assessment/validation. Since June 26,

2020 up to July 20, 2020, joint visits conducted by the monitoring team was recorded

at 3,421 business establishments region-wide. Ensuring compliance to IATF’s safety

and health protocols in workplaces in the private sector means apt support to bolster

economies; ensure workers’ health and safety; and increase public trust on business

operations that will deliberately revive economies. Six hundred forty-four (644) of

3,421 monitored establishments were reported as non-compliant to basic health and

safety standards. Non-compliant to basic health and safety protocols were subjected

to technical assistance by the Department for the installation of simple, highly doable

and practical mechanisms such as: putting up of signages at the entrance of the

business enterprise, installation of signages inside the workplace, installation of

transparent barriers, walkway signages through floor markings and compliance to

daily health questionnaires intended to determine exposures, contact-tracing and



In line with the monitoring of establishments, Director Suyao said that DOLE also

monitors termination of workers and company closures. As of July 20, 2020

Termination Reports received by the office was recorded at 35 establishments opted

to stop operations due to ill-effects of the pandemic, involving 663 involuntarily

terminated workers. Majority or 23 of these establishments are from Cagayan de

Oro, where the seat of economic hub of the region resides. Termination Report is

part of the monitoring schemes done by the Department not only in Northern

Mindanao but in a nationwide scale. Facts and data gathered is hoped to guide the

Department for policy shifts and issuances, which is also the basis of designing

appropriate programs for workers and employers, with regard to the terms and

conditions of employment, Director Suyao stressed.


As of July 20, 2020, in terms of industry sector, construction accounts the biggest

retrenchment/reduction of workers at 24% or 606 workers from 39 establishments;

followed by wholesale/retail at 21% or 523 workers of 34 establishments; and

manufacturing sector affecting 18 establishments involving 227 workers.


Moreover, the accommodation industry has the highest number of displaced workers

from 9 establishments affecting 189 workers while 181 establishments reported

retrenchment/reduction of workers covering 2,516 displaced workers.


For more effective and efficient monitoring on employment status of workers,

including temporary closures of businesses or cessation of operations, the DOLE

institutionalized the use of DOLE Online Establishment Report System, thru This was made public on July 8, 2020, where employers

are encouraged to submit their reports online on the following: (1) Flexible Work

Arrangement/Alternative Work Scheme; (2) Temporary Closure; (3) Retrenchment or

Reduction of Workforce; or (4) Permanent Closure. Once filed online, submission of

hard copies of the said Establishment Reports to the DOLE Regional/Provincial Field

Offices are no longer required.


Moving towards post COVID-19 pandemic, DOLE continues to facilitate the provision

of technical assistance as an apt support to employers and workers in multifarious

work settings in complying with the basic health and safety guidelines. DOLE

ensures to facilitate/extend technical assistance towards improved economic

activities hoping to enhance/revitalize businesses encouraging full participation and

involvement of workers and employers under the new normal work settings.


End/Mildred E. Dablio/DOLE-X




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