By Gina V. Rodriguez
LEGAZPI CITY --- Initial reports received by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)-Bicol from its provincial offices in the region show an increasing number of employers in the region who are giving the 13th month pay benefit to their workers, particularly those based in Camarines Norte.
The number of establishments that voluntarily complied with labor law regulations on the 13th month pay for the period January to December 2016, has reached 148 with a total of 2,945 workers all over the region receiving the benefit, said DOLE Bicol Director Ma. Karina Perida-Trayvilla.
She cited initial reports gathered by labor employment officer Lynette Heat-Dela Fuente from the six DOLE provincial officials as of the middle of January this year.
“Ang ibang (kumpanya) ay nagbibigay naman. Yun nga lang kung minsan nakakaligtaan nila itong reportorial requirement na dapat ay on or before January 15 ng susunod na taon,” (The others [establishments] are also giving (the 13th month) except that they become remiss in reporting this (to DOLE) as required on or before Jan. 15 of the succeeding year), stated Trayvilla in a press release this week.
DOLE-Bicol records show Camarines Norte has 82 establishments voluntarily giving 13th month pay benefits to 1,144 employees. Second is Catanduanes with 32 establishments and 1,323 employees. Albay with 20 establishments and 198 employees is third.
In Camarines Sur, records show seven establishments with 184 employees giving out the benefit while Sorsogon has six with 91 employees and Masbate, one with five employees.
Trayvilla said an evident means of knowing whether the workers are really receiving the 13th month benefit is the fewer number of complaints received by DOLE’s “Request for Assistance or RFA to the Single Entry Approach (SENA).”
She said SENA is a major DOLE program that seeks to provide immediate action to resolve the workers’ complaints and grievances by working out an amicable settlement between the two parties involved.
Trayvilla said DOLE-Bicol has also noted the fewer complaints being received by DOLE-Bicol Hotline (0918) 309-665 on the 13th month benefits.
She clarified, however, that DOLE-Bicol is not being complacent as the agency is continuously verifying if the said companies have really given the 13th month benefits to their employees.
“That verification will be made by our inspectors who will go out to the field this February,” said Trayvilla.