Bicol workers get P17.5-M in labor settlement claims

By Connie Calipay

Some 988 workers in Bicol were able to receive a total of P17.5 million in settlement claims from labor dispute cases through the Department of Labor and Employment's (DOLE) Single Entry Approach (SEnA) program in the first semester of this year.


In a statement, DOLE-Bicol Regional Director Ma. Zenaida A. Angara-Campita lauded the cooperation of both parties in the cases and the immediate settlement and payment of monetary claims.


"The SEnA program gives workers access to a speedy, impartial, and inexpensive settlement procedure for all issues or complaints arising from employer-employee relations," she said.


Campita noted that DOLE’s banner program ensures all complaints first go through a 30-day mandatory conciliation and mediation period to exhaust possible means toward a fair settlement before they are referred for arbitration.


She urged workers to file their complaints through e-SEnA -- a free online service that facilitates requests for the conduct of conciliation-mediation so they would not have to go to the DOLE office amid the prevailing pandemic.


Recently, six workers in a funeral parlor in Camarines Norte were able to receive a total of P178,000 in separation benefits after having served the company for more than two decades.


Johana Vi Gasga, DOLE-Bicol spokesperson, said based on the summary of computation submitted by the company, which was later accepted and acknowledged as a reasonable amount, the beneficiaries who received separation benefits were: Noel Salabante, P66,000; Reygie Reyes, P40,000; Richard Ubana, P15,000; Mark Angelo Calzada, P9,000; Romeo Reyes, P30,000; and Mikhail Kit Furuc, P18,000.


"They have worked as embalmer, driver, helper and casket makers at a local funeral parlor in Camarines Norte," she said, noting that the owner has died and the company is now under new management.


Salabante, 55 years old, who worked for the funeral parlor for 22 years, said he was sad to leave the company and was thankful to his former employer for helping him sustain the needs of his family over the years.


He could not hold back his tears as he received the monetary benefit and thanked the DOLE for its speedy delivery of service.


“Maraming salamat po sa inyo sa DOLE dahil kayo po ang tumulong sa amin para makuha po ang amng mga benepisyo sa mahabang panahon na kami po ay nagtrabaho. Malaking tulong po ang natanggap ko pong halaga bilang panimulang capital sa itatayo naming munting tindahan. Pagsisikapan po naming mapalago ito at maitaguyod ang aming pangangailangan upang maitaguyod ang aking pamilya ngayong wala na akong hanapbuhay”, Salabante said.


The new management of the company, however, expressed intention to hire Salabante.


Gasga said the settlement made at the initial conference was the result of the concerted efforts of the DOLE-Camarines Norte Provincial Field Office and the willingness of both parties to arrive at an agreement. (PNA)