Friday, September 28, 2012


MANILA, September 29, 2012-Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada seeks to institutionalize conciliation and mediation processes as expeditious and inexpensive mode for settlement of labor disputes.
Senate Bill 2918, principally authored by Sen. Estrada, aims to amend the Labor Code to statutorily recognize and put into law the existing policy of the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) on conciliation-mediation services.
Sen. Estrada, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, says that the proposed measure is in consonance with Section 3, Article XIII of the Constitution providing for the preferential use of voluntary modes in settling disputes, including conciliation.
National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB), an attached agency of the DoLE, defines conciliation as “a mild form of intervention by a neutral third party, the Conciliator-Mediator, relying on his persuasive expertise, who takes an active role in assisting parties by trying to keep disputants talking, facilitating other procedural niceties, carrying messages back and forth between the parties, and generally being a good fellow who tries to keep things calm and forward-looking in a tense situation.”
Mediation, on the other hand, is referred to as “a mild intervention by a neutral third party, the Conciliator-Mediator, whereby he starts advising the parties or offering solutions or alternatives to the problems with the end in view of assisting them towards voluntarily reaching their own mutually acceptable settlement of the dispute.”
The DoLE issued Department Order 107-10 last October 2010 and introduced the Single Entry Approach (SEnA). Since its implementation, DoLE says that they were able to receive 50,577 requests for assistance regarding employer-employee disagreements. From this figure, 24,533 were settled with total monetary benefits amounting to P1,214,920,484.07 covering 36,767 workers.
DoLE also stated before the labor committee hearing that the policy has effectively declogged its quasi-judicial arm and appropriate offices, prevented issues from becoming full-blown labor disputes and greatly reduced the litigiousness of labor conflicts, especially of small money claims.
The conciliation-mediation services are carried out and terminated within the prescribed 30-day period. Meanwhile, Single Entry Approach Desk Officers (SEADOs) were able to settle requests for assistance within an average of 19 days.
Termination or suspension of employment issues, money claims, intra- and inter-union issues, unfair labor practice, and OFW cases can be subjected to conciliation-mediation, according to SENA guidelines.
In his sponsorship speech Sen. Estrada cites, “The advantages of employing conciliation-mediation in resolving disputes, backed by the accomplishments under the SEnA Program, only show that conciliation-mediation is indeed a practical, desirable and promising method of alternative dispute resolution.”
“Conciliation-mediation is also used in full-blown disputes such as actual strikes or lockouts and in disputes that have already been assumed or certified for compulsory arbitration, to exhaust all possible remedies and explore solutions mutually acceptable to both parties,” Sen. Estrada further states.
Data from the DOLE show that five assumed cases by the Secretary of Labor in 2011 were settled through conciliation, benefitting some 2,201 workers. Since 2010 and up to the end of 2011, a total of 40 cases with petitions for assumption of jurisdiction were settled through marathon conciliation-mediation rendering unnecessary the issuance of assumption orders, providing relief to 3,993 workers.


MANILA, September 28, 2012-Over a hundred local officials from Region 8 yesterday took their oath as members of the Nacionalista Party, the country's oldest political party.
Nacionalista Party President Senator Manny B. Villar led the oath-taking rites at the Leyte Park Hotel convention center in Tacloban City, Leyte.
In his speech, Villar said that the Nacionalista Party will continue to be a dominant party in the country with 5 senators, 30 congressmen, 10 governors and more than 200 mayors. The exodus of local elected officials to Villar's NP continues a week before the filing of certificates of candidacy for those running in next year's mid-term polls.
Among those in attendance were Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, wife councilor Cristina Romualdez and Eastern Samar Vice-Gov. Christopher Sheen Gonzales. Romualdez and Gonzales were among the early recruits of NP.
Incumbent Guiuan, Eastern Samar  Mayor Analiz Kwan who is eyeing a seat at the House of Representatives and Samar Vice Gov. James Tan were among  those sworn in by Villar as new Nacionalistas.
Villar however stressed that the party is not bent on recruiting new members from other political parties while strengthening its grip on the country's political arena. "We have a rule to follow. We don't just recruit. Our political mantra that is 'bayan muna bago ang sarili' should be strictly adhered by our members".
Villar will end his term next year and fielded his wife, former Congw. Cynthia Villar to join the senatorial bandwagon together w/ NP's other bets Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes.
Villar also stressed that the possible face-off of  the LP/NP/NPC coalition's local candidates will be addressed by the coalition's arbitrary committee. "Pero kung hindi na talaga mapipigilan ang banggaan ng coalition candidates sa local level, we will declare the area as free zones. May the best man wins na lang".

Legarda Urges LGUs to Learn from Previous Disasters and Build Back Better,Cites Saint Bernard Experience

MANILA, September 28, 2012-Senator Loren Legarda today urged local government units to learn from previous disasters and build back better as what the people of Saint Bernard in Southern Leyte did after the deadly landslide that occurred in one of their barangays in 2006.

“It was six years ago when the world saw one of the worst disasters of our time happen in Brgy. Guinsaugon, Saint Bernard. But the people of Saint Bernard pulled together to rise from the debris. Today, the Saint Bernard LGU works in partnership with a host of local and international organizations, for capacity building programs, livelihood and resettlement projects, disaster preparedness, and community-based early warning systems,” she said.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, co-organized the National Conference for Effective Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation Practices, an initiative of the European Union, with the Municipality of Saint Bernard, Southern Leyte, CARE
Nederland, German Development Cooperation, and the Asia-Pacific Institute for Green Development.

Legarda, also the UN Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, added that Saint Bernard has recovered so well from the disaster that their Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council was this year’s 1st place winner of the Gawad Kalasag Award given by the Office of the Civil Defense Region 8.

“The Saint Bernard experience is a clear example of how every disaster can become an opportunity to build back better and restore normalcy in people’s lives with a stronger sense of hope and confidence for the future,” she remarked.

The Senator also reported that the People’s Survival Fund (PSF) bill, which she principally sponsored, was signed into law last August, giving better access to resources for those who combat the effects of climate change, especially in the grassroots.

“Republic Act No. 10174, the amendatory law to the Climate Change Act of 2009, will bring into fruition climate change strategies, plans, and programs within the context of local, community-based realities,” she said.

“The best choice is to make our nation disaster-resilient to free us, once and for all, from the exhausting and costly cycle of rebuilding our communities every single time nature unleashes its wrath. This National Conference is one more step towards a safer, more resilient Philippines,” Legarda concluded.


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