You are here

Group lauds DOLE, DOJ for opposing bill imposing bonds on disability claims

Group lauds DOLE, DOJ for opposing bill imposing bonds on disability claims
Faith Argosino -May 20, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — The largest labor federation in the country commends the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) for opposing the section of the Magna Carta for Seafarers bill on execution bond.

In a statement on Monday, the Philippine Trade and General Workers Organization (PTGWO) said it had passed a resolution for this purpose.

The group hails the legal opinion issued by Department of Labor and Employment — to which the Department of Justice adhered — against the imposition of execution bonds in disability claim awards.

“The Magna Carta for Seafarers bill aims to ensure the protection and welfare of Filipino Seafarers by recognizing their rights and instituting mechanisms for enforcement, consistent with the standards of the Maritime Labor Convention of 2006, the Seafarers’ Bill of Rights and the Fourth Pillar of International Maritime Law,” the group said.

“But the contentious issue on the bill is its Section 58, which disallows the immediate execution or payment to the complainant seafarer of any disputed amount determined to be legally due, including damages and attorney’s fees,” it added.

“If this passes into law, it will only be the seafarers who will not have their awards received by them immediately,” it explained.

“This puts them at a disadvantage as compared with all other workers, whether local or OFWs, who have won their cases in the NLRC (National Labor Relations Commission) and Voluntary Arbitrators under the NCMB (National Conciliation and Mediation Board),” it noted.

“The seafarers would have to put up a bond in a sum equivalent to his award to be able to get their hard-earned disability benefit,” PTGWO lamented.

After seeing the predicament, the group said DOJ Undersecretary Raul Vazquez sent a letter to Undersecretary Bernardito Sayo of the Presidential Assistant for The Senate of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office.

In the letter, Vazquez stated the opinion of the DOJ on the Bicameral Conference Committee Report on the Magna Carta of Seafarers.

“With regard to Section 58, we defer to the position of DOLE that it is inconsistent with the protection to labor clause should there be a need to post bond for the execution of awards under items (d) and (e), as this would place an undue burden on the worker who has no means to put up such bond,” the opinion states.

“In case the seafarer cannot afford the execution bond, he will wait for such number of years in order to receive the award,” it pointed out.

Reports said the questioned provision was retained in the bill in the bicameral conference committee.