DOLE fines 25 Chinese workers

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TABUK CITY, Kalinga  – The Cordillera office of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE-CAR) slapped a fine against the contractor of the ongoing P4.3 billion Chico pump irrigation project and the twenty five Chinese workers for violating Philippine labor standards, particularly the absence of the required alien employment permit for the foreign workers.

DOLE-CAR regional director Exequiel Ronnie Guzman said that the 25 Chinese workers were fined P10,000 each for working in the country without the required permit while the China CAMC Engineering Company Limited, the contractor of the Chico pump irrigation project, was also fined some P250,000 for employing the foreign workers that were not issued permits by the agency.

Further, the DOLE-CAR required the 25 Chinese workers to apply for the issuance of the alien employment permit together with the P9,000 each filing fee for the said permit that is now undergoing the regular processing with concerned labor officials.

“The hiring of foreign workers by contractors is not actually prohibited, provided that, those hiring them comply with the primary requirement of securing their alien employment permit,” Guzman stressed.

The DOLE-CAR official admitted that the work of the Chinese workers have been classified as highly technical as duly certified by the project management office of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) considering that even the tunnelling technology and units of equipment to be used in the project are not yet available in the country.

However, he said that the agency will publish the vacancies to allow local contractors to challenge the same if such technology and units of equipment are available in the country to ascertain that the Chinese workers will not directly compete with the available local labor market.

According to him, the contractor of the Chico pump irrigation project is a State-owned construction company in China having actively participated in multi-billion worth of similar projects along the Agno river and Ilocos Sur over the past two decades.

Guzman disclosed that officials of the Chinese construction firm reportedly apologized to the labor department for their failure to secure the required permits before allowing the Chinese workers considering that the NIA did not appropriately inform them on such requirements which they should have accomplished.

He issued a stern warning to the Chinese contractor not to commit any violation of its contract, particularly the oppression of Filipinos, because the labor department will be constrained to out rightly cancel the issued permits and petition for their deportation once they will be found to have violated existing labor standards.

Under existing policies, the labor department is mandated to issue alien employment permits to foreign workers doing highly technical jobs in the country for a maximum period of 2 years depending on the need of the contractors hiring the services of the foreign workers.

Some of the Chinese workers were advised to apply for the issuance of their permits in Region II considering that their base of work is in Tuao, Cagayan, the major recipient of the irrigation project. By HENT

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