The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is set to come up with an advisory on the proper computation of 13th month pay for private-sector workers amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
“So we will issue that labor advisory to clarify exactly how much amount a worker will receive, especially now during the pandemic,” Labor Undersecretary Benjo Benavidez said in a Laging Handa briefing on Tuesday.
Benavidez added that since many workers have not reported to work and numerous establishments have either ceased or downgraded operations, the computation of the 13th month pay will be different.
“The understanding of most of our employers is that the 13th month pay is the total monthly salary of the worker but the computation of the 13th month pay is not like that because many workers did not report to work and we implemented suspensions of work. I think it is only proportionate that we have a correct computation,” he added.
Given this situation, Benavidez said it is likely that employers would spend less for the 13th month pay of their workers.
Benavidez reminded that the payment of the benefit is a statutory obligation.
Meanwhile, he said that in 2020, the agency has logged an 85 percent compliance rate of employers or companies in giving 13th month pay.
Under the law, private-sector employees have to receive their 13th month pay on or before December 24. (PNA)
CPP-NPA-NDF in defiant, blatant and serious challenge vs. government
The government negotiating panel on May 27 Saturday afternoon (Manila time) pulled out from the fifth round-of-talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) citing the “blatant and serious challenge” by the communist group to the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte.
In a statement read by Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza in a press conference in Noordwijk Aan Zee, The Netherlands, the government panel cited several other reasons why it withdrew.
One of major setback was the recent public statement of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) ordering the New People’s Army to accelerate and intensify attacks against the government following the declaration of martial law in Mindanao even if this was “principally directed at extremists and terrorists who openly and defiantly challenged the government and put to harm the Filipino people.”
“By such defiant, blatant and serious challenge by the CPP-NPA-NDF directed at the government under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte,” Dureza said referring to the CPP call to its armed unit.
This, despite all these gains in the work for peace and despite the personal show of goodwill and trust by the President, according to Dureza.
Among the other reasons are the upscale of incidents of offensive attacks by the NPA nationwide; the seeming perception of the bigger public that the NPA operations are an open and public defiance of the President who has consistently accommodated them in unprecedented ways; the renewed surfacing of public apprehension questioning the sincerity of the CPP-NPA-NDF in the peace talks; the public admission of some panel members of the CPP-NPA-NDF leaders that they have no control over their forces on the ground.
Dureza also mentioned the sudden and perceptible erosion of public support to the peace talks, with strong messages received from the public to altogether stop peace negotiations and the clamor to pursue localized peace talks.
The panel has left without any recourse but not to proceed in the 5th round-of-talks until such time that “there are clear indications that an enabling environment conducive to achieving a just and sustainable peace,” Dureza stressed.
“We thank the Royal Norwegian Government which has so far steadfastly and fully supported our joint work for peace for so long. I trust it will understand why we at the Philippine Government side have arrived at the decision,” he added.
The 5th round of negotiations would have tackled the socioeconomic reform agenda. Both sides are also expected to tackle the parameters of the bilateral ceasefire agreement. (Lilian C. Mellejor with reports by Priam F. Nepomuceno/PNA)
Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari pledged support to President Rodrigo Duterte’s search for lasting peace in volatile Mindanao, during a historic meeting with the President in Malacanang on Thursday, November 3.
The President recognizes Misuari’s key role in bringing peace in Mindanao, for decades wracked by fighting between government troopers and Moro rebels that has killed thousands and displaced countless numbers of civilians.
Misuari, who launched a secessionist campaign for a Moro homeland in Mindanao in the late 60s, is the poster boy of the Bangsamoro struggle.
“It is with great happiness that I announce to the nation that Chairman Nur Misuari, our brother, has finally decided to accept my invitation for him to talk to us,” the President said in his welcome speech.
President Duterte invited fugitive Misuari for the Palace meeting with assurance of safe passage.
Misuari and several MNLF commanders are facing non-bailable charges of rebellion and violation of Republic Act 9851, the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity, before the Pasig Regional Trial Court (RTC) in connection with the 2013 Zamboanga City siege.
The warrant for Misuari’s arrest has been suspended by the court on request of the President to allow the MNLF leader to meet with him to talk peace in Malacanang.
Upon the MNLF founder’s arrival at the Palace, President Duterte and Misuari met behind closed doors before facing the media.
The MNLF, founded by Misuari in 1969, is the second biggest Moro group that has been fighting the government for autonomy for the Bangsamoro people, the now minority original settlers of the Philippines’ southern island of Mindanao.
The government inked a peace pact two years ago with the other Moro group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a splinter group that broke away from the MNLF.
The Philippine Congress is now deliberating on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), that would create a new juridical entity covering Muslim-dominated parts of Mindanao. The Moro problem is seen as the biggest stumbling block to the development of the agriculture- and mineral-rich island where Moro militants have been fighting the Manila government for than five decades.
“I believe, as I said during the (election) campaign, there is one single man who can provide solutions to the problem of peace and order in our homeland of Mindanao,” said President Duterte in his speech at the simple welcome ceremony for Misuari.
The President won the May 2016 election with a landslide with a vow to end bureaucratic corruption and crime, and finding solutions to the Moro and communist insurgency problem, which hobbled the country’s march to progress and development.
Misuari and the MNLF, which already inked a peace pact with the government during the Cory Aquino presidency, do not acknowledge the government’s peace negotiation with the MILF. Davao City and then Mayor Duterte played key role in the 1996 Final Peace Agreement between the government and the MNLF by hosting several Tripartite Conferences and Ministerial Meetings that led to the signing of the historic pact.
Misuari was the first Governor of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), that was created as an offshoot of the Final Peace Agreement.
Misuari’s meeting with the President is fresh air that could invigorate efforts to find lasting peace in Mindanao.
“Allow me to reiterate my sense of gratitude to the President and my promise that should he need our cooperation in his campaign for peace, you can count on us, Mr. President,” Misuari said in his speech after he was warmly welcomed by President Duterte, his old friend.
Misuari emerged from his hide-out in Jolo, Sulu for the historic Malacanang meeting with the President after a court suspended for six months execution of an arrest warrant against him. He was fetched by Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza who had a copy of the decision of a Pasig City court to suspend the arrest warrant against Misuari in connection with the 2013 siege.
In his speech, an elated Misuari thanked President Duterte for his temporary liberty, and described the President as the “man who I respect and trust.”
Help me create a “country that is really just and that is good and that would be for the next generations to come, ” the President asked Misuari.
“I assure you, we will come up with the modality and then of course, how to place us in our proper homeland, our Mindanao, and that we will talk about the Bangsamoro Authority,” the President told Misuari. The President reiterated to Misuari his election campaign commitment to bring peace and development to Mindanao, his advocacy for a shift to a federal form of government, and his promise to step down from the presidency after a federal government is established.
Duterte admitted that injustice has been done against the Bangsamoro people, but hoped to remedy this by working together with Misuari and the Bangsamoro.