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Gipit ang manggagawa! Ang Probinsyano party-list opposes deferment of 13th-month pay

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MANILA – Party-list Rep. Alfred de los Santos has called out various employer’s associations over the proposed deferment of the annual 13th-month pay in the private sector amid the socio-economic setback brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

De los Santos said he is siding for the non-deferral of the 13th-month pay of Filipino workers as the meeting called by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) between stakeholders and labor groups has resulted in a deadlock.

“Naiintindihan naman po natin ang both sides na mayroon po talagang kinakaharap na hirap ngayon lalo na’t napakalaki ng epekto sa atin ng pandemya. Lahat po tayo ay talagang tinamaan ng pandemya na ito pero dapat ay bigyan pa rin ang workers natin ng 13th month pay lalo na’t marami talagang gipit dahil sa COVID,” said De los Santos.

“Magiging malaking tulong po ito sa kanila na walang-wala ngayon,” he added.

The meeting was called by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, and graced by Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) president Sergio Ortiz-Luiz Jr. and trade union leaders, among others.

“Both sides po talaga ay susubukan nating intindihin at sana po ay makakuha tayo ng compromise soon, para na rin sa ikabubuti ng lahat. Alam po nating madami talagang adjustments pero this is really a time na dapat magtulong tulong tayo at ipakita ang bayanihan nating mga Pilipino,” the representative of Ang Probinsyano Party-list said.

Bello initially proposed two scenarios—the exemption of “distressed” companies in giving the 13th month pay; and the deferral of other benefits

According to the law, the general rule is that the 13th month pay is mandatory. The only exception provided in DOLE’s implementing rules and regulations (IRR) is when the company is in distress.

However, Bello decided to retract his suggestion and stated during a press briefing that the labor department will not postpone, defer, or give any exemption to the payment of the 13th month pay and subsequent to that Labor Advisory No, 28, Series of 2020 was issued stating that the 13th month must be paid on or before December 24, 2020.

“Nagpapasalamat tayo na narinig ni Secretary Bello yung hinaing ng workers natin. Dapat talaga magtulungan tayo at hanapan natin ng paraan na mabibigyan ng benepisyo yung workers at mabibigyan din ng assistance ang MSMEs natin na maaaring mahirapan dahil sa pagbibigay ng ganitong benepisyo,” said De los Santos. (CMC)