DOLE

DOLE rejects PNP’s proposed national police clearance requirement

Aika Rey

REJECTION. Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III speaks at a Senate hearing.

Rappler file photo

(UPDATED) Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III tells PNP chief General Debold Sinas that requiring the national police clearance 'will do more harm than good'

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) rejected the proposal of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to require the national police clearance (NPC) for transactions.

“While good-intentioned, requiring DOLE’s clientele to secure NPC to avail of our services will do more harm than good,” said Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III in a letter to PNP chief General Debold Sinas on Tuesday, May 4.

A copy of the letter was sent to reporters on Wednesday, May 5.

According to Bello, 94% or almost all of those consulted were not in favor of the proposed requirement.

“It is a form of red tape to all and an additional financial burden to many,” Bello told Sinas.

The labor chief cited Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business Act and Executive Order No. 129, which aimed to streamline government processes.

“Further, there is no legal basis in requiring DOLE’s clientele to secure NPC. It may even violate pertinent provisions of the 1987 Constitution, Labor Code of the Philippines, as renumbered, and other existing legislation,” Bello said.

“We are with the PNP in building a safer place for the Filipino. We can achieve this without adding burden to the transacting public and the people we serve,” he added.

‘Only acceptable decision’

Earlier, Bello said workers, employers, the National Economic and Development Authority, and the Anti-Red Tape Authority opposed the additional layer of bureaucracy.

Labor groups had also pointed out that the proposed requirement would threaten industrial peace and could violate the constitutional right to organize.

Sentro secretary-general Josua Mata on Wednesday welcomed DOLE’s decision.

“We are glad DOLE rejected the PNP’s proposal. To be honest, that’s the only acceptable decision for us,” Mata told Rappler.

Meanwhile, the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) said the PNP should “wisely reflect and carefully process” proposed measures in the future.

“If the PNP wanted to get the full support of the people, we urge the PNP leadership to regularly subject important and crucial policies to vetting of affected stakeholders such as the business and the labor sector,” ALU-TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said.

“This can be done by establishing a tripartite consultation mechanism within the PNP similar to what the DOLE is doing in their policymaking and decision-making process,” he added.

The National Anti-Poverty Commission’s Formal Labor and Migrant Workers Sector also welcomed the rejection of the PNP proposal.

“Such a requirement is not only time-consuming and financially burdensome for the workers, it certainly has no legal standing to implement such an absurd and illogical policy,” the sector said in a statement on Thursday, May 6.

It added that “apparently, there is an urgent need to remind the PNP leadership time and again” that workers’ rights must be protected. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.