By JOSEPH GREGORIO
BAGUIO CITY (Updated June 4, 3:39 pm) — An onsite inspection of the Department of Labor and Employment Cordillera (DOLE-CAR) discovered numerous violations of Philippine labor laws committed by China CAMC Engineering Co., Ltd. (CAMCE), the contractor of the P4.3 billion, China-funded Chico River Pump Irrigation Project.
This was confirmed by DOLE-CAR Regional Director Exequiel Guzman, who stated that the Chinese workers employed by CAMCE have no alien working permits. The company also failed to acquire the required special Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board (PICAB) license prior to project start.
According to the regional director, the contractor also admitted that its lack of a construction safety plan, a clear violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Standards (OSHS) law.
Guzman said that they will be having a hearing next week and will summon the contractorregarding the labor violations. If the Chinese workers fail to comply for the alien working permits, DOLE will send a recommendation to the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID) to send them home.
He also announced that a work stoppage order will be issued if the contractor fails to comply with the DOLE requirements. For now, the labor office will impose a P20,000 to Chinese workers who have no alien working permit. The company will also pay P20,000 for each of its Chinese workers for failing to secure prior requirements.
During the joint meeting of the Regional Development Council (RDC) Committees on Indigenous Peoples Concerns and the Infrastructure Development last May 7, members of the council raised workers safety and labor law issues on the project. The National Irrigation Authority (NIA) representatives from the regional and the project management offices[A1] , who were at the meeting, assured the body that all issues related to labor are being addressed.
According to NIA, there are 66 Chinese workers that are “highly skilled engineers and workers” necessary for the tunneling and construction of the pump house. # nordis.net /Photo from Cordillera Peoples Alliance