DOLE-CAR confirms labor law violations in the Chico River Irrigation Project

BAGUIO CITY — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Cordillera confirmed that the Chinese contractor of the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project violated labor laws in the country.

Regional Director Exequiel Guzman said the agency discovered the labor policy breaches during their onsite inspection two weeks ago.

His office found that the Chinese workers employed by China CAMC Engineering Co., Ltd. have no alien working permits. The company also failed to acquire the needed special Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board (PICAB) license.

He said that it is a rule that when a contractor prior to starting his or her project must first secure the said license.

According to the regional director, the contractor also admitted that they have no 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 Chinese company and the contractor regarding 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 is on the way if the contractor fails to resolve the problems. For now, the labor office will impose a P20,000 penalty fo every Chinese workers who have no alien working permit. In addition, 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 Committees on Indigenous Peoples Concerns and the Infrastructure Development last May 7, members raised workers safety and labor law issues on the project.

The National Irrigation Authority representatives in 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.