By Ferdinand Patinio

Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma (File photo)

MANILA – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will be introducing a new inspection strategy that will improve the quality and depth of their inspections of private establishments in the country.

Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma said Thursday the new method will include technical advisory visits (TAV) combined with other interventions as an integral part of the new inspection framework.

“We would like to see DOLE inspectors look more closely at substantive matters such as compliance with rules on working hours and proper payment of benefits,” including a “non-negotiable” stance on occupational safety and health to follow the spirit of the country’s newly passed occupational safety and health law,” he said in a statement.

The DOLE has just concluded a labor inspection summit held last week at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City following the resumption of its labor inspections and a recalibration of its inspection program.

Laguesma also urged the inspectors “to do more” in their duty of making sure that businesses and industries follow labor standards as well as health and safety practices — one of the department’s pillars of ensuring social justice for workers.

He said the summit was organized to “refocus inspection priorities toward industries and sectors based on the risks and hazards to which (workers) are exposed and not only on numerical targets.”

He added that regional offices tend to lean towards micro and small establishments in an effort to meet numerical targets.

“Targeting small businesses “is not bad per se, the department’s updated strategic inspection framework calibrates the logic whether inspection is the most appropriate intervention DOLE can offer to improve the situation of these enterprises and their workers,” the DOLE chief said.

The summit, the first of its kind since 2015, gathered all DOLE regional directors, service office heads, and the department’s 900-strong labor inspectors to formulate more strategic approaches and strengthen the technical and managerial capabilities of its inspection workforce.

Laguesma also lauded the department for its 2022 inspection milestones and for increasing the compliance rate in both labor standards and occupational safety.

Last year, the DOLE has inspected more than 80,000 establishments, achieving an eight percent jump from the previous year benefitting almost 4.5 million workers. (PNA)