PLDT, Inc. (PLDT) questioned a recent order by the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) regarding the employment status of its workers as “irregular” and “procedurally inappropriate,” because it considers previous orders issued by the department to have been final.
PLDT said in a statement Thursday that DoLE’s Clarificatory Order was also “based on selective and/or biased information, and vague.”
Earlier this year the government compiled a list of companies with employees who might be eligible for regular status, as part of a broader campaign to deter illegal employment practices.
Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III issued the Clarificatory Order on July 11, which PLDT acknowledged receipt on July 18.
PLDT said the Labor secretary’s previous orders issued on Jan. 10 and April 24 are “final, cannot be modified and subject to the proceedings before the Court of Appeals.”
“If the intent of the Clarificatory Order is to expand, modify or alter the regularization orders, then to that extent it contravenes jurisprudence and established procedure,” PLDT said in a manifestation.
The telco added that the July 11 order was issued “without giving PLDT a chance to be properly heard, as required by due process of law,” noting that the Labor secretary issued the order after meeting with representatives from the Manggagawa sa Komunikasyon sa Pilipinas (MKP).
“As it stated in an earlier Manifestation to the Office of the Labor Secretary on 16 July 2018, PLDT did not receive a notice calling it to such a meeting,” PLDT added.
“Regretfully, because the Clarificatory Order was issued immediately after this meeting with the MKP, it cannot escape the impression that the Order is based entirely on a factual position advocated by the MKP which is… inaccurate and misleading… these circumstances also increase PLDT’s concern that it will not receive a fair hearing on this matter before this Honorable Office,” the telephone company said.
Regarding reports and protests concerning workers being laid off by the company, PLDT said that “it did not terminate the contracts with its service providers and thus cause the displacement of the workers assigned to PLDT.”
“What happened was the DoLE issued a Cease and Desist Order directing 38 service contractors to stop providing various services to PLDT. That same order also directed the start of proceedings to cancel their registration as service contractors, thus placing at risk the jobs not only of the workers assigned to PLDT but also of those workers posted with other customers of these service contract firms,” PLDT said.
PLDT also said that Mr. Bello’s July 11 order was issued due to PLDT’s noncompliance with DoLE’s regularization orders.
Mr. Bello said in a news conference on July 11 “(DoLE’s) decision is that all the 7,000+” workers whose employment status was evaluated by the department “are already employees of PLDT.”
“If this is the conclusion of the Clarificatory Order or this Honorable Office, then with due respect it is wrong. PLDT has not taken any act to ‘frustrate or tend to frustrate’ this Honorable Office’s regularization orders,” PLDT said.
PLDT also clarified that its Intake Process is “the logical, reasonable and necessary step in response to those regularization orders.” This process is to ensure that contractual workers of PLDT are part of the DoLE’s enumerated list of workers to be regularized. The process also requires those in the regularization list to provide important employment information and take a medical exam.
“Allegations against the Intake Process come from parties who have not participated in it or have a vested interest adverse to PLDT and therefore cannot serve as a reliable basis to conclude that the Intake Process should be stopped by DoLE,” PLDT’s press release said, adding that even the members of MKP have told other PLDT workers to not go through the process.
Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Gillian M. Cortez