• DOLE extends labor attaches’ tour of duty

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    THE Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has extended the tour of duty of labor attaches from three years to five years to make full use of their experience for the benefit of millions of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in various parts of the world.

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    At the same time, Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd on Wednesday disclosed that 15 new labor attaches or labor welfare officers would be deployed in countries where there are no Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) yet and in areas where there are high concentrations of OFWs.

    According to Bello, the hiring and deployment of labor attaches or POLO officials are very expensive because the position requires them to live for years, incuding their famiies, in their assigned overseas posts.

    He said labor attaches are like ambassadors or consuls and are paid in dollars, with free housing accommodation and assigned a local driver with a salary of at least $1,500 a month, among other perks.

    “The term of a labor attache is three years. So I came up with an order making it five years because a labor attache needs at least two years to get well versed in the environment. If he is recalled after three years, you can’t make full use of his experience, so I made it five years, all POLO officers,” Bello added.

    At present, there are around 50 POLO officers posted in various countries where there are Filipino migrant workers.

    The 15 newly-hired POLO officers will be posted in Washington D.C. in the United States, Toronto, Canada; Milan, Italy; and Madrid, Spain, among other countries.

    Administrative Order 509, signed by Bello on Monday, amended Section 77 of AO 168, series of 2013, or the manual of operations, policies and guidelines for the POLO.

    The amendment said, “The tour of duty of regular Labor Attaches shall be or a period five years, subject to performance evaluation, commencing on the date of his/her arrival at the post.”

    It added, “After their tour of duty, Labor Attaches shall serve in the Home Office for two years except when their early deployment is deemed necessary in the exigency of the service. The tour of duty of Welfare Officers shall be for five years, subject to performance evaluation, after which, they shall return to their respective units.”

    The order was effective immediately.

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