TABUK CITY, Kalinga: The Cordillera office of the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE-CAR) slapped a fine against the contractor of the ongoing P4.3-billion Chico River Pump Irrigation Project and the 25 Chinese workers for violating Philippine labor standards, particularly the absence of alien employment permit for foreign workers.
DoLE-CAR Regional Director Exequiel Ronnie Guzman said the 25 Chinese workers were fined P10,000 each for working in the country without the required permit while the China CAMC Engineering Co. Ltd., the contractor of the Chico pump irrigation project, was also fined P250,000 for employing the foreign workers without permits.
The DoLE-CAR also required the 25 Chinese workers to apply for an alien employment permit together with the P9,000 filing fee for each permit.
“The hiring of foreign workers by contractors is not actually prohibited, provided that, those hiring them comply with the primary requirement of securing their alien employment permit,” Guzman stressed.
The DoLE-CAR official said the work of the Chinese workers had been classified as highly technical, as duly certified by the project management office of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), considering that even the tunneling technology and units of equipment to be used in the project are not yet available in the country.
But he said the agency should publish the vacancies to allow local contractors to challenge the certification if such technology and units of equipment are available in the country and the Chinese workers would not directly compete with the available local labor market.
According to him, the contractor of the Chico project is a state-owned construction company in China, having actively participated in similar multibillion peso projects along the Agno River and Ilocos Sur over the past two decades.
Guzman said officials of the Chinese construction firm apologized to the Labor department for failing to secure the permits before hiring the Chinese workers, as the NIA allegedly did not inform them of such requirements.
He issued a stern warning against the Chinese contractor not to commit any violation of its contract and labor standards, particularly the oppression of Filipinos, because they would be constrained to cancel the issued permits and petition for their deportation.
Under existing policies, the Labor department is mandated to issue alien employment permits to foreign workers in highly technical jobs for a maximum period of two years depending on the need of the contractors.