Various labor groups slammed the proposed Philippine National Police clearance as a requirement for workers’ various transactions with the Department of Labor and Employment, saying the measure is a blatant violation of workers’ constitutional right to freedom of association.
The Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines and the Bukluran ng Mangagawang Pilipino said requiring workers police clearance in transactions with the Labor department was an additional government bureaucratic layer and an additional cost and burden to workers.
PNP chief Police General Debold Sinas is proposing to the department to require police clearance in all its transactions to augment its National Police Clearance System.
“From the looks of it, the proposed police clearance in DOLE transactions would further delay the injustice among aggrieved workers and would drive away those seeking redress in DOLE’s conciliation, mediation and dispute resolution and workplace inspection processes and many other services of DOLE and its attached agencies.” ALU National Executive Vice President Gerard Seno said.
“Having to require workers to obtain a police clearance prior to registering a new union, filing for a certification election or other legal processes, the PNP is sending the same message they sent to community pantry organizers: “we are watching you!” All workers who dare to struggle against the abuses of their employers will be monitored and profiled,” BMP said.
Seno said these processes were important in holding together the industrial peace needed to make the economy productive and competitive.
Rather than requiring police clearance in transactions with DOLE, Seno proposed to the PNP to instead consolidate its local police clearance system to its national clearance system by talking with the local government units and the Department of Interior and Local Government.
On the other hand, the BMP said the DOLE should instead simplify all legal processes pertaining to the exercise of workers’ rights at a time when pandemic and recession was wreaking havoc on their well-being and livelihood.