Tuesday, December 16, 2014

DOLE reminds employers:
“Pay workers’ 13th month” 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, December 13, (PIA) –Employers are legally bound to pay for their workers’ 13th month pay on or before December 24, or it becomes due and demandable, reminds the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). 

By 13th month, the labor department means one-twelfth (1/12) of the basic salary of an employee within a calendar year.

DOLE defines the basic salary as all remunerations or earnings paid by an employer to an employee for services rendered.

“All employers are required to pay their rank-and-file employees the 13th month pay, regardless of the nature of their employment, and irrespective of the methods by which their wages are paid, provided they worked for at least one month during a calendar year,” DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said.

13th month pay however may not include cost-of-living allowances (COLA), profit-sharing payments, cash equivalents of unused vacation and sick leave credits, overtime pay, premium pay, night shift differential pay, holiday pay, and all allowances and monetary benefits which are not considered, or integrated as part of the regular or basic salary of the employee, according to DOLE.

Baldoz said employers who fail to pay the 13th month benefit are liable to money claim cases that aggrieved employees can file with any DOLE regional office.

And as the due date is fast approaching, DOLE urges all the country’s private sector employers to pay their workers the 13th month benefit, pursuant to the Labor Code of the Philippines and its implementing rules and regulations.

The 13th month pay is a general labor standard that DOLE does not compromise as to its payment.

“Good labor-management relations, increased workers’ and enterprises’ productivity and competitiveness result from workers being paid what is due them,” she added.

“The 13th month pay must be paid on or before December 24 of every year. This year, the 24th of December falls on a Wednesday, so employers may pay their workers the 13th month benefit on this day, but I urge them to pay earlier to avoid the rush,” said Baldoz.

She added, however, that employers may pay their employees one-half of their 13th month benefit before the opening of the regular school year—May or June—and the remaining one-half on or before December 24. 

Under the Labor Code, every covered employer is required to make a report of compliance with the law to the nearest DOLE regional office not later than January 15 of each year.

The Secretary signed and issued a labor advisory to this effect, explaining that private sector employers are duty-bound under the law to report their compliance with this worker benefit. (with rappler)

2015 brings in 8 
long weekends

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, December 13, (PIA) – Tourism stakeholders are now looking at the possibility of making big bucks as 2015 rolls in with 8 long weekends as Malacañang released the list of holidays for next year. 

This as Bohol and Tagbilaran City steps into the tourism campaign promotions in Visit Bohol and Visit Tagbilaran respectively. 

Both are also parts of a larger tourism beckoning inset in the Visit Philippines 2015, where promotions include super low budget deals for air, water and land transport fares, rooms and accommodations, tourism products and add-ons when opts for purchases offered on the promotional dates. 

Imbedded in Proclamation No. 831, dated July 17, but issued to the public only on Wednesday, July 23, are 8 long weekends; perfect times for family and friends bonding in some new tourism destination or maybe simply getting into a dreamt vacation get-away site.

The long weekends consists of three four-day weekends and five three day long weekends, based on Proclamation 831. 

Four-day weekends next year include January 1-4 (Thursday-New Year’s Day, Friday- additional special non-working holiday, Saturday and Sunday), April 2-5 being Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Black Saturday and Easter Sunday) and December 24-27 (Thursday-eve of Christmas as additional special non-working holiday, Friday Christmas Holiday, Saturday and Sunday)

On the other hand, the year shows five, three-day weekends that happen on May 1-3, (Friday-Labor Day, Saturday, Sunday); June 12-14, (Friday Independence Day, Saturday, Sunday); August 21-23, (Friday-Ninoy Aquino Day, Saturday and Sunday); August 29-31 (Saturday, Sunday and Monday National Heroes Day) and November 28-30 (Saturday, Sunday and Monday Bonifacio Day).

In fact, if the palace declares January 2, 2016 as an additional holiday, then the country would have a 5 day weekend from December 30 to January 3, 2016. Such days are Wednesday-Rizal Day, Thursday-Last day of the year, Friday-New Year and a Saturday, Sunday). (RAC/PIABohol)

Bohol rabies vaccination 
In 2014 fails its targets

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, December 10, (PIA) –For the first time after years, Bohol Rabies Prevention and Elimination Program (BRPEP) authorities are concerned: Bohol had two suspected human rabies deaths and the provincial vaccination program fails to reach the minimum standards.

The two deaths may be negligible for Bohol which used to have over ten deaths in a year, but after having implemented a no-nonsense program in the past decade, earning major international and national citations and trailblazing in the country’s rabies programs, authorities have due reason to be alarmed.

This year, data from the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian revealed that this year, Bohol rabies implementers only vaccinated 36, 171 dogs of the total 92,778. 

This comprises only 39%, where the international authorities demand a vaccination average of at least 70%, to get a high probability of no rabies in the dog population for some time, explains Dr. Stella Marie Lapiz, BRPEP action officer. 

Of Bohol’s 47 towns and Tagbilaran City in fact, only 16 of 48 achieved the target of over 70%, the rest coming in miserably low that one town did not report any accomplishment. 

If we really are serious about our public health issues, then we have to get our acts together, a member of the BRPEC said. 

While the program picked on a its initial victories with a team from the provincial program personally making sure the program will have its bite, Bohol concurrently saw no human and animal cases in the succeeding years, a report from the OPV showed. 

But with a dire need of sustainability, implementers decided to bring the fight to the communities in the spirit of empowerment and local government independence. 

The establishment of Municipal Rabies Prevention and Elimination Councils (MRPEC) trickled further to the Barangay Rabies Prevention and Elimination Councils where the monitors are barangay officials comprising the Bantay Rabies sa Barangays. 

BRB members implement the mandatory dog registration and corresponding vaccination, spaying and neutering operations with local and provincial authorities.

An innovative paralegal system further strengthens the program, where the provincial ordinance No 2 series of 1998 or the strengthened Bohol Rabies Ordinance spelled out provisions and penalties for non-compliance. 

The ordinance demands responsible dog ownership, and lists on top of the owner’s responsibilities making sure the dog is treated with respect and utmost care as well as keeping effective control of the dogs by leashing, mandatory registration and vaccination, being legally bound to shoulder the costs of the trouble the dog may be causing. 

On the side of program implementers, they would be responsible in keeping dogs off the streets and public areas with the ultimate goal of lessening dog bite cases, and the spread of rabies, resulting only to dog elimination after dog owners show no concern in claiming their stray dogs. 

In 2014 however, after recovering from a strong earthquake in 2013, local program implementers could be too engrossed in their rehabilitation that the program slid down from the list of priorities, provincial program members theorized. 

Moreover, with a barangay election recently implemented, it could not be far off that newly elected barangay officials could not be too familiar with the program that these were not implemented right as planned. (RAC/PIABohol)

Super typhoon “Ruby” resets 
Bohol tourism promo events

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, December 12, (PIA) –Super storm Ruby did spare Bohol from the major destruction it packed, but reset two major promotional activities for tourism as local leaders hope to avert disaster it could have brought and bring in the best in its investments. 

When the super-typhoon which was earlier forecasted to ravage through Central Visayas veered a few degrees to the north making a landfall ion Western Visayas, the Provincial Tourism Council took off the pennants it strung for its tourism travel fair set December 8-10 in Glorietta Mall in Manila, to January in 2015.

And Ruby also resets a corollary event set to bring regional bloggers to Anda, December 14-15. 

The Glorietta Mall event is a travel fair with Bohol tourism stakeholders asserting its role on developing the industry and fueling the island’s full rehabilitation from the earthquake in 2013, according to Capitol sources. 

Bohol tourism stakeholders have accordingly acquired about 60 booths where tourist services, tourism providers and travel providers would showcase super-low fares, discounted rates and add-ons for tours purchased on the fair days. 

Selling itself through a variety of venues, Bohol then taps the internet, media run promotional activities including a CNN–USAid assisted Behold Bohol media campaign aired over global cable network giant.

When these entail huge promotional funding, local tourism sector supporters also envisioned a non-traditional promotional blitz, via the new media through online blogging. 

In this, the Philippine Information Agency and Department of Environment and Natural Resources in its Climate Change mitigation activities and the Department of Tourism through the USAid Compete, Bohol Tourism Office Programs and Anda Local Government embark on a two-day blogging marathon for tourism and the environment. 

By gathering regional bloggers from Cebu, Bohol, Negros and Siquijor, the blogging marathon puts bloggers in Anda Bohol, the province’s newly acclaimed summer capital and Bohol’s newest product for a series of tourism activities including environment themed tours, Eco-community volunteer work and Soccer Clinic as its social tourism component, mystical Anda tours, resort visits, tourism briefings and environment branding and tagging activities and tent camping. 

Set for December 14-15, the activity billed as Andale’ ANDA has also to be moved this Saturday-Sunday, December 20-21, to accommodate the Cebu Bloggers who have messed up commitments due to Ruby. 

Bohol bloggers interested to join the event may contact PIA Bohol or Dalareich Polot at Chocoreich Café. (RAC/PIABohol)

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