Press Release
September 21, 2015

Labor commission strengthened for speedy disposition of cases

A bill proposing amendments to the Labor Code of the Philippines to strengthen the mandate of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) was passed on third and final reading today.

Sen. Juan Edgardo 'Sonny' Angara, acting chairman of the Senate Ccommittee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, said the enactment of Senate Bill No. 2837 into law would "allow the NLRC to reduce the time of the disposition of appealed cases from the present six months to four months."

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon explained that the faster period of handling cases is necessary for the NLRC to effectively perform its mandate of resolving labor and management disputes of both local and overseas workers.

Angara, who introduced SBN 2837, said the measure would amend Article 219 of the Labor Code to increase the number of lawyers assigned to each NLRC commissioner from three to five to assist him in the disposition of cases.

"With the sheer volume of cases being filed at the NLRC, it is constantly faced with the challenge to resolve said cases in the fairest, quickest, least expensive and most effective way possible," Angara said.

Records showed that from 2005 to 2014, the NLRC regional arbitration branches handled 434,819 cases while the NLRC main office handled 158,149 appealed cases. For the first quarter of 2015, the NLRC regional arbitration branches handled a total of 17,264 while the NLRC handled 3,741 cases.

"Labor-management relations is never static, it is dynamic. New working arrangements have emerged.The forthcoming ASEAN integration poses a challenge to traditional employer-employee relationship.With all these changes, the occurrence of labor management disputes is inevitable. We have to keep up with the changes," Angara said in his sponsorship speech.

He said amending Article 221 of the Labor Code would remove the prohibition on assigning labor arbiters to perform the function of commission lawyers or be detailed to the office of any NLRC commissioners.

"There will be an upsurge of labor cases with novel and complex issues, and the NLRC must be strengthened and provided with a great degree of flexibility to respond swiftly and effectively. This bill would not only strengthen the NLRC but would also ensure industrial peace, an imperative of social and economic development," Angara said. (Apple Buenaventura)

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