Boracay employers warned: Don’t terminate employees
President Duterte also mulls declaring island as land reform area
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello has warned establishments in Boracay against terminating their employees during the six-month closure of the resort island starting April 26.
In an advisory on Monday, Bello said the “temporary suspension of business operations should not and must not result in the termination or separation of any employee.”
While saying the closure of Boracay as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte will necessarily compel the temporary suspension of business operations, Bello notified employers they may only “observe the principle of No Work, No Pay, or require the employees to go on forced leave by utilizing their leave credits, if any.”
“Employees are expected to be recalled back to work upon the lifting of the temporary closure of Boracay Island,” Bello stressed.
The labor advisory is for “strict observance and compliance,” he added.
Bello earlier said the labor department will extend assistance to affected workers in the world-famous island, including the provision of emergency employment.
He said some 5,000 informal sector workers and members of the indigenous community in the island will be employed in the clean-up of the area.
He also said that the agency has set aside an initial P60 million for the emergency employment assistance.
Land reform area
As the labor secretary warned owners of business establishments not to terminate employees during the closure, President Duterte is also considering declaring Boracay as a land reform area after the six-month rehabilitation period.
“You want to know now, I’m going to make the announcement. It’s going to be a land reform area for the Filipinos,” Duterte said in a press conference in Davao City before flying to China on Monday afternoon.
The President said he would give the land to the farmers there after the temporary closure.
“Consider Boracay a land reform area. I will give it to the farmers, to the Filipino first,” he said.
Duterte had earlier approved the recommendation of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Department of Tourism (DoT) to close Boracay for six months starting April 26.
“My orders were to clean it up. So ‘pag mag-clean, sarado (So when it’s being clean, it’s closed). There’s one way in, one way out,” he said.
The Chief Executive said Boracay has been declared as an agricultural area and therefore needs to be a land reform area.
“So maybe after that, I’ll give [it to the] the farmers. I-land reform ko na ‘yan, mas mabuti pa (It will be a land reform, that would be better). I’ll tell you now. I-land reform ko lahat ‘yan (I will have all the land there reformed), then I’ll give it to the farmers,” he said, adding that he would provide farming equipment to the locals there.
He said Filipinos would not gain anything by building a casino in Boracay.
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