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Philippines launches platform for DOLE personnel

For the safety of the transacting public as well as the personnel of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Region 7 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, concerns and complaints at work can now be dealt with using an online platform.

The Single-Entry Approach or e-SEnA mechanism will give an aggrieved party an option to file a request for assistance (RFA) online instead of personally going to the DOLE-7 Office. SEnA is an administrative approach to provide a speedy, impartial, inexpensive, and accessible settlement procedure of all labor issues or conflicts to prevent them from ripening into full-blown disputes or actual labor cases, according to a press release.

“We are encouraging clients to make use of the digital platform in filing their RFAs. If the parties involved have the facilities, then they will have the choice of having the conferences done online also. In that way, face-to-face transactions are limited thereby reducing the risk of exposure to the deadly virus not only for the clients but also for our staff,” the DOLE-7 Regional Director, Salome Siaton, explained.

The e-SEnA RFA form can be accessed on the official portal or at the DOLE-7’s website. Under the mechanism, requesting parties can accomplish the form online. “We have designated a focal person who will monitor all RFAs received through the different digital platforms and forward the same to the Field Office or Division for assignment to a Single Entry Approach Desk Officer or SEADO,” the Regional Director added.

The accomplished SEnA form may be submitted personally to the DOLE office or through other digital means like a facsimile machine or email. Considering the threats of the pandemic, RFA’s submission is encouraged to be submitted online. Accomplished SEnA forms may also be sent via email to dole_centralvisayas@yahoo.com.

“As much as possible, we want to limit the number of people coming to the office. Physical contact must be minimized especially during these times when we are still wary and anxious of the virus. Through e-SEnA, others who have the facilities, need not come personally to the office to file. And if all parties have the necessary equipment and favorable internet connection, then they can have the conference done virtually either via FB messenger, Zoom, or any other video conferencing means,” Siaton explained.

In case of non-availability of digital platforms or when either or both parties refuse video conferencing or teleconferencing, face-to-face conferences may be allowed. Consistent with the need to safeguard and protect the clients and the SEADO against the virus, certain precautionary measures will be strictly observed in the conduct of face-to-face conferences. The DOLE-7 official urged the public to take advantage of the e-SEnA, saying that filing RFA at DOLE-7 is now made easier for them than it was before.

The country’s local government units (LGUs) have been implementing platforms and initiatives to limit the amount of physical interaction required to deliver public services. One of these initiatives is in keeping with the Ease of Doing Business measure signed into law to ensure faster, more convenient dealings in government.

As OpenGov Asia reported last month, the Cagayan De Oro (CDO) City LGU announced that it is adopting a zero-contact policy. Departments within the local government of CDO shall be required to adopt electronic submission of applications, requests, and payments whenever applicable.

City officials and employees shall communicate with the public through email, the local government’s website, and other electronic means. They are required to limit their interaction with applicants of business permits and other public documents during the preliminary assessment stage. This phase covers the evaluation of all requirements submitted for government requests and applications. The protocol shall be observed for all transactions, except those which necessarily need physical interactions with city officials or employees.

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