The Tripartite Executive Committee (TEC) has voted in favor of the proposed revision of DOLE Department Order No. 186-17 (DO 186-17) or the Revised Rules for the Issuance of Employment Permits to Foreign Nationals on 21 September 2020. In observance of the tripartism policy of the government, the Bureau of Local Employment (BLE) initially presented the revised guidelines on 2 September 2020, where it gathered praise for the Labor Department's initiative in protecting the interest of Filipino workers. The TEC did not move for its passage during the meeting, instead requesting they be allowed time to study the proposal.
In the following weeks, the BLE incorporated the observations and commentary of the TEC into the revised guidelines, gaining the committee’s full support on 21 September 2020.
The revision of DO 186-17 is viewed as another decisive move by the government towards the defense of Filipino workers’ job security, and against the illegal employment of aliens. It follows the inking of Joint Memorandum Circular No. 01, series of 2019 (Rules and Procedures Governing Foreign Nationals Intending to Work in the Philippines) and Joint Guidelines No. 01, series of 2019 (Guidelines on the Issuance of Work and Employment Permits to Foreign Nationals), which together harmonize the regulation of all government agencies having jurisdiction over the employment, stay, and practice of profession of foreign nationals in the country.
In 2019, Alien Employment Permit issuance rose to 192.60% compared to the previous year. The increase cannot be attributed alone to the influx of foreign nationals in the past years but also to the heightened manpower of the Department and its prohibition against illegal foreign workers. Furthermore, the Department has hired 500 foreign national labor inspectors in September 2019 to inspect establishments that employ foreign workers.
The proposed new department order is scheduled to be presented to the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (NTIPC) on 30 September 2020. Once the NTIPC green lights the proposal, it will then be forwarded to the Secretary of Labor and Employment for his consideration and approval.