Press Release
April 23, 2021

De Lima opposes PNP proposal to make police clearance for labor-related transactions mandatory, urges DOLE to protect workers

Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima is opposed to the Philippine National Police's (PNP) proposal to require a national police clearance (NPC) for labor-related transactions which she said not only violate the rights of local workers but also erode the country's democracy.

De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, said it is clear that the real intent in proposing that the PNP clearance be made mandatory for various DOLE transactions is to allow the police force to harvest data from employees and labor unions.

De Lima likewise urged DOLE to "not be complicit" to PNP's effort to violate the rights of applicants, employees and labor unions by approving such request, saying it needs to fulfill its mandate of protecting the workers.

"Ang pagrequire ng PNP clearance para sa labor-related transactions ay violation ng karapatan ng tao sa privacy ng kanilang personal information at ng kalayaan nila na sumali sa mga labor unions at organizations," she said in her Dispatch from Crame 1060.

"Wala pa mang nagagawang krimen, gusto nang kunin ng PNP ang mga pribado at personal na impormasyon ng mga job applicants at mga labor union officers na siyang hinihingi pag mag-aaply ng police clearance," she added.

In a letter acquired by Rappler, PNP Chief General Debold Sinas asked the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Sec. Silvestre Bello III to require national police clearances for "various transactions," which would supposedly help DOLE gain "broader information" on an individual.

Sinas claimed that as of Jan. 19, the PNP were already able to arrest a total of 55 individuals who applied for NPC after they found out that the said applicants had outstanding warrants of arrest.

De Lima said that the PNP cannot demand the data from the DOLE without cause or warrant because it would be a violation of our data privacy laws so they are indirectly doing so by asking DOLE to require job applicants, employees and labor union officers to give their information to the PNP for a "clearance" that she finds "ultimately useless."

"We all witnessed what PNP did and is still doing to labor union officers. Some of them are being painted as communists without any proof and then proceeds to summarily execute them claiming that they fought back or 'nanlaban', she said.

"Does DOLE want to take part in this bloodbath? DOLE should protect our workers. They should also protect the labor union leaders who are our partners in protecting employee welfare. This is DOLE's mandate," she added.

The lady Senator from Bicol further lamented how the proposal for a police clearance adds a new burden to Filipino workers, many of whom are currently out looking for work because of the recession brought about by the government's failed COVID-19 response.

"Hindi pa ba sapat ang NBI clearance para sa mga taong may pending na kaso o kaya may outstanding warrant? Bakit kailangan pa ng PNP clearance? Dagdag pasakit, pahirap, at bayarin pa yan sa milyon-milyong Filipino na ngayon ay naghahanap ng trabaho. No rhyme. No reason. Except possibly some sinister motivation," she said.

"This suggested PNP clearance for DOLE transactions will not help our people or our economy. What it does is violate the rights of our workers and erode our democracy. The DOLE should not be complicit," she added.

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