Press Release
April 24, 2021

Villanueva: Don't burden workers with PNP clearance to transact with DOLE

Senator Joel Villanueva voiced opposition to the Philippine National Police (PNP) proposal to require workers to first present police clearance when transacting with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), saying it was like a "gate pass."

Villanueva, chair of the Senate labor committee, said the PNP proposal was not only incredulous but ran counter to President Duterte's instruction to government offices to cut red tape.

"What the President has ordered and what the people want is less red tape and not more of it. What the PNP is proposing goes against this," Villanueva said.

Villanueva joined Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra in questioning the proposal of PNP chief Gen. Debold Sinas that only those with police clearance should be served by DOLE.

Sinas made the request in a letter to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello.

Villanueva said requiring workers to get police clearance for DOLE transactions "is another layer of red tape that delays the prompt delivery of service."

"Why should a jobless OFW wanting to get financial help from DOLE be required to detour to a police station?" he said. "To me that is an unnecessary, costly, time-consuming stopover."

"A police permit is not needed to get help from DOLE," he said.

Villanueva said the DOLE's mandate is to be a "help center" for the working man. "It is not an apprehension place for the police where they can set up a dragnet for people who have unfinished business with authorities," he said.

There are other, better ways of apprehending people in trouble with the law, he added. "You go after them and not wait for them to walk into the precinct," Villanueva said.

He said "workers in distress" will be dissuaded from seeking DOLE assistance "if a police permit" is first required.

"It's not because they have records. But because of the hassle, fatigue, time and money they will spend," Villanueva said.

He said "promdi" employees, or those from the provinces who are in Metro Manila temporarily to follow up their papers with OWWA, POEA, ECC, may not be familiar with how to secure a police clearance.

The PNP proposal, Villanueva added, is simply harebrained and just an added burden to workers.

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