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LABOR RIGHTS OF SECURITY GUARDS

Private security guards are a common presence in private and government offices, schools, commercial establishments and residential areas. An inspiration to students, his fellow “sekyus” (as they are fondly called) and the community is Roy Lawagan who worked with the Commission on Audit (COA) office in La Trinidad, Benguet province as a security guard in 2016. Today Roy is called Attorney Roy Lawagan.

Security Guards follow a dress code and those posted at the entrance and exit doors wear the standard blue and white uniform, while those assigned inside the premises are in “barong tagalog” or civilian clothes to conceal their identity.

Based on the records of the licensing office of the Philippine National Police (PNP), there are approximately 500,000 licensed private security guards in the country and this does not include those hired directly as personal bodyguards. They outnumber the 130,000-strong Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police’s 160,000, more or less, police personnel. The security guards’ credit, the PNP considers them “force multipliers” in areas where it has limited personnel or unable to send mobile cars for regular patrols.

Although security guards put their lives and limbs on the line in the performance of their duties, they are, sadly, often underpaid and deprived of the benefits that private employees are entitled to under the law and to promote the welfare of these unsung guardians of persons and properties, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) issued Department Order No. 150-16, Series of 2016, which spelled out the rules on employment and working conditions of security guards and other security personnel in the private security industry. The rules state that security guards and other private security personnel assigned to a person or company (defined as “principal”) are considered employees of the security service contractor or private security agency (PSA).

When a service agreement is entered into between a PSA and a principal, the DOLE Regional Office concerned can order the parties to submit to it a copy of the agreement. The agreement should contain, among others, provisions relating to the nature of the work to be done, its terms and conditions, and the basic equipment (at least one handgun) to be provided to the guards. 

Recently, DOLE Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III issued Labor Advisory 15-19 or the Clarificatory Guidelines on DOLE Department No. 150, Series Of 2016 or the “Revised Guidelines Governing the Employment and Working Conditions of Security Guards and Other Private Security Personnel in the Private Security Industry.”

To ensure compliance with mandatory employment benefits for security guards and other private security personnel in the private security industry as provided for under DOLE Department Order No. 150, s. 2016, Labor Advisory 15-19 in the conduct of routine or complaint inspection of establishment that engages the services of private security agencies (PSAs) or security service contractors (SSCs), the labor inspectors will review documents that may be required under the general labor standards, labor laws, social legislations, and its implementing rules and regulations, particularly DOLE Department Order No. 174, s. 2017 and DOLE Department Order No. 150, s. 2016 such as, but not limited to as follows: The administrative fee shall not be less than twenty percent (20%) of the total contract cost. Such stipulation shall be contained in the Service Agreement between the principal and the SSC/PSA. Any stipulation to the contrary shall be deemed a violation of Section 4(b) of DOLE Department Order No. 150, s. 2016;

Pursuant to Section 4 (d) and Section 9.1 (b) of DOLE Department Order No. 150, s. 2016, the automatic crediting provision shall be required to be included in the Service Agreement. The issuance of a new wage order shall automatically amend the Service Agreement, and the prescribed increases shall be primarily borne by the principal. Accordingly, the contract cost shall be adjusted in conformity with the mandated wage increase.

Section 4(g) of DOLE Department Order No. 150, s. 2016 only requires an undertaking that the SSC/PSA will directly remit monthly the employers' share and employees' contributions to Social Security System (SSS), Employees' Compensation Commission (ECC), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), and Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-lBlG) be included in the Service Agreement. There is no requirement under the law that the SSC/PSA shall submit proof of actual remittance to the principal as a precondition for payment of the contract cost. Notwithstanding, the principal is not precluded from verifying the compliance of the SSC/PSA with the said undertaking.

While the schedule of payment of contract cost by principal to SSC/PSA is generally subject to the agreement between the principal and the SSC/PSA, the parties, in accordance with the Labor Code of the Philippines, as amended, and other relevant laws and regulations, shall be guided by the duty to guarantee timely payment of wages and other wage-related benefits and to ensure prompt remittance of mandatory contributions to SSS, ECC, PhilHealth, and Pag-lBlG.

Pursuant to Section 11 of DOLE Department Order No. 150, s. 2016 and Section 3 of the Rules of Procedure of the Single Entry Approach (SEnA),  questions of delayed payment or underpayment of wages shall be subject to the 30-day mandatory conciliation mediation. Considering the joint and several liability of the principal and the SSC/PSA in case of failure to pay the wages, other wage-related benefits, and the prescribed increases pursuant to Sections 9.1 (a) and (b) of DOLE Department Order No. 150, s. 2016, the principal where the security guards and other private security personnel are deployed shall be considered a responding party for purposes of conciliation-mediation procedure under SEnA.

For more information of the DOLE Department Order No. 150, s. 2016, DOLE Department Order No. 174, s. 2017 and Labor Advisory 15-19, you can visit www.dole.gov.ph and www.blr.dole.gov.ph

END/Patrick Rillorta

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2020-02-03
Dir.Exequiel Guzman
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