On December 1, 2021, the Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC) spearheaded a webinar, through Cisco Webex, on the Safe Spaces Act for women workers in the informal economy, as an observance of the 18-day campaign to end Violence Against Women.
The virtual orientation, attended by representatives from the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) Bureaus, Services, Regional Offices, and Attached Agencies, aimed to discuss the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 11313 or the Safe Spaces Act specifically on the provision of appropriate mechanisms and interventions.
These interventions include redress mechanisms for kasambahay, informal workers, and those employed in establishments with 10 or fewer employees.
In his opening remarks, Undersecretary Benjo Santos M. Benavidez, gave an overview of the orientation, and the need to be equipped with the latest issuances pertaining to the Safe Spaces Act.
The Department Order No. 230-21 or the Guidelines on Support for Workers in the Informal Economy under the Safe Spaces Act, and an Administrative Order on the Guidelines on the Collection, Reporting, and Management of Data on Gender-Based Sexual Harassment (GBSH) Cases and Complaints Filed with the DOLE and its Attached Agencies, were issued by the DOLE Secretary last 22 November 2021.
“With these new issuances, there is a need to orient the regional implementers and employees from DOLE Offices, Services, Bureaus, and Attached Agencies in order to raise the level of your awareness as well as to gather your support in cascading the said guidelines to our co-workers within the Department, and of course, to our concerned clients,” Benavidez said.
To formally start the discussion, Atty. Allen M. Gasulas, Assistant City Prosecutor at the Office of the City Prosecutor in Tandag City, explained the salient features of the Republic Act. No. 11313.
BWSC Director, Atty. Ma. Karina Perida-Trayvilla then talked about gender-based sexual harassment in the workplace in the private sector.
She said that any unwelcome and pervasive sexual advances or favors constitute a crime of GBSH in the workplace.
Department Order No. 230-21 and Administrative Order No. 265-21 were explained by Mr. Nicanor Bon from the Bureau of Working Conditions, and Ms. Myra Flor Ampong from the Bureau of Labor Relations, respectively.
Mr. Demark Descatiar, Information System Analyst II from the Planning Service presented the Safe Spaces System.
He said, “The Safe Spaces System will serve as the online platform for the collection, reporting, and management of data on GBSH cases or complaints.”
The system process flow starts with the encoding of the details of complaints that the designated GAD Focal received using the offices’ respective accounts in the DOLE Safe Spaces System.
The designated GAD Focal will then refer or endorse the complaint to the appropriate division/unit or other external offices/agency.
The complaints will also be regularly monitored for updates on the action taken until they are resolved.
Through this orientation, representatives of various DOLE offices were provided with the necessary knowledge and information in carrying out their tasks of providing safe spaces for workers, especially women workers.