DOLE Directs Regional and Field Offices to Ready Quick Response Teams

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A March 26, 2011 press release by the Department of Labor and Employment
Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday instructed all regional and field offices of the DOLE to be ready to activate and deploy their quick response teams (QRTs) to companies in their respective areas that may be affected by the crisis resulting from the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster in Japan in order to mitigate the crisis’ impact, if any, to Filipino workers.
“There is a need to anticipate the effects of the crisis in Japan, and one of the ways is to be ready to activate and deploy DOLE’s QRTs to Philippines-based Japanese companies in distress, including establishments that export to Japan,” she explained.
Although the DOLE has not yet received any notice of closure or temporary shutdown or worker layoffs from any company, Baldoz said DOLE regional offices should be ready, just in case, to assist workers who might be displaced or dislocated.
“I have asked our regional directors to identify these companies and to coordinate with their human resource units to find out the extent of the effects of the crisis if any, and what contingency plans do they have so we can tailor-fit our assistance,” she said.
The QRT is a DOLE strategy to monitor company closures and retrenchments due to the adverse effects of a crisis. It serves as DOLE’s frontline assistance delivery mechanism for workers of affected companies.
Department Order No. 7 series of 2001 established QRTs in all DOLE regional offices.  It is headed by the regional director, with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, National Conciliation and Mediation Board, National Labor Relations Commission, and labor and employers representatives (who may be members of the regional tripartite industrial peace councils) as members.
The QRT delivers a package of assistance that includes DOLE programs, such as employment services (job matching and referrals, employment guidance and counseling, skills re-training and upgrading, and livelihood/entrepreneurship development); assistance to workers in obtaining separation benefits and in making informed choices on re-employment options; and emergency employment and other forms of subsidy to marginalized and less competitive workers and their dependents and out-of-work youth. It also does profiling of workers, onsite registration, and needs assessment.
“The QRT undertakes its activities in coordination with workers’ association, employers groups, nongovernment organizations, and other government agencies,” Baldoz explained.
For a QRT to be activated and deployed, Baldoz said it must receive such signals as a 30-day termination report; report of employers or unions, including TIPCs, as committed in social accords/agreements; DOLE inspection report; request by workers and employers; workers’ complaints, non-payment by companies of mandatory remittances; and calamities and disasters.