13th month pay deferment unjust – Bishop Bagaforo

The proposal to postpone the released 13th month pay of workers is unfair, according to Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, national director of Caritas Philippines.

The bishop stressed that this benefit is enshrined in the Philippine Constitution.

According to the bishop, it is undeniable that the pandemic crisis has greatly affected Filipino workers, some of whom are still unable to work.

“Withholding of the 13th month pay is adding insults to injury; It is a great injustice and inhuman to not give the 13th month pay at this time when many ordinary workers are affected, financially, by this pandemic,” Bishop Bagaforo added.

Caritas Philippines, on the other hand, assured the support of the staff to call for a protest to postpone the distribution of the 13th month pay.

Bishop Bagaforo insisted, “Now is when our people need some extra funds because of the pandemic; sa mga small time employees, ang 13th month spells a big difference for a meaningful celebration of christmas and for some it is pantawid buhay na! IBIGAY ANG 13TH MO.!”

According to a study by the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), it is estimated that two million workers may not receive their 13th month pay this year due to some companies’ losses.

13th month pay deferment unjust – Bishop Bagaforo

Meanwhile, the Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III is still pushing for deferment, insisting that companies in “distress” may be exempted from releasing the financial benefit under the law.

“The law is very clear. We have to pay our workers on or before 24 December their 13th month pay. The only exception as provided under IRR of the late secretary… is when the company is in distress,” Bello said.

The  chief said he would also push for bankrupt companies to be allowed to forego giving 13th month pay.
Bello said the 13th month pay deferment is still better than exempting companies in distress in providing it.
“‘Pero mayroon another option’ kako ko sa kaniya. ‘The other option is instead of exemption, puwedeng deferment.’ And I was surprised with the reaction of Secretary Mon Lopez. Sabi niya, ‘okay, puwede rin. Instead of exemption, puwede rin na deferment na lang’,” he added.