Gripes of hostage taker may indicate security agencies’ poor compliance with labor standards—Senator Villanueva

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Senator Joel Villanueva has called on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to verify the labor practices of security agencies, particularly its compliance to general labor and occupational safety and health standards.   

While castigating the actions of the suspect, Villanueva said the claims of a former security guard of a mall in San Juan City who took hostages on Monday morning should not be shrugged off outright in the wake of the 10-hour standoff.   

“The actions of the suspect are abhorrent. The way he used to call attention to the problem will never be right any way you look at it,” said Villanueva, chair of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resources Development, in a statement. “The victims will carry the trauma for the rest of their lives, not to mention imparting fear among our people who go to malls for leisure.”

“While we lament that the suspect had to resort to taking hostages to call attention against his former employer, it seems his grievance went unaddressed which led to the incident. Grievances of workers especially pertaining to labor practices is within the purview of DOLE’s jurisdiction,” the lawmaker continued. “We ask the department to look into the matter because we cannot afford another similar incident that will affect innocent people.”  

Given their military and police training, including skills to handle firearms and explosives, granting licenses to practice as a security personnel should only be given to individuals with tough mental disposition, the lawmaker pointed out.

Among the general labor standards that labor inspectors check include: payment of correct wages, including overtime pay, night shift differential, holiday pay, and other wage-related benefits; weekly rest day; provision of welfare facilities; assurance of safe working conditions, and rights to self-organization and collective bargaining./Stacy Ang

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