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Department Order No. 107-10, series of 2010 (“DO 107-10”) of the Philippines’ Department of Labor and Employment (“DOLE”), which became effective on October 24, 2010, now prescribes a 30-day mandatory conciliation-mediation service for all labor cases.

DO 107-10 was issued to: [a] provide a speedy, impartial, inexpensive and accessible settlement service for unresolved issues/complaints arising from employer-employee relations; [b] encourage the use of conciliation-mediation in the settlement of all labor cases; and [c] strengthen cooperation and coordination between and among DOLE agencies involved in dispute settlement. Among the significant provisions of DO 107-10 are the following:

First, all issues arising from labor and employment shall be subject to the 30-day mandatory conciliation-mediation except: [a] conciliation-mediation services on notices of strikes or lock-outs, or on preventive mediation cases; and [b] issues arising from the interpretation or implementation of a collective bargaining agreement and those arising from the interpretation or enforcement of company personnel policies.

Second, any settlement agreement reached by the parties shall be final and binding. The DOLE officer concerned shall monitor the voluntary and faithful compliance of the settlement agreement entered into by the parties by causing them to make a report of compliance or non-compliance within two (2) weeks from the date of agreement or agreed period of compliance.

Third, unless the parties agree otherwise, the conciliation-mediation services shall be carried out and terminated within the prescribed 30-day period. The parties are required to appear at all times. Lawyers may be allowed to join the conference only to render advice to parties.

Fourth, if the parties fail to reach an agreement within the 30-day period, the DOLE officer concerned shall issue a document referring the unresolved issue(s) to the appropriate DOLE office or agency that has jurisdiction over the dispute; or if both parties agree, they may refer the unresolved issue(s) to voluntary arbitration.

Finally, information and statements given in confidence at the conciliation-mediation proceedings shall be treated as privileged communication and shall not be used as evidence in any arbitration proceedings, except the stipulation of facts voluntary entered into by the parties.

The issuance of DO 107-10, will hopefully give effect to the provisions of: [a] the 1987 Philippine Constitution, which mandates the State to promote the preferential use of voluntary modes of settling labor disputes, including conciliation; and [b] the Labor Code of the Philippines which provides that it is the policy of the State to promote and emphasize the primacy of voluntary arbitration, mediation and conciliation as modes of settling labor disputes.

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