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Clearance obsession

The Department of Labor and Employment has blocked a proposal from the Philippine National Police to add to red tape by requiring employees to secure a national police clearance (NPC) to access “various transactions” with the DOLE.

“While good-intentioned, requiring DOLE clientele to secure NPC to avail of our services will do more harm than good,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III told outgoing PNP chief Debold Sinas in a letter dated May 4.

The NPC is a document issued by the PNP headquarters that clears an individual of any pending crime across its entire database. Before 2018, when the NPC was instituted, such clearances were localized in nature.

Local employers typically do not require a police clearance in the hiring process, instead ask for a clearance from the National Bureau of Investigation, a separate office under the justice department.

Secretary Bello said the Sinas proposal effectively adds another layer of red tape, running contrary to the administration policy of easing requirements for doing business.

Requiring multiple clearances from Filipinos in order to transact business may ultimately weed out the criminals but it does not make sense to add to the inconveniences being endured by majority of the country’s workers who are not involved in any crimes or have not yet been indiscriminately Red-tagged.

The PNP is already present in almost everything Filipinos do, from keeping the peace to supposedly protecting us from the invisible coronavirus. Clearances shouldn’t be necessary for Filipinos to attend to the most basic matters, such as workers transacting with the DOLE.

Our police can make better use of its extensive national database by using the information to go after real criminals and prevent crimes instead of resorting to the petty act of adding another unnecessary layer of red tape for Filipinos.*

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