Background screening in Philippines: Challenges and Best Practices

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Background Screening in the Philippines is extensive since the country’s biggest employers consist of outsourcing firms, generation companies, banking institutions, insurance firms, healthcare, and pharmacy companies.

The Philippines is currently subject to Republic Act No. 10173, otherwise known as the “Data Privacy Act of 2012,” effective from September 8, 2012. It applies to individuals and legal entities that process personal information irrespective of where they reside. It also has extraterritorial application, applying to businesses with offices in the Philippines, and when equipment based in the Philippines is used for processing.

However, there are certain rules to consider while performing the background screening in the Philippines:

  • Employers must ensure that all the collected personal information is protected against unauthorized or accidental access and processing. It should not be kept longer than is necessary.
  • Before conducting background checks, employers must notify the candidates of the purpose of processing and collecting personal information.
  • Employers must also inform the candidates if their personal information will be transferred to third parties. It should not be shared without collecting the candidate’s consent.
  • Employers must ensure that the information is secure and allow individuals to access their data.

This article will spotlight the standard practices followed in the Philippines to conduct checks that are widely performed across all sectors. We will also look at some of the best practices organizations can adopt.

Academic Verification

In the Philippines, most education checks are conducted with a physical visit to the respective education institution as there is no centralized repository/online portal to receive the verification via source. The other ways can be email, phone, or online university/college’s website. The verification method (email/phone/physical visit etc.) varies among universities/colleges. For example, suppose some universities have tie-ups with online registries that maintain their database. In that case, it will be done through an online portal.

Employment Verification

There is no centralized database available for employment records currently. As a result, the traditional verification route, i.e., Employment verification, is performed through email, phone, or physical visit (this option would be used in infrequent scenarios) is followed. The employment screening is done by contacting the HR department, a dedicated team for ex-employment verification, supervisor, administration, payroll team, and CEO/owner (if it’s a small organization).

Criminal Records Check

Various sources perform criminal verification in the Philippines, such as through court databases, regional trial court (RTC), municipal trial court/metropolitan trial courts (MTC), or the office of the prosecutor. The search is performed based on the applicant’s name at the national level. If there are any possible hits, then the cases are further investigated with the help of address and date of birth. The records are searched back to 7 years.

The police authority maintaining the criminal records is the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) in the Philippines. However, the candidate must apply themselves to obtain NBI clearance as third parties cannot do so.

Best Practices

Below are some of the best practices when conducting background screening in the Philippines:

  • Employers must limit the request to ask for or collect the source’s details.
  • Employers should notify and collect consent from the job candidates while collecting personal information.
  • It is always recommended to ask the candidates to provide their original and attested education certificate copies.
  • Employers must check the validity of the documents.
  • Candidates have the right to ask for a copy of their personal information, and they can correct or update the information where the data is inaccurate or irrelevant.

We hope this article provided you with some helpful insights about background screening practices in the Philippines. For more information about how Neeyamo could help your organization, you can write to us at irene.jones@neeyamo.com.

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