ISSUE: Whether or not there has been a valid classification in the challenged Department Order No. 1.
FACTS: Petitioner, Phil association of Service Exporters, Inc., is engaged principally in the recruitment of Filipino workers, male and female of overseas employment. It challenges the constitutional validity of Dept. Order No. 1 (1998) of DOLE entitled “Guidelines Governing the Temporary Suspension of Deployment of Filipino Domestic and Household Workers.” It claims that such order is a discrimination against males and females. The Order does not apply to all Filipino workers but only to domestic helpers and females with similar skills, and that it is in violation of the right to travel, it also being an invalid exercise of the lawmaking power. Further, PASEI invokes Sec 3 of Art 13 of the Constitution, providing for worker participation in policy and decision-making processes affecting their rights and benefits as may be provided by law. Thereafter the Solicitor General on behalf of DOLE submitting to the validity of the challenged guidelines involving the police power of the State and informed the court that the respondent have lifted the deployment ban in some states where there exists bilateral agreement with the Philippines and existing mechanism providing for sufficient safeguards to ensure the welfare and protection of the Filipino workers.
RATIO DECIDENDI: the petition ruled that there has been valid classification, the Filipino female domestics working abroad were in a class by themselves, because of the special risk to which their class was exposed. There is no question that Order No.1 applies only to female contract workers but it does not thereby make an undue discrimination between sexes. It is well settled hat equality before the law under the constitution does not import a perfect identity of rights among all men and women. It admits of classification, provided that: (1) Such classification rests on substantial distinctions (2.) That they are germane to the purpose of the law (3). They are not confined to existing conditions (4.) They apply equally to al members of the same class In the case at bar, the classifications made, rest on substantial distinctions. Dept. Order No. 1 does not impair the right to travel. The consequence of the deployment ban has on the right to travel does not impair the right, as the right to travel is subjects among other things, to the requirements of “public safety” as may be provided by law. Deployment ban of female domestic helper is a valid exercise of police power. Police power as been defined as the state authority to enact legislation that may interfere with personal liberty or property in order to promote general welfare. Neither is there merit in the contention that Department Order No. 1 constitutes an invalid exercise of legislative power as the labor code vest the DOLE with rule making powers.