Duterte hints at ‘compromise’ on labor contracting issue

Published February 27, 2018, 3:09 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte has not reneged on a pledge to curb contractual employment in the country but has merely asked for time to address the labor issue, according to Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque.

Roque made the clarification after the President pushed for a “compromise” that seeks to balance the interests of workers and employers in the country.

President Rodrigo Duterte

“I don’t think he has retreated. He has asked for more time to study the matter and that’s what he is doing now,” Roque said during a Palace news conference, when asked if the President has withdrawn his campaign pledge to put a stop to “endo” (end of contract) practice in the country.

For now, Roque confirmed about a “possible compromise” on labor contractualization but could not yet provide details.

“I have an inclination, but unless it’s announced by him, I would defer commenting on it. But there is a possible compromise. Yes, I have heard of it,” he said.

In his remarks in Davao City last Monday, the President called for a mutually acceptable compromise on the issue of contractual employment.

Duterte admitted he could not force businessmen on how to run their companies, especially since it involves their money. He added that while there is a sheer number of people in need of jobs, only a few companies were currently hiring workers.

“I don’t think that I can really give them all kasi hindi naman natin mapilit ‘yung mga kapitalista na — kung walang pera o ayaw nila o tamad [because we cannot force the capitalists if there’s no money, if they don’t want to, or if the (workers) are lazy],” he said.

“Don’t make it hard for them to run the business the way they like it because that’s their money. So something of a compromise must be — maybe acceptable to everybody,” he added.

Malacañang earlier said the President was still studying a proposed executive order prohibiting contractualization in the country.

Labor groups have called on the President to fulfill his campaign pledge to end unfair labor practice of “endo” in the country. Under the controversial endo, employment contracts are terminated before the six month to avoid paying benefits due to regular workers.