Labor groups, Duterte to meet this month

Published April 4, 2018, 6:21 PM

by Roel Tibay

By Leslie Ann G. Aquino

Labor groups and President Duterte will meet again this month.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during the Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte National Executive Committee (MRRD-NECC) National Convention at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City on March 21, 2018. (ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III said a Malacanang official scheduled the meeting with labor on April 16.

The labor chief expressed hope that their proposed Executive Order on contractualization will be signed during the meeting.

“Hopefully it will be on that occasion that the president will sign our proposed Executive order on contractualization. This is not to prohibit contractualization but to regulate contractualization,” said Bello in an interview.

On Wednesday, the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines-Nagkaisa (ALU-TUCP-Nagkaisa) again renewed its call to the President to fulfill his promise to end the precarious short-term Endo work scheme in the country by signing the EO drafted by labor groups.

“We are calling on President Duterte to read the latest Executive Order on contractualization that he asked us to draft which was submitted February 7 to his office during our dialogue with him in Malacanang,” Michael Mendoza, ALU-TUCP-Nagkaisa National President, said in a statement.

He added that the EO drafted by labor is consistent with Article 106 of the Labor Code which says that the DOLE Secretary may prohibit or regulate the contracting out of jobs.

Mendoza said by going through the draft, the President will find that labor groups are no longer pushing for an absolute, total ban on contractualization and that there is no need to transfer the end contractualization matter to Congress to amend the law. There’s no need to amend any laws,” explained Mendoza.

“This latest version of the EO is different from the first and previous drafted EO from labor which practically abolishes the practice of all forms of short-term employment including contractualization, Endo (end-of-contract), and “555” (referring to five months contract duration),” he said.

“In recognition of President Duterte’s concern that an absolute ban on contractualization may discourage new investors in the country, labor organizations revised the first EO draft by giving business-owners flexibility to hire the services of contractual or seasonal jobs on top of the regular and directly-hired workforce,” added Mendoza.

He cited Section 2 of the EO drafted by labor group says that: “The Secretary of Labor and Employment may, however, in consultation with the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council under Article 290 of the Labor Code, as amended, by appropriate regulations, determine activities which may be contracted out.”

Mendoza added that Article 106 of the Labor Code says: “The Secretary of Labor and Employment may, by appropriate regulations, restrict or prohibit the contracting-out of labor to protect the rights of workers established under this Code. In so prohibiting or restricting, he may make appropriate distinctions between labor-only contracting and job contracting as well as differentiations within these types of contracting and determine who among the parties involved shall be considered the employer for purposes of this Code, to prevent any violation or circumvention of any provision of this Code.”

“We hope the President would fulfil and not renege on his commitment to free millions of workers from the bondage of abusive labor slavery under contractualization. We hope he would keep his promise to end contractualization,” said Mendoza.

According to ALU-TUCP, around 30 million Filipinos of the 41 million labor force are working under contractualization scheme without security of tenure and other benefits received by regular workers.