Palace extinguishes hope on Endo EO

Published April 19, 2018, 2:38 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang said that an Executive Order (EO) addressing the contractualization of workers in the country may not even see the light of day after the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said that it is better to leave the fate of the End-of-Contract, or Endo or 5-5-5, scheme to the Congress.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement during his press briefing in Malacañang Thursday morning.

Workers hold a demonstration in front of the Labor Department to protest the labor practice of contractualization in Manila, April 16,2018. Protester said, THey remain hopeful that President Duterte will no longer postpone the signing of EO and reiterated their demand for hin to sign a "pro-workers and no compromise EO against the contractualization.(Czar Dancel)
Workers hold a demonstration in front of the Labor Department to protest the labor practice of contractualization in Manila, April 16,2018. (Czar Dancel / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Roque, citing DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III, said that it would be better to let the Congress address the matter as a legislation would be much more effective than an EO.

“The position of Secretary Bello now is it is better to leave the matter of Endo to Congress,” Roque said.

“The position of Secretary Bello now, which I think is the position of Malacañang as well, which is the position of Malacañang, is let’s see what kind of legislation Congress will finally approve, noting that the matter is pending in the Senate alone,” he added.

With this development, Roque said that the EO, which was reported to be signed by President Duterte anytime so, may not be needed anymore.

“I believe so [that there will be no EO anymore]. That is the position of Secretary Bello now. Alam mo naman ang position ni (You know the position of the) President, he leaves the management of the line departments to the secretaries,” he said.

The Palace official also assured that he will find out if the President will certify the ‘End of Endo’ bill in the Senate as urgent, given that the House of Representatives has already passed their own version of the bill.

“I will find out because that seems to be the solution of it all. That would be the solution so the Senate can fast-track the Endo bill,” Roque said.

Ending contractualization, particularly the 5-5-5 system, was one of the campaign promises of President Duterte in 2016.

The 5-5-5 Endo refers to the termination of workers after five months of working for a company to prevent them from becoming a regular employee who has benefits.

Labor groups have been asking and waiting for the President to issue an EO to address the matter. However, Malacañang earlier explained that an EO can only do as much, like implement an existing law, and not amend one.

Roque also said that the President Duterte wants to address the issue soon, saying this was one of his campaign promises.

“I know that the President is rather restive about this EO. He has mentioned this to me personally that this is a campaign promise that he wants to deliver to the people very soon,” he said.

“I would suppose because it is a promise given by the President to labor groups that it would be an EO that will side with the labor forces,” he added.

Already complied

Meanwhile, Roque said that the Department of Trade and Industry informed him that the President has already complied with his election promise to do away with the 5-5-5 Endo.

“There is a distinction, however, between service contractors who recognize their employees as regular employees albeit they perform for another company and that is the position of the DTI,” he said.

“Now as far as the DTI is concerned, that is not Endo. It is contractual work given by a service company but the employees of the service company are regular employees of the service company. So as far as the relationship between the employee and the service company is concerned, they are regular employees and therefore, they do not fall under 5-5-5 Endo,” he added.

In addressing the issue of contracualization of workers, Roque said that DOLE has already intensified its crackdown on those who violate the law.

“DOLE has beefed up the number of its labor inspectors from 200 to 500 and that’s why they have effectively cracked down on those resorting to prohibited Endo,” he said.