Duterte presses Congress for more measures to protect workers’ rights

Published May 1, 2019, 10:07 AM

by AJ Siytangco

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte has called on Congress to pass measures that will protect the rights of Filipino workers to security of tenure and self-organization and put an end to the practice of end of contract or “endo” and illegal contractualization.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

In his Labor Day message, the President recognized that the nation’s strength has always depended on the hard work, grit, and perseverance of the labor force.

“Every year, we set aside this day to celebrate their valuable contributions not only in the struggle to provide a better life for our people, but in building the foundations of a more promising future for succeeding generations,” he said.

The President lamented that despite the annual observance and efforts to help them, the lives and working conditions of laborers seem to have not improved.

“It is unfortunate, however, that despite this yearly observance, the plight of our workers, especially those who choose to leave their families so they may earn better compensation abroad, remains the same,” Duterte said.

“This is why my administration has implemented measures within its powers to afford full protection to labor and promote equal work opportunities for all,” he added.

Duterte called on Congress to do its part, noting that he already did what he could by issuing last year Executive Order No. 51 which implements existing constitutional and statutory provisions against illegal contracting.

“I remain optimistic that…my counterpart in Congress will consider passing much needed legislative measures that will fully protect our workers’ rights, especially to security of tenure and self-organization,” he said.

The President expressed hope that the observance of Labor Day would inspire everyone to help workers who are essential in the country’s progress.

“May this solemn observance inspire all of us to work together in improving the plight of our workers by creating an environment conducive to their personal and professional growth and development,” Duterte said.

“Today, we celebrate the working class not as a tool of employees and capitalists, but as an essential catalyst for our nation’s overall progress,” he added.

On May 1 last year, Duterte signed EO 51 in front of thousands of workers and job seekers in Barangay Mabolo, Cebu City to celebrate the 116th Labor Day.

“More than a century has passed since the very first Labor Day was celebrated and yet the struggle for a better life for our beloved workers continues,” he said in his speech.

“I assure you that this government will never cease in its efforts to provide every Filipino worker with full, dignified and meaningful employment. They deserve no less than decent and comfortable lives,” he added.

The President admitted that a mere executive order was not enough to put an end to endo (end of contract) and illegal contractualization. He stressed that Congress needs to enact a law amending the Labor Code in order to implement an effective and lasting solution to the problems brought about by contractualization.