Palace asks public to not feel betrayed by PRRD’s decision to veto Security of Tenure bill

By Argyll Geducos

Malacañang asked the public to not feel disheartened or betrayed by President Duterte's decision to veto the Security of Tenure bill, saying the President remains committed to his campaign promise of ending unfair practices of contractualization.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN) Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the statement following the lamentation on Duterte's decision to veto the bill Thursday.

In a statement Friday evening, Panelo said that people should not be disheartened because Duterte is doing everything he can to make true his promise of strengthening the security of workers' tenure within his term.

"The authors of the Security of Tenure (SOT) bill, as well as the members of both Houses of Congress, should not be crestfallen and disappointed nor should the labor sector feel saddened and betrayed by the President’s veto of the SOT bill," he said.

"While the President has vetoed the enrolled bill which attempts to strengthen the security of tenure of our workers, his promise to end unfair practices of contractualization, such as labor-only contracting and end-of-contract (endo) schemes, remains and will be pursued, if not soonest, still within the term of the President," he added.

The Palace thanked the Congress for heeding Duterte's call to enact measures that protect the rights of Filipino workers as they invite lawmakers to continue crafting a policy which gives due consideration on the socio-economic survival of the country.

"We are confident that the honorable members of Congress will legislate a law that will be both protective of the rights of the workers and the business sector that not only will bring industrial equanimity but propel further the economy to greater heights for the betterment of our country and people," Panelo said.

Resolve remains

Meanwhile, Panelo then reminded workers Duterte's Executive Order No. 51, signed on Labor Day last year, ordering the Labor Secretary to inspect establishments of employers and issue compliance orders, to ensure that prohibited forms of circumventing or frustrating the entitlement of workers to security of tenure as guaranteed by the Constitution are eliminated.

"The President’s resolve to put a stop to the practice of exploiting the working class is undiminished as exemplified by the regularization of 462,428 workers from August 2016 to May 2019. This has never been done before by any of his predecessors," he said.

Labor and management must coexist

The Palace official then said that Duterte realized that an overreaching prohibition and without identifying exemptions on farming out services, deemed legitimate contracting, will adversely affect businesses, and trigger their closure. This will cause the termination of employment of workers.

He added that the passage of the bill could discourage investment and remove the great potential of providing employment to the unemployed.

"The constitutional guarantee of security of tenure does not authorize this Government to oppress or cause the self-destruction of our employers," Panelo said.

Panelo then echoed Duterte's veto message that the country cannot afford business closures as it will result in a decline of job opportunities, adding that no one can be employed if there is no business hiring.

"As jurisprudence states, 'he aim is always to strike a balance between an avowed predilection for labor, on the one hand, and the maintenance of the legal rights of capital, on the other,'" he said.

Duterte has ascertained particular provisions in the proposed bill as injurious to the stability and industrial peace of the rights of employers and employees. According to the President, Certain provisions like the intended scope of prohibited contracting will place capital at a difficult situation which necessarily "stifles the rights" of the labor force in the future.

READ MORE: Labor groups cry ‘betrayal’ after Duterte vetoes security of tenure bill