By Leslie Ann Aquino
An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has thumbed down the bill seeking to extend the probationary period of a casual employee in a company from six months to two years.
Fr. Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of the CBCP National Secretariat for Social Action Justice and Peace, said he was opposed to the measure as this would legalize contractualization.
“Thats very objectionable,” he said in an interview.
“Extending it to two years is to legalize contractualization because employees can be employed for two years without security of tenure, and can be easily terminated when the two-year (probatiornary) period ends,” added Gariguez.
The CBCP official stressed that six months were more than enough to determine employees qualification and competence.
Labor groups earlier also rejected House Bill 4802 filed by Probinsyano Ako partylist representative Bonito Singson.
The Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) said the bill illustrated how our lawmakers were “completely out of touch with the conditions of the ordinary Filipinos.”
“The proposed Labor Code amendments of Rep. Singson is but a cheap trick by capitalists like himself to optimize their profits by delaying workers’ regularization and entitlement to benefits,” said Luke Espiritu, president of BMP.
The group found the lawmaker’s claim that the current six-month period is insufficient in determining a worker’s qualification as a “flimsy excuse” to further exploit workers.
“No matter how much he sugarcoats his proposal, this will only bolster the deprivation of workers’ rights and their equitable share in the fruits of their labor,” said Espiritu.
Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) President Raymond Mendoza also rejected the bill which he said would permanently institutionalize the modern-day labor slavery system in the country.
“While modern and progressive thinkers are trying to move away and eradicate the widely practiced precarious and short term contractualization scheme, this measure, on the contrary, will not help workers out of poverty but will forever deprive them from getting their fair share of economic prosperity they helped produce. We reject this bill,” he said.