Palace: Duterte admin still pushing for passage of anti-endo bill

Published July 19, 2021, 3:58 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang nudged Congress anew to pass a measure putting an end to contractualization (ENDO), saying such law remained to be an administration bill.

President Rodrigo Duterte. (Malacañang photo)

Roque made the statement a week before President Duterte delivers his last State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 26, an event where the latter is expected to update the public on his administration’s achievements and future plans.

In his press briefing on Monday, July 19, Roque, citing Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, said the security of tenure bill was still considered an administration bill.

“When I last talked to Secretary Bello and this was, I think, last week in Cagayan, he reiterated that the Anti-endo bill continues to be an administration bill and it has also been certified as urgent by the President,” he said.

However, Roque said that it was actually now up to Congress if they will act on the President’s wishes.

“We leave it to Congress because, unfortunately, no amount of certification can lead to enactment of the law if the wisdom of the Congress is otherwise,” he said.

“But we continue to appeal to Congress to pass this Anti-endo law as the term of the President ends,” he added.

However, early this month, Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO) Undersecretary Jacinto Paras said a law seeking to give workers security of tenure was no longer part of President Duterte’s priority legislation because it was not being talked about anymore.

“Because of the controversy when the President vetoed it, all the sectors have not been voicing out their opinions on this even the Department of Labor [and Employment]. So medyo hindi naging priority ito ngayon (So, somehow, it’s not a priority anymore),” he said.

“Maybe, in due time. I think that is still an important proposed legislation,” he added.

President Duterte has called on Congress for a law that will give workers security of tenure to address the issue of contractualization. However, in July 2019, he vetoed the Security of Tenure Bill as it supposedly “unduly broadens the scope and definition of prohibited labor-only contracting, effectively proscribing forms of contractualization that are not particularly unfavorable to the employees involved.”

“Businesses should be allowed to determine whether they should outsource certain activities or not, especially when job-contracting will result in economy and efficiency in their operations, with no detriment to the workers, regardless of whether this is directly related to their business,” he said in his veto message.

He added that the Constitution provides that the State shall protect the rights of workers and promote their welfare, such constitutional policy is not intended to oppress or destroy capital and management, and a healthy balance between the conflicting interests of labor and management must be observed.

“I believe the sweeping expansion of the definition of labor-only contracting destroys the delicate balance and will place capital and management at an impossibly difficult predicament with adverse consequences to the Filipino workers in the long term,” Duterte wrote in his letter.