DUTERTE CUTS ENDO’S TAIL
LABOR DAY ORDER
Some labor groups call the EO just an ‘initial victory’ since certain forms of contractualization will still be allowed
President Rodrigo Duterte had waited until Labor Day to sign, in front of hundreds of local government officials, government agencies and job seekers, an executive order (EO) regulating contractualization.
In his speech during the 116th Labor Day celebration at the IEC Convention Center in Cebu City yesterday, the President said he didn’t answer questions regarding the EO before, despite clamor from labor groups, as he wanted to do it on Labor Day for it to have an “impact” and to become “memorable.”
Despite the new EO, the President admitted that a more comprehensive action to address issues on contractualization has to be done by revisiting the country’s Labor Code, saying it is “outdated.”
“I remain firm in my commitment to put an end to endo and illegal contractualization. However, I believe that in order to implement an effective and lasting solution to the problems brought about by contractualization, Congress needs to enact a law amending the Labor Code,” he said in his speech.
“Endo” or end of contract refers to a contractualization scheme that offers short-term and unprotected temporary work arrangements, a practice where companies hire and rehire workers under a short-term contract to avoid the law that requires them to regularize employees after six months of continuous employment.
Section 2 of the EO signed by President Duterte yesterday prohibits the “illegal contracting and sub-contracting” when undertaken to circumvent the workers’ right to security of tenure, self-organization and collective bargaining, and peaceful concerted activities.
However, the newly signed EO does not enforce a total ban against contractualization, which was demanded by various labor groups.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III explained after yesterday’s program that there are still allowable forms of contractualization.
“Yung pwede i-outsource kagaya halimbawa yung seasonal, yung project-based, mga janitors, maintenance, ganon (Those that can be outsourced like for example seasonal or project-based jobs like that of janitors and maintenance),” he told reporters when asked which types of contractual employment are acceptable.
The EO also provides that the secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) may declare specific activities that can be contracted out in consultation with the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (NTIPC), and would thus be excluded from the coverage of the EO. These activities will be enumerated through appropriate issuances.
It was Bello who read the entire contents of the EO in yesterday’s event prior to the President’s speech.
President Duterte also ordered DOLE to submit to his office a list of all companies engaged in or suspected to be engaged in labor-only contracting.
“To all non-compliant and abusive employers under the so-called Cabo, who are engaging in labor contracting, your days are numbered. I have warned you before and I warn you again, putlan ta mog ulo. Aw, di diay mao (I’ll go after your heads. Oh, that’s not right). Stop endo and illegal contractualization,” he said.
“I will see to it that our laws are strictly enforced. The government will not rest until we end this shameful labor practice,” he added.
The order also authorized the Labor secretary to inspect establishments to check compliance with all labor laws,
including those which are provided in the Labor Day EO.
The DOLE in Central Visayas, meanwhile, is also finalizing its list of companies engaged in labor-only contracting in
Cebu and the rest of the region.
DOLE-7 Regional Director Alvin Villamor said they are beating a May 10 deadline to submit to their central office the complete list of these companies.
Following the signing of the EO, he said their regional office will also be doing stricter enforcement of labor laws in the country, including those covered by the EO.
Villamor emphasized though that they are not really aggressively going after these companies and want to talk it more with them.
“It’s more voluntary on their part. We are like convincing them that this is the better way. If they follow, if they’re convinced, then well and good. The enforcement comes only secondarily. At first, there should be conciliation, usap muna (discussion first),” he told reporters.
Members of some caused-oriented groups in Central Visayas welcomed the President’s directive as an initial victory for the workers, said Jaime Paglinawan, the Central Visayas chairman of Alyansa sa mga Mamumuo sa Sugbo-Kilusang Mayo Uno (AMA-KMU).
“Ang pasabot aning initial nga kadaugan, tan-awon pa usab sa Kilusang Mayo Uno unsay tinuod nga unod niini (We say it was an initial victory because we in Kilusang Mayo Uno will still have to check the content of the executive order),” Paglinawan said.
Paglinawan said what the workers had hoped was for President Duterte to sign the draft EO that was jointly submitted by different groups of workers, including rivals Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) and the KMU, which calls for the complete end of endo and all forms of contractualization.
Paglinawan said the labor groups will continue to push for the abolition of contractualization.
“Kun ang maong EO pagbobo lang sa kainit sa mga kalagot sa mamumuo, kay lagi gilangay mani, mopadayon ming mga mamumuo nga maghiusa aron iduso gyud ang EO nga mawagtang tanang porma sa contractualisasiyon (If the signing of the EO was just meant to appease the angry workers, since this matter has been delayed, we will still pursue the EO that we wanted, which is to put an end to all forms of contractualization),” Paglinawan added.
Associated Labor Unions–Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU- TUCP) spokesperson Alan Tanjusay also expressed disappointment that contractualization in the country was not totally banned.
“We are dismayed. Generally, our impression is that Duterte did not eliminate the endo but strengthened the regulation. So (that’s what he did), he did not ban endo, he did not ban contractualization, but he just strengthened the regulation,” Tanjusay told Cebu Daily News in a phone interview.
He said it made them realize that the President could not totally ban contractualization because the labor code still allows contractualization.
Tanjusay said they welcomed the President’s pronouncement urging Congress to speed up deliberation on the security of tenure bill to assure workers that they get social protection benefit and the “living wage” they deserve.
But Art Barrit, also of ALU-TUCP, said they were happy that the EO finally happened and that the President fulfilled his campaign promise.
“For us, we believe that the best is yet to come (regarding this EO).” Barrit said. /WITH REPORTER NESTLE L. SEMILLA and CORRESPONDENTS ROSALIE O. ABATAYO AND DORIS MAE C. MONDRAGON
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