MANILA – Malacañang said on Monday that President Rodrigo Duterte never broke his campaign promise to end labor contractualization.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque reiterated Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III’s assertion that Duterte is still determined to execute his promise of passing the security of tenure bill before the end of his term.
“Talaga po iyan ay isang sa mga pangako ng Presidente. Bagama’t iyong bersyon na naipasa ng Kongreso ay vineto rin niya dahil may mga probisyon doon na inconsistent sa tingin ng Presidente sa ating Saligang Batas. Pero hindi po ibig sabihin nito na nabalewala na po ang endo (That is really one of the promises of the President. Even if he vetoed the version passed by Congress because some provisions were inconsistent with the Constitution, it does not mean that he disregarded his promise to end endo),” Roque said in an interview over DZBB.
Duterte has urged Congress to approve legislation providing workers with job security in order to address the issue of unfair labor contracting practices.
However, he rejected the Security of Tenure (SOT) Bill in July 2019, claiming that it “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”.
Roque expressed optimism that Congress would “rectify” provisions vetoed by Duterte.
“Endo po ay kasama pa rin sa mga administration bills at inaasahan po na sana natin na ma-rectify iyong ilang mga probisyon na naging dahilan kung bakit vineto ng Presidente iyong napasang endo bill ng Kongreso (The anti-endo measure is among the administration bills and we expect some provisions in the bill passed by Congress to be rectified),” Roque added.
Bello announced last week that he had formally requested that Duterte declare the planned SOT and End of Endo Act as urgent.
When asked about the differences between the pending bill and the one vetoed by the President, Bello stated that they are “substantially the same”.
“The only thing is what could be contracted by employers. The provisions of the bill approved by Congress are good,” he added.
Duterte, according to Bello, was ready to sign the bill into law at the time, but several labor groups opposed it.
Despite the President’s veto of the anti-endo bill, the DOLE announced that the Duterte government has regularized 700,000 employees.
Currently, the country has around 50,000 and 60,000 contractual workers.
Duterte signed Executive Order (EO) No. 51 in May 2018, which “strictly” outlaws contracting or subcontracting “undertaken to circumvent the worker’s right to security of tenure, self-organization and collective bargaining, and peaceful concerted activities”.