MANILA, Philippines – Progressive lawmakers on Tuesday denounced the Duterte administration for claiming that it is powerless to eradicate contractualization in the country.
On Monday, Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra said President Rodrigo Duterte could not end contractualization through an executive order (EO) because this can only be done by Congress by enacting a new law to amend the country’s Labor Code.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate questioned Duterte’s sincerity in ending contractualization, which was one of his campaign promises.
He said if Duterte were truly sincere, then he should have supported a “true anti-contractualization bill” instead of the watered-down version of the House bill.
“If Malacañang is indeed sincere in eradicating contractualization in the Philippines then it should have supported a true anti-contractualization bill instead of the compromised, thus, pseudo Security of Tenure (SOT) Bill or House Bill 6908 passed by the House that will only lead to systematic and mass termination of current regular employees,” he said.
“The little concessions the House SOT bill gives to labor will be dwarfed by the legitimization and expected proliferation of job contractors and job contracting schemes and the deletion of performing desirable and necessary jobs in the definition of regular employment,” he added.
Anakpawis party-list Rep. Ariel Casilao said Duterte’s defeatist stance against “endo,” or end of contract, was an abandonment of millions of Filipino workers’ hopes.
“April 2016 pa yang pangako niyang yan, 2018 na, ganyan pa rin ang sinasabi. Nagmumukhang trapong pangako ang pagbabawal sa ‘endo,’ at nang manalo na, bahala na sa buhay ang mga manggagawang kontraktwal. Mas inaalala pa ng pangulo ang mga mayayamang kapitalista kaysa sa nagugutom na mga manggagawa, change got lost and is not coming talaga,” Casilao said in a press statement.
Casilao filed House Bill No. 556 or the Anti-Contractualization of Labor bill, but as it was consolidated with other bills, the final version House Bill No. 6908 or Security of Tenure bill, turned out to be institutionalizing “job-contracting” than prohibiting contractualization.
Last January, the House approved on third and final reading House Bill No. 6908.
The bill legalizes contractual labor only if allowed by the labor department, regularizes a contractual employee after six months, and provides contractual workers the same benefits as regular employees.
The measure also guarantees a probationary worker, who had rendered at least a month of service and who would be terminated ahead of the six-month probation period, a termination pay equivalent to a half-month salary per month of service.
Meanwhile, ACT Teachers Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro asserted that the Duterte government has no real plans to absolutely end all forms of contractualization in the country.
“In the effort of the Duterte administration to wash his hands off endo, he is belittling the power of the Executive to really end endo,” Tinio said. “We are still waiting for the President to sign an Executive Order that would render labor-only contracting, job contracting, and other forms of contractualization illegal and for Congress to pass a genuine security of tenure bill for both the private and public sector.”
Just yesterday, Castro said striking Coca-Cola workers in Davao were violently dispersed by the combined forces of SWAT-PNP and Task Force Davao where 10 workers were arrested.
Castro said Coca-Cola workers from around the country have been staging strikes to demand for the regularization of 675 of its contractual workers from Laguna and 72 from Davao and to protest the policies of the Duterte administration that permit the continuing exploitation of workers through labor-only contracting, job contracting, and other forms of contractualization.
“If he is true to his promise to the people, he will support and enact bills that truly ban all forms of contractualization in the private and public sector. He is instead passing a bogus and deceitful security of tenure bill that would allow contractualization to continue,” he said.
Tinio likewise lamented how the President’s campaign promise to end all forms of contractualization has become “empty words which continue to deceive the Filipino people.”
“It is in the hands of the people and in their collective efforts to continue to struggle for job security, regularization and decent wages,” he added. (davaotoday.com)