DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The government’s efforts to end contractualization in the labor sector and the continuing war against illegal drugs are among the reports that President Rodrigo Duterte will render to the Filipino people during his second State of the National Address on July 24.
Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar told DZRH in an interview on Thursday morning that contractualization is a problem now being faced by the labor sector in the country.
Andanar said the Department of Labor and Employment, through Secretary Silvestre Bello III is working to address the problem on contractualization.
In a press briefing in Malacañang last week, July 4, Secretary Bello admitted the agency’s difficulties in facing the issue on contractualization given that the country has 40 million employees.
“Then, what did we fail to do with respect to the security of tenure of workers. We failed to regularize the contractual as much as we wanted to. We have a work force of about 40 million employees,” Bello said.
The secretary is bent on achieving the goal of putting security to the tenure of Filipino employees, but further admitted: “While we wanted to regularize all our employees under laws on contractualization, medyo nahirapan kami dahil unang-una we are supervising almost 900,000 business establishment throughout the country and I am very sorry to tell you that we only have a little over 500 Labor Law Compliance Officers, inspectors for short.”
He added, though, that he was not making any excuse as DOLE already asked President Duterte for additional inspectors.
“Luckily he agreed to give us 200 additional inspectors; but definitely again, kulang pa rin iyan. We need to be able to effectively inspect all these business establishments we need at least additional 2,500 inspectors,” he said.
However, For the militant labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno, no change has come to the lives of Filipino workers one year after the Duterte administration.
“President Rodrigo Duterte’s promise of “change” has not come in his first year in power. Duterte has shown extremely low productivity in terms of addressing our workers’ legitimate and just demands and even failed in delivering his own promises and pronouncements,” KMU said in a July 2 statement posted on its website.
A year of worsening hunger, poverty and injustice among Filipino workers and people under the continued implementation neoliberal economic policies of promoting cheap, flexible and repressed labor is what KMU described of Duterte’s first year into office.
“Duterte’s promise of ending contractualization remains unfulfilled. Worse, the recently signed Department of Labor and Employment Order 174 has legitimized contracting-out of labor through labor contracting agencies as a government employment policy,” the group said.
KMU also questioned the “much hyped” regularization 70,000 workers, asserting that regularization through labor contractors and not through their principal employer is not regularization.
“The DOLE has also failed to act on the obviously undeniable practice of “Endo” against SM workers and the prevalent contractualization by big multi-national corporations especially in Special Economic Zones,” the group added.
Andanar said preparations for the upcoming SONA of Duterte are ongoing as government line agencies are asked to submit reports that will form part of the President’s address.
“Kung ano po ang lalamanin doon sa speech ng ating Pangulo, patuloy po tayong nangangalap ng report mula sa ating mga ahensiya at iyon nga, kasi siyempre sa laki ng burukrasya, medyo hindi po ganoon kabilis iyong pag-report ng iba,” the communications secretary told DZRH.
He added that Duterte’s SONA will be based on concrete accomplishments as the President will also deal with new issues such as the imposition of martial law.
The President, Andanar added, will also tackle the resurgence of drugs in the country, an issue Duterte emphasized in his message during the commemoration of the 26th year anniversary of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology. (davaotoday.com)