MANILA, Philippines – Workers led by national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) condemned as “heartless” President Rodrigo Duterte’s refusal to sign the labor sector’s draft Executive Order (EO) prohibiting all forms of contractualization in the country.
The group stormed the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Wednesday to decry Duterte for not fulfilling his campaign promise to end contractualization until now.
“It is enraging that while Duterte has been railroading anti-worker and anti-people policies like the tax reform law and the charter change, he has been, on the other hand, discarding our workers’ demands to end all forms of contractualization,” KMU chairperson Elmer Labog said in a statement.
KMU Southern Mindanao Regionlikewise lamented Duterte’s broken promise to end contractualization, which, the group said, continue to burden the lives of millions of workers all over the country.
“It is undeniable that the worker’s vote was won by Duterte because of his promise to end contractualization. Yet two years in office, we are still where we left off,” said Carl Olalo, secretary general of KMU-SMR.
As a result of prior agreements and dialogues with DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III since the October 2016 labor summit, the KMU, together with other labor federations and organizations, presented before Duterte their draft EO during a dialogue in Malacañang last February 7.
Duterte, however, refused to sign the EO claiming he needs to seek the approval of the business sector.
“He is heartlessly rejecting workers’ demands for regular jobs to woo foreign and local big businesses to support his fascist dictatorship. As a result, more and more contractual workers are being subjected to the worst forms of exploitation and labor rights violations,” Labog said.
During the protest, workers displayed heart-shaped signs tagging the President as “pusong-bato sa manggagawa” and as a “bae” of big foreign and local capitalists.
Under the proposed EO, regular employment would be the normal system, while contractualization would only be allowed only for some professions to be decided by DOLE and its advisory council, the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council.
The proposed EO also gives workers security of tenure, which is not given to existing contractual workers in the country.
Security of tenure, as defined in the EO, is the “direct hiring relationship between a principal employer and an employee.”
The KMU meanwhile vowed to lead the further strengthening the unity of Filipino workers in advancing their demand to end all forms of contractualization by holding intensive and extensive nationwide protests towards March 15.
“We are going to make Duterte sorry for failing to heed our demands. Filipino workers are ever geared to strengthen their solidarity in asserting our demands for regular jobs and living wages and in opposing Duterte’s anti-worker policies and tyrannical rule,” Labog said. (davaotoda.com)