KMU on DO 174: A rehash, pro-employers labor policy

Mar. 17, 2017

Kilusang Mayo Uno in Southern Mindanao ​says it would continue to call ​on “genuine” abolition of contractuazliation practice during their protest rally outside a hotel in Obrero, Davao City, on February 3, 2017. ( File Photo)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno on Friday scored the Department of Labor and Employment for issuing a new labor policy which they branded as a rehash version only of the existing guidelines on contracting and sub-contracting.

“The DO 174 does not end, but further legitimizes contractualization. By signing this DO, the DOLE has deliberately rejected Filipino workers’ demands to end all forms of contractualization,” Jerome Adonis, KMU secretary general, said in a statement.

Adonis said that DO 174 is a mere rehash of DO 18-A and it upholds the “win-win” solution proposed by the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines.

“The signing of the DO 174 proves that President Duterte’s promise of ending contractualization is a mere lip service. Duterte only earned the ire of Filipino workers over his failed promises and continued implementation of anti-worker policies,” the labor group’s spokesperson said.

On Thursday, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III signed DO 174 even without resolving the predicament between the labor workers and the groups of employers.

“Given the impasse and taking into consideration the social and economic impact of prolonged policy uncertainties, we think that it will be for the benefit of the greater public if the Department through the Secretary of Labor would finally put closure to this issue, and exercise the power and discretion given him by law,” Bello said in a news briefing.

He, however, reasoned out that the issuance of such labor policy was an exercise of his power as labor secretary to end and settle the labor dispute. Bello, in his capacity as labor secretary, claimed that he has the power to regulate work contracting and sub-contracting and prohibit labor-only contracting.

“Based on the Labor Code, as amended, the secretary of labor has no power to prohibit all forms of contractualization and fixed term employment. This matter is a function of legislation. While he has quasi-legislative power, the secretary of labor cannot, through rules and regulations, amend or supplant existing provisions of law,” Bello said.

But labor groups such as the KMU maintained that the prohibitions stated under D0 174 were already prohibited by existing laws.

“The DOLE is hyping this DO to cover-up their futility in heeding workers’ demands and their connivance with big businesses in promoting and legitimizing contractual employment schemes by upholding ECOP’s ‘win-win’ solution,” Adonis said.

The labor group slammed Bello’s claim that DOLE undersecretary Joel Maglunsod’s approval of the DO 174 is tantamount to the labor sector’s approval.

“The KMU does not share Usec Maglunsod’s position on the DO 174. Any policy that does not aim to end all forms of contractualization can never be acceptable to workers. Bello should stop maliciously using the former labor leader as a smokescreen to quell workers’ outrage over the administration’s inutility,” Adonis said.

Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella said that DO 174 issued is a fulfillment of the campaign promise of the President Rodrigo Duterte.

“This is a major step in upholding and protecting the labor rights of our great Filipino workers. We commend all concerned parties for the tireless efforts they poured in to make this a reality. The fruits of labor must be enjoyed justly and equitably, while business investments must be encouraged to grow and prosper so they can share with workers the reward for their toil,” Abella said.

The Presidential spokesperson said that the Duterte administration is working very hard to promote more humane conditions and fair and just treatment of workers in the work place.

“We guarantee the proper implementation of this department order by our labor officials and expect the full cooperation from the employers,” he added. (

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