Labor groups hit Duterte’s veto of security of tenure bill

Jul. 26, 2019

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — “[President Rodrigo] Duterte totally exposed himself as an anti-labor president who is subservient to big business after vetoing the SOT (Security od Tenure) bill.”

This was the statement of labor group Defend Job Philippines after Duterte vetoed the said bill which aims to prohibit contractualization or labor-only contracting and all its forms, including fixed-term employment.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Friday, July 26, announced that the president turned down the proposed law.

“This move of Duterte is a clear betrayal to the thousands of contractual Filipino workers who have put their high hopes on the electoral campaign promise of Duterte that he will end all forms of contractualization in the country,” said Christian Yamzon, executive director of Defend Job Philippines.

In his veto message, Duterte gave assurances that he continues to stand by his commitment to protect the workers’ right to security of tenure despite the veto.

“Our goal, however, has always been to target the abuse while leaving businesses free to engage in those practices beneficial to both management and the workforce,” President Duterte said.

Duterte stressed that “while labor-only contracting must be prohibited, legitimate job-contracting should be allowed” as long as the contractor is “well capitalized, has sufficient investments, and affords its employees all the benefits.”

He also said that “businesses should be allowed to determine whether they should outsource certain activities or not.”

Meanwhile, another labor group critical of the Duterte administration, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), said the president’s decision was no surprise.

“Given the pressure coming from no less than the American Chamber of Commerce, representing the interests of US-led multinational corporations operating in the country, in cahoots with the confederation of the richest domestic commercial enterprises, we do not expect President Duterte to drop his position to veto the bill or take a similar action in the coming days,” said KMU chairperson Elmer Labog.

However, even before the bill was submitted to Duterte for his signature, KMU along with other labor groups had slammed the proposed law citing that the passage was “railroaded” and “a watered down version.”

“The passage of this version of Security of Tenure bill is not the end of endo. Rather, this version of the SoT bill will institutionalize and legitimize contractualization through manpower agencies,” said the labor group in a previous statement.

“The vetoing of the SoT bill is a complete turnaround from his bold campaign promise to stop the endo practice once he assumes the presidency,” Labog said. (

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