MANILA – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Wednesday said it has formally asked President Rodrigo Duterte to certify as urgent the proposed Security of Tenure (SOT) and End of Endo Act, which seeks to end labor contractualization in the country.
“I just signed the letter addressed to our President recommending the issuance of certification for the anti-endo bill (as urgent), pending before the Senate,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a Laging Handa briefing.
He said Duterte was ready to sign the law in 2019 but he vetoed it after labor groups expressed opposition against it.
“In fact, as early as 2019, he certified (as urgent) the endo bill in Congress, which was approved by the House of Representatives and the Senate. He is ready to sign the law but some labor groups have protested, they do not like the endo bill that was passed by Congress, on that basis our President vetoed it,” Bello added.
Asked about the difference between the pending bill and the one that was vetoed by the President, Bello said these are "substantially the same".
"The only thing is what could be contracted by employers. The provisions of the bill approved by Congress are good," he added.
In vetoing the bill, Duterte recognized that certain provisions of the bill, like the intended scope of prohibited contracting, could result in capital placement difficulty, which "stifles the rights of the Filipino labor force in the future."
"The only problem, we were surprised, was that the labor groups showed opposition to that bill. Of course (for) the President, that's why the bill was certified to accommodate the workers' request. When they protested, the President was compelled to veto the bill. We will ask him to certify it. I’m confident that he will certify it. Hopefully, this will pass. Hopefully, no one will complain,” he said.
On Monday, Malacañang appealed anew to Congress to pass the bill that seeks to institutionalize the right to security of tenure of the government and private sector’s casual and contractual employees.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the proposed SOT and End of Endo Act continues to be an administration bill, contrary to Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs, Undersecretary Jacinto Paras' previous remarks saying the measure is not among priority measures of the President.
In 2018, Duterte issued Executive Order 51, which seeks the implementation of Article 106 of the Labor Code of the Philippines “to protect the right of security of tenure of all workers based on social justice in the 1987 Philippine Constitution”.
It “strictly” prohibits contracting or subcontracting “undertaken to circumvent the worker’s right to security of tenure, self-organization and collective bargaining, and peaceful concerted activities”.
Despite the President's veto on the anti-endo bill, the DOLE reported that there are some 700,000 employees that have been regularized under the Duterte administration.
However, it said there are still around 50,000 to 60,000 contractual workers in the country. (PNA)