May 27, 2018, 2:01 am
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No more ‘endo’ EO; labor up in arms

AFTER an almost two-year wait, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III yesterday said President Duterte will no longer issue an executive order on contractualization. 

Instead, Bello said in a press conference, Duterte will just certify as urgent the Security of Tenure Bill that is pending in Congress.

“We had a meeting last Friday with Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, and after going through three proposed EOs to be signed by the President, that is the consensus instead of the President signing the EO on the issue of contractualization,” he said.

Bello said an EO could be redundant to DOLE Department Order No. 174, which regulates contractualization.

He said with the measure set to be certified as “urgent,” there is a possibility that the bill will be passed within the year.

“Probably, once Congress resumes after the barangay elections, that would be a priority bill that will be taken up by the Senate,” he said.

The announcement came after presidential spokesman Harry Roque, Jr. said workers will get “good news” on May 1, which is Labor Day.

Roque said based on a report of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Duterte has already complied with his campaign promise of ending the practice of endo by raising the number of labor inspectors from 200 to 500 to ensure compliance with the existing labor rules. 

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said: “We have long agreed there would be no EO to be released on contractualization.”

Endo refers to the practice of companies to hire an employee for just five months or end a contract before six months to avoid hiring the employee as a regular worker with corresponding benefits.

Sen. Joel Villanueva, chairman of the Senate committee on labor, said his panel is ready to submit its committee report on Senate Bill 1116 or the “End of Endo bill.”

Villanueva said he is finalizing the report to be routed to the offices of senators for signature and report it for plenary debates when session resumes next month.

“The President’s certification will definitely help in the passage of a new law governing endo,” he said.

Villanueva’s bill seeks to provide stricter regulations on contractualization and simplifies the classification of employees to regular and probationary, and treats project and seasonal employees as regular employees.

Villanueva also intends to call the Department of Labor and Employment for another round of discussion before the release of the committee report.

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said the measure should define “what is regular employment, what is probationary employment, the policy on the types of employment is actually a legislative policy” and could not be covered by an executive order.

He said will raise the issue to the President in the next meeting of Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council.

The House of Representatives has already approved the Security of Tenure Bill last January 30.

House Bill 6908, which seeks to prohibit labor-only contracting and “endo,” provides for the licensing of job contractors and outsourcing firms.

The contracting out of the same work contracted out by the employer is prohibited under the proposed law.

The definition of a regular employee is also amended to mean someone who is hired under an indefinite period.

FOOLS?

Labor groups immediately condemned the decision of Duterte to forego the signing of an EO, saying he is turning back on his promise to end endo.

“We strongly condemn President Duterte for making fools out of Filipino workers by refusing to sign an executive order against contractualization as he promised during previous labor dialogues,” said Kilusang Mayo Uno Chairman Elmer Labog.

In a related development, Bello said he is saddened by the resignation of Labor Undersecretary Dominador Say supposedly over accusations that he is pro-management on the issue of contractualization.

He said Say is a great loss to the DOLE considering his qualifications for the job.

 “I feel sad. He is a very competent labor lawyer,” said Bello.

He said he does not believe allegations of Say being involved in corruption. – With JP Lopez, Jocelyn Montemayor and Wendell Vigilia 
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