Employers' group to comply with Duterte EO despite 'reservations'

MANILA, Philippines – The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) said it would comply with President Rodrigo Duterte's newly signed executive order (EO) that bans illegal contracting and subcontracting, despite having "reservations."

"ECOP finds worrisome the exact definition of security of tenure, among others, and the possible loose or abused rules of engagement in the enforcement of certain prohibitions," said the group in a statement on Tuesday, May 1 – also Labor Day.

"[But] employers will live with it and comply," ECOP added, without elaborating further on its concerns.

The EO defines security of tenure as the "right of employees not to be dismissed or removed without just and authorized cause and observance of procedural due process consistent with the Labor Code, as amended."

After Duterte signed the EO, however, Makabayan bloc lawmakers and labor groups both expressed dismay.

Anakpawis Representative Ariel Casilao, a member of the Makabayan bloc, said the EO merely reiterated existing labor laws which are "anti-worker."

This was echoed by labor groups who said the EO offered "nothing new" and was merely a "face-saving" measure on Labor Day.

The labor groups have been pushing for an EO that would completely prohibit all forms of contracting or subcontracting, and make direct hiring the norm.

In a separate statement, ECOP chairman Edgardo Lacson noted that Duterte's newly signed EO still "allows legal contractual employment which is a globally accepted form of work arrangement."

But the end-of-contract scheme or endo, added Lacson, should be stopped "through aggressive enforcement of the law."

The President himself said the EO is "not enough," reiterating Malacañang's statement that Congress must amend the Labor Code. (READ: TIMELINE: Duterte's promise to abolish endo)

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, for his part, said his department supports workers' welfare "while ensuring we have [a] stable policy environment that will create jobs."

"We are happy with the EO signed by the President and support the call for banning endo and illegal contracting," Lopez told reporters in a text message. – Rappler.com