Duterte urges Congress to pass law ending contractualization

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte urged Congress during his 3rd State of the Nation Address (SONA) to pass a law ending contractualization "once and for all."

On Monday, July 23, Duterte reiterated that lawmakers – not Malacañang – can end contractual employment schemes.

"Much as I would like to do the impossible, that power is not vested upon me by the Constitution. And neither will I make both ends meet even if I violate the laws to achieve that purpose. Simply, it is not part of my territory," the President said.

"That is why I add mine to their voices in asking Congress to pass legislation ending the practice of contractualization once and for all," he added. (READ: Workers say Duterte policy vs contractualization 'useless')

Duterte signed Executive Order (EO) No. 51 last Labor Day after several postponements, in an attempt to prohibit illegal contracting and subcontracting. But workers' groups called this move a "face-saving measure." (READ: TIMELINE: Duterte's promise to abolish endo)

Provisions of the EO, labor groups and lawmakers pointed out, were already in the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Department Order 174 that set "stricter" guidelines for contractualization.

"On May 1 of this year, I signed Executive Order 51, which sought to protect the workers' right to security of tenure. Read my lips, I understand that this does not satisfy all sectors. I share their sentiment. I truly do," Duterte said.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III earlier said an EO would not stop contractualization, as "penalties should be imposed" on erring establishments.

Malacañang sided with Bello, saying that an EO can only do so much.

Labor groups have since slammed the Duterte administration for "not keeping" its promise to end contractual employment schemes.

According to the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, there are about 25 million contractual workers in the Philippines. Of the figure, the government has placed 316,880 workers in permanent positions as of July this year. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.

image