'Walang bago': Makabayan lawmakers unimpressed with Duterte EO on endo

MANILA, Philippines – Lawmakers from the progressive Makabayan bloc are disappointed over President Rodrigo Duterte's executive order (EO) prohibiting illegal contracting and subcontracting. 

Anakpawis Representative Ariel Casilao, Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate, and Kabataan Representative Sarah Elago said the EO signed on Tuesday, May 1,  offers "nothing new" in the fight against contractualization, also known as end of contract or endo.

"Walang bago sa EO. Reiteration lang 'yan ng existing labor laws that [have] been proven [to be] anti-worker," said Casilao. (READ: TIMELINE: Duterte's promise to abolish endo

(There's nothing new in the EO. It's a mere reiteration of existing labor laws that have proven to be anti-worker.) 

He said the law already prohibits labor-only contracting, but employers continue to circumvent this provision. (READ: Unemployment rises under Duterte's watch

Instead, Filipino laborers are demanding a "total prohibition of contractualization by virtue of direct hiring."

"Permissible and allowable contractualization should only be limited to seasonal and project-based work with a strict provision of prohibiting repeated hiring of project-based with same principal employer," said Casilao. 

"Dapat nailagay sana sa EO na pangunahing prinsipyo ng gobyerno ang direct hiring as a basic principle of employment (They should have placed in the EO that the government's primary policy is making direct hiring a basic principle of employment)," he added. 

Elago, meanwhile, said the "real evil” lies in contractualization itself, not just subcontracting. 

She said Duterte "desperately" attempted to "put up a show" by signing the EO on Labor Day, calling the President's "utter deception" "unacceptable."

"The EO does not live up to its promise of 'strengthening' security of tenure even if it imposes penalties and prohibits subcontracting or illegal contracting. These are obviously not enough as we have seen how big businesses have been able to circumvent the law even with these prohibitions," said Elago.

"What employers avoid is the regularization of employees in order to evade providing higher wages and benefits. Big contractors [will] gain profit from this scheme," she added.

As for Zarate, the lawmaker urged the government to formalize a policy that would explicitly prohibit all forms of job contracting.

"Gusto lang ng EO na ito ay pahupain ang galit ng mga manggagawa sa pagtalikod ni Pangulong Duterte sa pangako niyang wakasan ang endo at kontraktwalisasyon," said Zarate.

(This EO just wants to temper the anger of laborers over President Duterte's failure to fulfill his promise to end contractualization.) – Rappler.com


Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.