Labor groups urge Duterte to certify anti-contractualization bill as urgent

Patty Pasion
Labor groups urge Duterte to certify anti-contractualization bill as urgent
They say the department order submitted to the President won't fix the Labor Code provisions that legalize subcontracting through placement agencies

MANILA, Philippines – Instead of abolishing contractualization through a new order by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), President Rodrigo Duterte should certify as urgent House Bill 444 or the Security of Tenure Act, labor groups said.

“Nagkaisa calls on President Duterte to certify House Bill 4444 to definitely prohibit and criminalize contractualization and all forms of fixed-term contracts,” the coalition of several labor groups said in a statement on Wednesday, January 4.

Filed by Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) Representative Raymond Mendoza, the measure aims to secure regular jobs by amending the provisions of the Labor Code of the Philippines, which legalizes subcontracting or the practice of outsourcing labor through 3rd party agencies.

“Direct hiring should be institutionalized and prohibit agency-hiring by prohibiting fixed-term employment,” Nagkaisa spokesperson Rene Magtubo said in a mix of English and Filipino during a rally on Wednesday.

Dozens of Nagkaisa members trooped to Mendiola near the presidential palace to urge Duterte to junk the DOLE order that aims to end the illegal practice of labor-only contracting. (READ: Labor groups reject DOLE’s ‘stricter endo’ order

The groups said that Department Order 168, signed by Secretary Silvestre Bello III and brought to Malacañang on December 29, will only perpetuate contractualization because it orders the regularization of workers through their manpower agencies and not by the principal employers.

Dialogue with Duterte

Labor leaders also called for a dialogue with the President.

“We are calling out to him to give us a chance to have a dialogue with him face-to-face. Three employers have spoken with him but none from the labor sector,” Magtubo said.

Among the things they wish from the President is to appoint a labor secretary who will “devote his full attention to the needs of workers during this crucial period of uncertainties stalking the world of work.”

Bello currently serves as both DOLE chief and Philippine peace panel chairperson in the bilateral talks with the Left.

These labor groups said they do not feel the fulfillment of the President’s campaign promise. In its first 5 months, the administration has been able to regularize only 25,000 workers. (READ: After Day 100: How Duterte gov’t can fight contractualization better) – Rappler.com

Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.