Over 60,000 workers regularized ahead of Duterte’s SONA 2017

Patty Pasion
Over 60,000 workers regularized ahead of Duterte’s SONA 2017
Around 20,000 workers are also pending for regularization, the labor department says

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has regularized more than 60,000 workers since its anti-contractualization drive started in mid-2016.

“As of today, we have regularized 60,321 workers since last year. We have also issued compliance order for the 22,000 workers whose regularization is still pending,” Labor Undersecretary Joel Maglungsod said Wednesday, July 19. 

DOLE previously reported it had regularized 49,393 employees on June 16, shortly before President Rodrigo Duterte marked his first year in office. 

It has also issued a compliance order to PLDT Incorporated in July, mandating the telecommunications company to regularize its 8,720 workers in Metro Manila. (READ: ‘Legal’ contractualization still allowed in new DOLE order

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in April that he would direct the regularization of the PLDT workers after discovering they perform core functions for the company.

Displaced workers 

Maglungsod also mentioned there were 1,558 workers who lost their jobs due to the agency’s stringent measures on contractualization. Some 1,345 of these were provided livelihood assistance and emergency employment. 

Maglungsod said employers sometimes file an appeal with the Office of the Secretary or even with the Court of Appeal to overturn the DOLE’s findings. 

Currently, the department is reviewing the implementing guidelines to address these loopholes. 

The announcement came as Duterte is set to deliver his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 24. 

Duterte failed to mention the issue of ending contractualization in his first SONA even if it was one of his major campaign promises, drawing criticism from militant groups. (READ: Ending contractualization needs 2 urgent actions from Duterte

Workers welcome the continuing drive of the department against contractualization. But the Federation of Free Workers (FFW) said that the DOLE should break down the data if those regularized were directly hired by employees or through manpower agencies. 

“If they were regularized with the manpower agency or manpower cooperative only, it will have no bearing on workers as there will be no improvements in working conditions and hardly any recognition of their rights. It will not significantly address precariousness of work,” the FFW said in a statement. –  

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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.