Duterte to sign executive order vs endo 'anytime soon' – Bello

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is set to issue an executive order to broaden prohibitions against contractualization “anytime soon," the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) announced on Wednesday, January 17.

“We are waiting for the meeting of the labor sector with the President anytime this week or next week. During that meeting, we are expecting the President to sign an Executive Order regarding the issue of contractualization,” Labor Secretary Sylvestre Bello III said in a breakfast forum in Quezon City.

Bello added that the EO was drafted by labor groups and was concurred to by management groups. 

Duterte’s promise

DOLE's Department Order 174, released last March, already regulates job contracting through manpower agencies. But labor unions opposed this order, saying the practice should be abolished.

Contractualization is when an employer hires an employee on a fixed-term basis and continuously renews his or her contract to avoid giving benefits that a regular worker is entitled to. (READ: Ending contractualization needs 2 urgent actions from Duterte)

During a Labor Day event on May 1, 2017, Duterte himself promised to sign an EO with stricter provisions against the end-of-contract scheme or “endo.”

In a closed-door meeting Duterte asked labor leaders to draft the said ED and promised to review existing policies against the abusive practice. He also said the government will hire more labor inspectors.

On November 8, Bello met with the Nagkaisa labor coalition, along with other concerns of the workers’ sector, to discuss contractualization.

During the dialogue, DOLE agreed to come up with a joint draft of a proposed executive order (EO) to be submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte. The EO would prohibit labor-only contracting with certain exemptions, instead of just regulating it.

Regularize 300,000 workers

Bello also said that the department targeting to regularize at 300,000 contractual workers in 2018.

To do this, Bello "instructed our Undersecretary for Labor Relations to order all our regional offices to require all business establishments throughout the country to submit a list of their employees and the nature of their employment.” They must also submit a program of regularization, Bello added.

“Through our intensified labor inspections and voluntary regularization of collaborating establishments, we are expecting more workers to enjoy stable employment status. As President Duterte has committed, we are pursuing the campaign to stop this pernicious practice with more vigor,” he said.

At present, there are 541 Labor Laws Compliance Officers (LLCOs) who conduct assessment and inspection of around 937,554 small, medium and big business establishments in the country. On top of that are 55 social partners comprised of 45 labor groups, 5 employers’ groups, and 5 other organizations who were trained on Labor Laws and Social Legislation. – Rappler.com