DOLE denies delaying signing of EO vs contractualization

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) denied allegations on Wednesday, February 28, that it is delaying the signing of the executive order (EO) ending contractualization.

In a statement, Labor Undersecretary Joel Maglunsod said President Rodrigo Duterte met with Partido Manggagawa earlier in February, and the EO proposed by labor groups will have to be studied by Duterte's legal advisers first.

"They have to have [a] little patience as the President is doing his best to address the problems of labor contractualization," Maglunsod said. (READ: Ending contractualization needs 2 urgent actions from Duterte)

Maglunsod noted that the House of Representatives passed House Bill No. 6908 or the security of tenure bill in late January.

He added that DOLE is currently working with the Senate so that the counterpart of the bill there would also be passed.

"I appeal to the labor groups to have [a] little patience as DOLE is doing everything possible to end contractualization of labor," said Maglunsod.

More time?

Rene Magtubo, Nagkaisa labor coalition spokesperson, pointed out that ending contractualization was a campaign promise of Duterte back in 2016.

"[I]t was the President who made a campaign promise that the moment he becomes the Chief Executive, contractualization will stop.... Several times he asked leaders of Nagkaisa labor coalition that he be given more time to realize his pledge," Magtubo said.

Labor groups met with Duterte on February 27, 2017, then on May 1, 2017, and earlier this February, but no EO has been finalized yet. (READ: No 'endo' in 2017? Challenge of ending labor contractualization)

According to Magtubo, labor groups are asking the President to bring back direct hiring and prohibit the end-of-contract scheme.

"[The labor-drafted EO] recognizes that there are types of jobs that can be contracted as long as it passes through consultation with the National Tripartite and Industrial Peace Council," he said.

"[That] is the fairest middle ground or compromise that labor [groups] can take. A watered-down version of an EO is unacceptable," he added.

In March 2017, DOLE issued Department Order (DO) No. 174 that sets stricter guidelines for contractualization. Labor groups said the DO only "legalizes" the end-of-contract scheme.

Last year, DOLE was able to regularize at least 125,000 of the 200,000 contractual workers it planned to put in permanent positions. There are an estimated 1.3 million contractual employees in the country. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

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

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