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DOLE order ending contractualization expected in February

MANILA, Philippines – Will it be a happy Valentine's for labor groups urging the government to end the illegal practice of contractualization?

Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Undersecretary Dominador Say said they plan to release the new policy that aims to end labor-only contracting this month.

"February, within this month. Malayo na siguro ang 3rd week (Third week would be the longest)," Say said, noting that Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III actually wants to sign it by February 14.

"The other day, sinabi niya na pipirmahan niya raw sa Araw ng mga Puso [para] handog sa puso," he also said. (The other day he said he would sign it on Valentine's Day to serve as a gift.)

It will replace the existing Department Order No. 18 (DO-18), the implementing guidelines of job contracting under Article 106 of the Labor Code of the Philippines. Labor groups argue that DO-18's introduction of a 3-way hiring scheme involving employers, contractors, and workers, led to abuse.

The DO, which was set to be released last December 28, is now on its second draft, and will consolidate all inputs from stakeholders. The department, early in January, opened the draft to comments from both the labor and management sectors.

The deadline for submission of suggestions was set last January 26, but Say said inputs continue to pour in. This may cause the delay of the finalization and release of the DO.

Win-win solution

Labor coalition group Nagkaisa has strongly opposed the proposed new DO since it orders contractors to regularize their workers. Nagkaisa said this does not give security of tenure to employees because continuing the contract is still under the sole discretion of employers. 

They urge the government to abolish the practice of hiring through contractors and to instead institutionalize direct-hiring. They also want to stop all forms of fixed-term employment. (READ: After Day 100: How Duterte gov't can fight contractualization better)

Nagkaisa wants the administration to certify as urgent the bill providing security of tenure – both filed in the Senate and House of Representatives.

It is also pushing to have an audience with President Rodrigo Duterte to air their concerns regarding the issue. Duterte promised during the campaign that he would put an end to labor contractualization.

Say said the labor sector has already filed a formal request for a meeting with the President. It is yet to be calendared, hopefully before February 14. – 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.

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