Duterte to certify security of tenure bill as urgent

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday, May 1, said he would certify the security of tenure bill as urgent, as he called on Congress to pass the measure.

"A mere executive order is not enough. To the Senate, I certify the urgent [passage] of the bill on security of tenure to once and for all address the issue," he said during a Labor Day event in Cebu City.

Since the particular portion of his speech was garbled, Rappler asked Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque if the President intends to certify the bill as urgent. Roque replied, "Yes."

There is no document yet of Duterte's certification of the bill. The House of Representatives approved on 3rd reading its version of the bill in January. It seeks to ban the hiring workers for limited periods of time, or what is known as "fixed-term" labor contracts. 

Prior to his remarks on the bill, Duterte signed an executive order on contractualization. The order, however, does not include the provision that labor groups wanted – a stipulation that prohibits all forms of contracting and makes direct hiring the only legal arrangment. (READ: TIMELINE: Duterte's promise to abolish endo)

'Outdated'

Duterte said that the Labor Code, enacted in 1974 but amended several times since, is in dire need of amendments.

"It's outdated. I think Congress should come up with a new Labor Code to keep it attuned to the realities of our times," he said.

"I recommend the entire revision, or revisit the previous laws," added the President.

He also admitted in his speech the limitations of his new EO. 

"I could only do so much and a mere executive order is not enough because you have to change or modify or entirely abrogate some of the provisions," said Duterte.

The Labor Code allows some forms of contractualization. Labor groups have said the Code allows companies to get away with abusive practices, given the lax implementation of its provisions.

These groups, which submitted versions of the EO on contractualization, want a ban on all forms of contractualization, not just "illegal" forms.

Some lawmakers said they were disappointed with Duterte's EO, saying it brought nothing new to the table as its provisions are already in the current Labor Code.

Malacañang itself initially said Duterte would no longer sign an EO on contractualization, as recommended by the Department of Labor and Employment, as it would just be a reiteration of current policies. – Rappler.com