Duterte to companies: Stop contractualization or I will close you

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday, August 1, he would be "unforgiving" to companies who continue to practice contractualization.

"Huwag na ninyo akong hintayin na mahuli ko kayo because I will be unforgiving. You will not only lose your money, you will lose your pants. No tolerance ako dito," Duterte said during a press conference in Malacañang Palace.

(Don't wait for me to catch you because I will be unforgiving. You will not only lose your money, you will lose your pants. I have no tolerance for this.)

Duterte's statement was prompted by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III telling him he needs more personnel to inspect companies to ensure they are not exploiting their workers.

But Duterte said companies should not wait for the inspection.

"My message to them is very simple: Do not wait for us to inspect," he said emphatically.

The President warned that he would close down the company and take away their permit once he or the labor department finds out they practice contractualization.

"Kapag nalaman ko (Once I find out), I will just simply close your plant and you would always find a thousand reasons to do it, believe me," he said.

Duterte was particularly distressed by the plight of security guards who are allegedly forced to work for 24 hours by security agencies.

"Alam mo, ito, sila they work 24 hours ang shift nila, when they're only supposed to render 8 hours. Alam mo, karamihan niyang may-ari ng security agencies, most of them are military men," said the President.

(You know, they work for 24 hours when they're only supposed to render 8 hours. You know, most of the people who own security agencies are military men.)

"I would like to tell you now: Magsunod kayo o ikakansela ko 'yung permit ninyo. Mamili kayo (Follow or I will cancel your permits. You choose)," he said as an ultimatum.

'Pay for benefits'

While he recognized the contribution of companies to the economy, he ordered them to give employees benefits even if it could cut into company profits.

"Pay all the benefits. Iyong mga outsource, ikaw 'yung ahensiya, the agency, you take over as the employer, then pay, lahat kayo. Huwag kayong yumaman diyan ng pawis ng kapwa ninyo tao. Kalokohan iyan," said Duterte.

(Pay all the benefits. All those who are outsourced, if you're the agency, take over as the employer then pay, all of you. Don't get rich from the sweat of your fellow man. That's nonsense.)

He wants companies to make benefits, like Social Security System (SSS) benefits, easily accessible to their employees.

"So bayaran ninyo lahat, SSS, at saka wala iyang paikot-ikot. Huwag ninyong paikutin," he said. (Pay for everything, SSS, and no beating around the bush, don't make them go in circles.)  

The President ended his tirade by saying, "If you do not take care of the workers, then I cannot take care of you."

Phasing out contractualization was among Duterte's major promises when he ran for president.

Labor Secretary Bello previously said he is considering requiring companies to regularize 80% of their employees. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.