MANILA, Philippines – Labor groups hoping for President Rodrigo Duterte to end contractualization through an executive order (EO) may be in for a disappointment.
Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra sought to temper expectations about the upcoming EO, after the Office of the Executive Secretary began studying a draft EO proposed by labor groups.
"The total ban itself is something we cannot do by EO," he said on Monday, April 2, during a Palace press conference.
Guevarra said the "main problem" of the EO submitted by labor groups is that the substantial provisions can only be achieved by amending the country's Labor Code – something the legislative branch can do, but not the executive branch.
"You need a law to repeal or amend that particular provision of the Labor Code. An EO is meant only to supplement or give the implementing details of what the law provides but it cannot add or subtract or substantially alter what the law provides. I hope you will understand the limitations of an EO," he said.
Thus, any Duterte-signed EO on contractualization would be more to reinforce existing regulations on labor and workers' rights.
Asked how different the EO would be from Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) orders, Guevarra said, "Honestly, not much." (READ: DOLE denies delaying signing of EO vs contractualization)
All Malacañang would be able to do to aid the effort in ending contractualization is to make a strong push for it among Congress leaders.
Guevarra said this would likely happen when the EO is released and labor groups are not satisfied with it.
"If the labor sector is still unhappy about the EO, then that's probably the time we do consultations with Congress," he said.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.