2022 PH presidential race

Isko Moreno: Contractualization ‘least of my problems’ amid pandemic

Pia Ranada
Isko Moreno: Contractualization ‘least of my problems’ amid pandemic

WORKERS' AGENDA. Isko Moreno talks to workers at the Pampanga's Best plant in San Fernando, Pampanga on October 28, 2021.

Isko Moreno campaign team

'Puwede 'yan bigyan ng panahon sa maayos na sitwasyon ng bansa. Trabaho muna,' says the presidential aspirant

Manila Mayor and presidential bet Isko Moreno said ending contractualization would not be among his immediate priorities if elected chief executive, saying he thinks the country needs to focus on bringing back jobs amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Naku, that’s the least of my problem. What I want is for you to have jobs, jobs, jobs. Temporary, immediate, basta magka hanapbuhay ka muna (as long as you have livelihood),” he said on Thursday, October 28, in Pampanga where he met with workers in three plants.

He made the statement when asked for his stand on contractualization.

‘Pag umuunlad na tayo, balikan natin ‘yung issue na ‘yun (When we start prospering, let’s return to that issue). For now, we must find a way how to stimulate, as government, businesses so that they can sustain jobs,” added Moreno.

Puwede ‘yan bigyan ng panahon sa maayos na sitwasyon ng bansa. Trabaho muna,” said the 47-year-old presidential aspirant.

(We can give that attention when the situation of the country is better. Jobs first.)

Earlier that day, Moreno said if elected president, he would help local governments use their bigger share of taxes as provided under the 2018 Mandanas ruling to help small businesses recover and create more jobs.

He proposed using the bigger funds to provide low-interest loans to small, micro, and medium enterprises, or to build hospitals, housing, and schools that would generate employment.

Workers and COVID-19

Ateneo de Manila political science professor Carmel Abao, sharing her view on Moreno’s remarks, said ending contractualization should be a priority of any new administration because it is an issue of injustice.

“The company already made tons of money from the work of contractuals but they still make do with low pay and no benefits. That’s why contractualization is an injustice, Mayor. That’s why it should be a top concern,” said Abao.

Many businesses were hit by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. Some employers have had to lay off workers due to dwindling income. Others have struggled to retain as many employees as they can.

The Duterte administration has programs providing loans and aid to businesses but the reach of such initiatives has been limited.

President Rodrigo Duterte himself promised to end contractualization as a 2016 presidential candidate. But in 2019, he vetoed the anti-endo or security of tenure bill, a letdown for labor groups who thought they had found their champion.

In his veto message, Duterte echoed the line of the business groups that opposed the bill, saying there are some forms of job-contracting that are “legitimate” and should be allowed. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.