MANILA, Philippines – Speaking to labor union leaders on Labor Day, Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II promised to put an end to unfair labor practices, and to ensure that the government is "open and ready to listen."
"Ano po ang maaasahan ninyo sa termino ni Mar Roxas? Una po, tulad noong nasabi ko, pantay ang laban. Bukas at handa na makinig," Roxas said on Sunday, May 1, during the national convention of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP).
(What can you expect from a Mar Roxas presidency? First, like I said, there will be fairness. The government will be open and ready to listen.)
TUCP, which boasts of over a million members, endorses Roxas and his running mate Leni Robredo.
Listening, Roxas said, includes responding to labor groups' longtime call for the government to put an end to "endo" or contractual labor.
"Nasabi ko po ito doon sa debate, 'yung 'endo,' ie-endo natin ang 'endo.' Napag-aralan na po ito. Hindi kakayanin ng mga memorandum circular lamang ng DOLE. Importante na 'yung mga loophole, 'yung mga palusot na nasa interpretasyon ng batas ay masarhan natin. Kaya 'yan ang gagawin natin, 'yung pagsasaayos ng batas para matapos na nga itong gawain na ito," said Roxas, to the applause of the crowd.
(As I mentioned during the debate, we will end "endo." This has already been studied. "Endo" cannot be stopped merely through a memorandum circular from the DOLE. What's important is that the loopholes in the law are addressed. That's what we will do, we will amend the law to finally end "endo.")
Roxas had earlier made the same commitment during the last Commission on Elections presidential debate in Dagupan City. All other presidential bets made the same vow. (READ: No to 'endo' or contractual labor – presidential bets)
The LP president-on-leave said allies in Congress – many of whom are seeking reelection in 2016 – are already "familiar" with the issue. Roxas said he was "confident" the measure would get legislative approval.
WATCH: Roxas vows to work with Congress to put an end to "endo." #PHvote https://t.co/AGxAh3EzmJ — Bea Cupin (@beacupin) May 1, 2016
Roxas, however, clarified that ending contractual work would have to depend on the particular sector.
"Maaasahan ninyo 'yung pantay na treatment, pantay na pagtingin dito sa mga issues na ito. Halimbawa, may mga trabaho talaga tulad ng sa construction, isang building, eh 'yan naman talaga may simula at may katapusan 'di ba? Hindi naman pwede na pipilitin natin na maghihire ang isang construction company ng mga trabahador na wala naman silang kontrata, malulugi lang sila, mababankrupt lang sila, walang saysay 'yun, walang kabuluhan 'yun diba? Meron namang mga ibang trabaho, halimbawa bookkeeper, salesperson, na 'yun naman talaga ang trabaho eh, walang simula, walang tigil, 'yun ang talagang ginagawa, sa mga trabahong ganun palagay ko karapat-dapat lamang na 'yung mga tumutugon sa trabaho na 'yun ay regular," he said.
(You can be assured of fair treatment, an objective view of these issues. For example, there are certain jobs such as those in the construction industry – when they construct one building, there's a specific timeframe for that. We can't force a construction company to hire workers when it does not have a contract for a building. The company will just go bankrupt. That will be meaningless, right? But there are other jobs, like being a bookkeeper, salesperson, those jobs do not have a specific beginning and end. For those kinds of jobs, then the workers should be regular employees.)
Roxas' sentiment echoes that of the TUCP's leadership.