DOLE Usec Dominador Say resigns

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Labor Undersecretary Dominador Say resigned on Tuesday, April 17, amid the ongoing talks to end contractualization.

In a phone interview with Rappler, Say confirmed that he submitted his resignation letter to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Tuesday. Bello then brought Say's letter to the Office of the Executive Secretary.

"Simple lang para sa 'kin. Tapos na ang panahon ko. (It's simple for me. My time [with the department] is done.) Majority of my career is devoted to practicing management law. I want to save the department from undue criticism that I am 'pro-management' just because of my legalese language," Say told Rappler.

He added that he had been thinking of stepping down last January and last March, but he failed to get the approval of Bello both times.

He also said keeping him as an undersecretary would only delay the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) from achieving its targets.

"If DOLE wants to achieve the target of regularizing 300,000 Filipino workers, my resignation should be deemed approved as soon as possible," he said in a mix of English and Filipino.

With his resignation, Say now plans to return to his comfort zone.

"I'm going back to where I am comfortable – the practice of management law – with a new lens learned from being a part of the government," he said.

Say has served as DOLE undersecretary for employment and policy support since October 2016. He was responsible for the department order banning establishments from requiring their female employees to wear high heels at work.

He also used to be a consultant for Bello when the latter was the representative of 1-BAP party, during the 16th Congress from 2013 to 2016.

Labor group Sentro welcomed Say's resignation, saying that it would hopefully pave the way for the "immediate issuance" of the long-awaited executive order (EO) against contractualization.

"We hope that his resignation would now pave the way for the immediate issuance of an EO by President [Rodrigo] Duterte, that will make direct hiring by the principal employer as the norm in employment relations," said Sentro vice chairperson Daniel Edralin on Tuesday–

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.