Malacañang: Duterte EO on 'endo' to 'side with labor forces'

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque expressed confidence that the executive order (EO) on contractualization being finalized by Malacañang will take the position of labor groups.

"I would suppose, because it is a promise given by the President to labor groups, it will be an EO that will side with the labor forces," he said on Monday, April 16.

He was asked during a Palace press conference what the public could expect from the EO.

Labor groups had earlier claimed that President Rodrigo Duterte is set to sign the EO on Monday. But Roque said this was not in the President's schedule.

He also said that the EO likely has not yet been finalized. 

"I can only surmise that the final version of the EO has not been agreed upon by both labor, management, and government," he said.

But Duterte's spokesman said the President is keen on keeping his promise to workers to end the practice of contractualization. (READ: Why contractualization is bad for everyone, not just for workers)

"I know that the President is rather 'restive' about this EO. He has mentioned to me personally that this is a campaign promise he wants to deliver to the people very soon," said Roque.

The EO would possibly be finalized by May 1, Labor Day, added the spokesman. Duterte was supposed to sign the EO back in February but it was later postponed to March 15.

Labor groups' expectations

The Nagkaisa labor coalition had said on Sunday, April 15, that it would reject any other version of the EO except the version the labor groups proposed.

In the EO proposed by labor groups, there is a line that says: "Consistent with the policy of this administration, direct hiring shall be the general norm in employment relations." 

Nagkaisa opposed a version backed by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and proposed by the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP).

The labor group coalition denied that its proposed EO would lead to massive job loss. It also slammed Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III for "not exclusively endorsing the labor draft" to Malacañang.

However, Malacañang itself has said no EO can end contractualization as this will require Congress action. –

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