MANILA, Philippines – The country's fight against contractualization appears far from over, based on figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
The PSA's biennial Integrated Survey on Labor and Employment (ISLE) showed that 54% of the estimated 31,277 establishments with more than 20 workers employ agency-hired workers.
The survey defines agency-hired workers as those who are "employed by contractors to perform or complete a job, work or service pursuant to a service agreement within the premises of the establishment."
These are the workers who are also vulnerable to "endo" (end of contract), or when employees are hired via short-term but regularly renewed contracts.
Ending contractualization, a practice since the Marcos era, is one of the key promises of President Rodrigo Duterte.
According to the survey, the manufacturing industry had the most number of agency-hired workers at 45% or 311,722 when the survey was conducted in June 2016. This was followed by the wholesale and retail trade industry at 13.58%.
The transportation and storage, accommodation and food service, and administrative support service industries have the lowest share at 5.57%, 5.52%, and 4.63%, respectively.
In terms of job nature, majority of contractual workers are engaged in production or assembly line tasks in the manufacturing industry.
Second in the list are workers in security services, which comprise 19.72% of the type of contracted jobs.
Janitorial service continues to be contracted out from manpower agencies but it only accounts for 9.52%.
In its year-end report to the media, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said 125,000 workers have been regularized, or 62% of the 2017 target.
DOLE has not set a target for the new year but efforts against "endo" continue, said Labor Undersecretary Joel Maglungsod.
Last year, the agency had released Department Order 174, which sets stricter guidelines for contracting out labor.
The Labor Code of the Philippines, under Article 106, allows employers to forge an agreement with contractors to do jobs necessary, but not central, to business operations.
Labor unions have since rejected the directive and urged Duterte to sign an executive order that will prohibit – and not just regulate – labor contracting. (READ: Keeping 'endo' alive: DOLE's Department Order No. 174)