Duterte bans 'endo', but urges Congress to amend Labor Code

CEBU. President Rodrigo Duterte with Labor Secretary Sivestre Bello III and other cabinet officials at the IEC Convention Center in Cebu City, for the 116th Labor Day celebration. (Arni Aclao/SunStar Cebu)

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte said he has finally signed an executive order (EO) imposing a total ban on all forms of unlawful contractualization in the country as a gift to the workers on Labor Day celebration Tuesday, May 1.

But he said the EO is not enough and Congress still needs to amend the "outdated" Labor Code "because you have to change or modify or entirely abrogate some of provisions" of the code governing employment practices.

Articles 106 to 109 of Presidential Decree 442 or the Labor Code of the Philippines permits companies to enter into contractual arrangements with their employees.

"I remain firm in my commitment to put an end to 'endo' (end of contract) and illegal contractualization. However, I believe that in order to implement an effective and lasting solution to the problems brought about by contractualization, Congress needs to enact a law amending the Labor Code," Duterte said.

"I recommend the entire revision or revisit the previous laws," he added.

Duterte's EO was read by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III during the Labor Day celebration in Cebu City.

The EO states that "contracting and subcontracting, when undertaken to circumvent the workers' right to security of tenure, self-organization and collective bargaining and peaceful concerted activities, pursuant to the 1987 Philippine Constitution, is hereby strictly prohibited."

Without the EO, companies are still allowed to enter into "legal" contracting and subcontracting arrangements that are not banned, as provided by Department Order 174 of the Department of Labor and Employment's (Dole).

The EO is also applied "to all parties, including cooperatives engaged in any contracting and subcontracting arrangements."

The President announced that he made good on his pledge to get rid of the unfair practice of short-term and unprotected temporary work scheme.

"More than a century has passed since the very first Labor Day was celebrated and yet, the struggle for a better life for our beloved workers continues," Duterte said in a keynote speech.

"I assure you that this government will never cease in its effort to provide every Filipino wokrer with full, dignified and meaningful employment. They deserve no less than decent and comfortable life," he added.

Malacañang has yet to release a copy of the EO as of Tuesday noon.

Duterte's announcement came amid the labor group's loud and persistent clamor for the Chief Executive's signing of the EO to ensure fair labor practices in the country.

The issuance of the EO was a fulfillment of Duterte's campaign promise to push for a long-term employment, in a bid to uphold the Filipino workers' right to security of tenure.

Apart from the EO, the President also signed a memorandum on April 17, directing the Dole to submit a list of companies that are engaged in labor-only contracting, which is prohibited under the labor agency's Department Order 174.

Duterte vehemently warned that "days are numbered" for firms that continue to practice labor-only contracting.

"To all non-compliant and abusive employers who are engaged in labor-contracting, your days are numbered," the President said. "I will see to it that our laws are strictly enforced. The government will not rest until we end the shameful labor practice." (SunStar Philippines)


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