PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte remains bent on fulfilling his promise to put an end to "unfair" practices of short-term and temporary work arrangements in the country, Malacañang said on Friday, July 26.
This was the assurance of Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo after legislators expressed dismay and the labor sector felt betrayed over Duterte's decision to veto the proposed Security of Tenure Act.
"The authors of the Security of Tenure bill, as well as the members of both Houses of Congress, should not be crestfallen and disappointed nor should the labor sector feel saddened and betrayed by the President’s veto of the SOT bill," Panelo said in a statement.
"While the President has vetoed the enrolled bill which attempts to strengthen the security of tenure of our workers, his promise to end unfair practices of contractualization, such as labor-only contracting and end-of-contract (endo) schemes, remains and will be pursued, if not soonest, still within the term of the President," he added.
In a veto message on Friday, Duterte said he decided to reject the proposed measure as he intends to allow business firms' practice of "legitimate" job-contracting that will "result in economy and efficiency in their operations, with no detriment to the workers, regardless of whether this is directly related to their business."
The President noted that the "sweeping expansion" of the definition of labor-only contracting "destroys the delicate balance and will place capital and management at an impossibly difficult predicament with adverse consequences to the Filipino workers in the long term."
"We remind our workers that the President issued Executive Order No. 51 on Labor Day last year. The President ordered the Secretary of Labor and Employment to inspect establishments of employers and issue compliance orders, to ensure that prohibited forms of circumventing or frustrating the entitlement of our workers to security of tenure as guaranteed by the Constitution are eliminated," Panelo said.
The President’s resolve to put a stop to the practice of exploiting the working class is undiminished as exemplified by the regularization of 462,428 workers from August 2016 to May 2019, he added.
Panelo explained that Duterte has to come up with such decision so as not to bring "self-destruction" to employers in the country.
He noted that the current administration's objective is "always to strike a balance between an avowed predilection for labor, on the one hand, and the maintenance of the legal rights of capital, on the other.”
"The constitutional guarantee of security of tenure does not authorize this Government to oppress or cause the self-destruction of our employers," the Palace official said.
"Our country cannot afford business closures as it will pain us seeing a decline of job opportunities for our labor force. While no business can survive without its employees, nor can persons be employed without a business hiring. Labor and management can not exist without each other," he added.
Despite Duterte's move to veto the security of tenure bill, Panelo was confident that Congress would continue drafting a measure that would be fair to both labor and business sectors.
"As we sincerely thank Congress for heeding the President’s call to enact measures which are protective of the rights of our laborers, we also invite them to continue crafting a policy that will uphold both social justice and fair play by giving due consideration on the socio-economic survival of our nation," he said.
"We are confident that the honourable members of Congress will legislate a law that will be both protective of the rights of the workers and the business sector that not only will bring industrial equanimity but propel further the economy to greater heights for the betterment of our country and people," Panelo added. (SunStar Philippines)