Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Party-list lawmaker wants to criminalize labor-only contracting

TRADE Union Congress of the Philippines Party-list Representative Raymond Democrito Mendoza said Thursday, August 8, that he will re-file a bill seeking to end illegal contractualization and criminalize labor-only contracting.

"We are to refile a bill na ibalik lang yung criminalization of labor-only contracting. Take note job contracting is legal. What is strictly prohibited now is labor-only contracting. These are the amendments that we are going to file," Mendoza said in a press conference Thursday together with Kabayan Party-list Rep. Ron Salo.

His proposed measure will also authorize the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary to determine whether a contractualization scheme is against the law or not.

The measure would be their version of the Security of Tenure Bill, which President Rodrigo Duterte vetoed on July 26, 2019, Mendoza said.

“We were so happy na in the 17th Congress, it was passed overwhelmingly. [In] the Senate, it was passed also. Magaling ang pagdadala ni Senator Joel Villanueva,” he recalled.

Salo, for his part, acknowledged the need to achieve a balance as cited by President Rodrigo Dutere in his veto message.

“I’m one with the workers in advocating their security of tenure. But at the same time, we respectfully note the President’s decision,” Salo said.

“I completely agree with the stand of the President in as much as he’s trying to balance things out. Mahirap din po kasi na i-sacrifice natin yung mga investment opportunities, yung mga employers natin, para magkaroon ng security of tenure,” he added.

He said what is more important is creation of more job opportunities.

“Ang higit nating kailangan din ay higit na mas maraming trabaho sa ngayon. Ang magiging sakripisyo natin, yung bang pagkakaroon ng security of tenure ng iilan at the expense of pagkakaroon ng trabaho nang marami,” Salo said.

At the Senate, Minority Leader Franklin Drilon stressed the need to secure Duterte's commitment before Congress would discuss a new Security of Tenure or anti-endo bill.

Endo refers to end of contract, a scheme wherein a person is contracted for six months and fired before the six-month period is over. Under the law, an employee has to be regularized after six months and entitled to certain benefits.

"We should secure Malacanang's commitment that a new version of endo bill will not be vetoed. It will be a futile exercise to revive it without that commitment. The DOLE and NEDA should agree on one version," Drilon said in a statement, referring to the Department of Labor and Employment and the National Economic and Development Authority.

He noted that during the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council meeting, the measure was not included in the initial list of priority measures for the 18th Congress.

"I am less optimistic that an endo bill is possible without Congress getting Malacanang's full support. Let's face it, it is the President who holds the veto pen. Therefore, it is critical that for measures as important as the endo bill that we must secure the full support of Malacanang," he said.

Drilon said House members should ensure support from Cabinet secretaries before the upper chamber reviews the measure. (Ryniel Berlanga/SunStar Philippines)


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