LABOR and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III said there is no total prohibition of contractualization in the country.
He made the statement at the sidelines of the 12th Safety Summit at Business Inn Hotel in Bacolod City Thursday, November 9, in response to the call of some members of militant groups who staged a protest rally outside the venue.
Bello pointed out that the government recognizes the “appeal” of protesters to absolutely stop “endo” or end of contract scheme, which is still the promise of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“However, what we are trying to eliminate is the illegal form of contractualization,” Bello said, reiterating that there are contract schemes allowed by law, including those for security guards and janitorial services.
Also, sourcing project-based and seasonal employees like sales ladies by big commercial establishments, mainly malls, are allowed.
Bello said malls hire additional workforce intended only during peak season like every December.
In Negros, the secretary stressed that the sugar industry would only require planting-workers during planting season. Harvesters, on the other hand, will only be needed during harvest time.
“Thus, it is really difficult to have total prohibition of contractualization,” Bello added.
Earlier this year, Bello signed Department Order (DO) No. 174 that sets stricter guidelines for contractualization, superseding DO No. 18 providing the original guidelines on contracting and subcontracting.
Labor groups had earlier slammed the labor department, citing that the new rules still allow “legal” contractualization.
Under the new DO, labor-only contracting, or the practice of merely recruiting or supplying workers to perform a job or work for an employer, is prohibited.
It limits “endo” through prohibition of continuous hiring of workers under a repeated contract of short duration by contractor and subcontractor like manpower agency.
The new guidelines also prohibit the “cabo” system and contracting work from an in-house agency or cooperative, due to a strike and those performed by union leaders to ensure employees’ rights to self-organization.
The Dole will not allow requiring employees to sign shorter-term contract and compelling agency-hired workers to do jobs being performed by regular employees of the principal company, it stated.
The protest rally was led by Kilusang Mayo Uno-Negros.
Aside from scrapping of DO 174, the group also called for wage increase and passage of Regular Employment Bill, among others. They called Bello as “inutil” and pro-capitalist.
Johnson Cañete, regional director of Dole Region 6, told SunStar Bacolod that Bello was supposed to “meet” the protesters after his speaking engagement at the summit.
However, they have already dispersed when the Labor chief was about to face them, Cañete said, adding that “the Secretary has always been welcoming to protesters even in Metro Manila.”