A FEDERATION of labor groups called Nagkaisa held a synchronized rally in front of all Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) offices nationwide to lobby for the end of contractualization.

Art Barrit of the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) and Dennis Derige of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) said that President Rodrigo Duterte is scheduled to sign the executive order (EO) ending contractualization on or before March 15.

The labor groups believe that the issuance of the EO is long overdue, considering that ending contractualization in the country was a campaign promise of President Rodrigo Duterte in the May 2016 election.

“I think this is just a pencil-pushing activity but this a coordinated nationwide mass action by a united labor front under Nagkaisa. The President must sign that EO to end contractualization on or before March 15 because that is long overdue,” Barrit said.

He said Duterte promised to end 50 percent of contractualization in the country by the end of 2016 and the remaining half by the end of 2017.

Derige, for his part, said that once Duterte signs the EO, there will be no more fixed-term employment and labor-only contracting in several companies will be stopped.

“There will be direct hiring and the companies are mandated to comply with all the benefits for them like Social Security System (SSS), Philhealth and Pag-ibig Fund since they are regular employees,” he said.

According to Derige, Dole’s Department Order (DO) 174 issued last year, which provided guidelines on contracting and subcontracting, was good that an issuance of EO will no longer be needed. But he said the DO was a failure.

“It seems that our Dole Secretary Silvestre Bello III has a balancing act due to the lobby of the business sector,” he said.

Barrit said there are two versions of the EO submitted to Duterte, that of Dole and the labor groups. The latter, they believe favors the businessmen.

Dole 7 Director Cyril Ticao, when sought for comment, said that he didn’t know about this since all documents are prepared by their legal department. (EOB)