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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Labor group slams 'no total ban on contractualization' pronouncement

THE reluctance of the Palace to end labor contractualization is a strong indicator that the interests of the capitalist are given preference over that of the poor working class, a local labor leader said.

Malacañang on Monday admitted that the executive order (EO) to be inked by President Rodrigo Duterte is not enough to totally prohibit the unlawful contractualization in the country.

Wennie Sancho, secretary general of General Alliance of Workers Association (Gawa), on Tuesday, April 3, said this is an outright rejection of the labor protection clause in the Article 13 Section 3 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution pertaining to workers’ security of tenure.

Sancho said contractualization is now a hot potato that nobody wants to take the responsibility to address the problem.

“Security of tenure is the heart and core of the labor movement. Denying us of these rights is an abdication on the part of the government in its mandate that the state shall afford full protection to labor,” he said.

“This is an assault on our struggle for emancipation as we condemn this move as a treachery to the cause of the workers,” Sancho added.

The Malacañang pointed out that the pending EO on contractualization has limitations and the total ban itself is something that they cannot do by the order.

According to Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra, only Congress could end all forms of illegal contractualization by drafting a proposed measure that would amend the country's Labor Code.

Guevarra said a law is needed to repeal or amend a particular provision of the Labor Code for a total ban on contractualization to happen.

“An executive order is meant only to supplement or to give the implementing details of what the law provides. But it cannot add or subtract, or substantially alter what the law provides. That is really more for Congress to do. So I hope that you will understand the limitations on the executive order,” he added.

In February, the President promised labor groups to sign an EO banning unlawful forms of contractualization by March which he failed to do so.

Guevarra said the “main problem” is that labor groups' demands could only be met through a legislative action.

The local labor leader, however, claimed that a senator still need an EO to guide them in legislation.

Sancho said if the issue of contractualization will be passed to Congress for amendment, it is a disaster for the workers.

“There are many bills in Congress declaring labor contractualization as a criminal and illegal act but it did not take off,” Sancho said, adding that other bills against contractualization are gathering dust.

Labor groups in the country have been demanding the President to sign the EO absolutely ending “endo” or end of contract scheme.

While it has yet to be realized, the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) issued Department Order 174 in March 2017.

The DO sets stricter guidelines for contractualization, and superseding DO No. 18 providing the original guidelines on contracting and subcontracting.

Under which, 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 the prohibition of the continuous hiring of workers under a repeated contract of short duration by contractor and subcontractor like a manpower agency.

The guidelines 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.

“It provides prohibitions against contractualization but does not totally abolish such employment scheme,” the labor groups said.
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