TWO days after its admission that an executive order (EO) is not the answer for a total ban on labor contractualization, Malacañang clarified Wednesday, April 4, that President Rodrigo Duterte is not abandoning his campaign promise of prohibiting short-term and unprotected temporary work arrangements.
Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Duterte remains committed to ending the unfair practice of contractualization in the country.
He said the President may consult with Congress, in a bid to fulfill his pledge to uphold workers' labor rights.
"Just because a total ban on contractualization cannot be done through an executive order, it does not mean that the President is giving up on his promise to stop or end contractualization," he said in a press conference.
"The President can do that in consultation or in coordination with Congress because as I earlier explained, there are things that only Congress can do to amend provisions in the Labor Code," Guevarra added.
Duterte had failed to fulfill his vow to the labor groups to sign by March 15 an EO that is projected to heed the workers' clamor to put an end to contractualization.
Instead, the President had expressed his intent to look for a "compromise" because of difficulties to push for the regularization of contractual employees.
In an interview on Monday, April 2, Guevarra admitted that Duterte's pending EO has "limitations," as it "cannot add or subtract, or substantially alter what the law provides."
Also on Monday, Guevarra stressed that Congress is the sole institution that can amend the Labor Code's provision that currently allows labor contractualization in the country.
Guevarra's recent remark earned backlash from labor groups who lamented the executive department's supposed reluctance to prohibit all forms of unlawful contractualization.
In his latest statement, Guevarra ensured that the executive branch would push for the amendment to Labor Code by coordinating with the legislative body.
"If there's need to be amended, Congress must amend that. The executive branch can only coordinate [with Congress] to pursue the legislative action [with regard to labor contractualization]," he said. (SunStar Philippines)