22 March 2017

Endo DO contrary to Duterte’s promise – CTUHR

The labor rights group Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) slammed today the Department of Labor and Employment’s new order on contractualization, saying the latter is contrary to the promise of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte of ending the labor scheme.

CTUHR said Department Order 174 or the “Rules Implementing Articles 106-109 of the Labor Code” is very disappointing to workers, labor groups and labor advocates, as it continues to legalize and will promote contractualization.

“This DO is a disservice to workers and all Filipinos. It continues the violation of workers’ right to security of tenure. Labor groups and advocates spent a lot of time and effort in dialogues that yielded a united stand on the issue, only for the DOLE to come up with a DO that continues to legalize contractualization,” said Daisy Arago, CTUHR executive director.

She said the DO is no different from Aquino’s DO 18-A Series of 2011 and that by stating the 11 prohibited forms of contractual work, it gives employers the convenience to go around the policy to continue contractualization in the guise of abiding by this order.

The Center also expressed much dismay over DOLE Sec. Silvestre Bello’s statements that he only has limited power and cannot do anything to abolish contractualization and that it is the Legislature which must act on the demand, saying this is a lame excuse.

“This simply shows the lack of sincerity of the DOLE and the Duterte administration. It is now clear to us that the promise to eradicate contractualization is a mere campaign promise which this administration is not planning to carry out,” said Arago.

CTUHR also said that Bello’s statement that the DO is neither pro-labor nor pro-employer, but pro-industrial peace is “disgusting.”

“The DOLE’s so-called ‘industrial peace’ will never be about workers’ welfare so long as government policies continue to protect the interests of the capitalists and employers. It will remain to be a futile policy to pacify the growing clamor of workers for their rights and dignity,” Arago stated.

CTUHR warned that the new DO will result in worse conditions for contractual workers, who will continue to be subjected to underpayment of wages, lack of social protection and benefits, forced overtime and precarious working conditions.

It also said that with the supposed “stricter regulation,” it can also be expected that the workers’ right to organize will be further curtailed.

The group also cited the September 2016 recommendation of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (UN CESCR) which reviewed the Philippines’ status in terms of economic, social and cultural rights.

The UN CESCR expressed concern over the rampant contractualization of workers in the country, low level of workers’ protection and precarious working conditions. One of the highlights of the recommendations is: “Put an end to the ‘Endo’ system, and strengthen the monitoring of employers regarding the abusive casualization of workers.”

The Center called on the Duterte government to heed this recommendation which echoes the clamor of the country’s workers

“Even the UN is calling for an end to endo. If the Duterte government is serious in bringing change to the lives of the Filipino workers and people, it should end this abusive employment scheme. This is key to uplifting the lives and protecting the rights and dignity of workers,” Arago said.###