Duterte’s Extension on EO vs Endo, Tactics to Keep the Unions Hoping While Tempering Increased Dissatisfaction

February 20, 2018

Labour rights group, Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR), scored President Duterte’s refusal to sign the draft Executive Order (EO) on ending contractualization submitted to him by the labor sector last February 7 as double-edged tactics to keep the unions’ hoping while tempering increased dissatisfaction over his unfulfilled promises.  Malacanang called on different labour groups in a dialogue last February 7 to ask the groups to give him until March 15 to study the proposed EO.

“Why another extension to decide on the EO ending contractualization if he’s truly sincere to fulfill his promises. The workers have waited long enough and been patient more than they can endure on the Duterte administration to deliver his promises, Daisy Arago, CTUHR Executive Director, said.  Arago added that the workers have been suffering from the lack of job security, low wages and precariousness. This is reflected in the increasing poverty rate amongst the so-called employed both in the formal (from 15%-18%) and informal sector which stands at 25%, according to the Philipines Statistics Authority.

CTUHR added that last year, he handed over the responsibility to address the `endo’ at the Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE).  Then DOLE issued Department Order 174, which the government considers as its “win-win” solution actually institutionalizes than ends the pervasive practices of contractualization. The order enrages the workers instead, and he again announced that he will be issuing an EO.

“Workers continue to hang on his promises while Duterte seems to be addicted to “extensions” and “promises” but ultimately fails to keep them and continues to turn blind eye to their sufferings,” Arago said.

CTUHR underscores that the administration has gone so far in considering the interests of big businesses and foreign investors, but gives little or no regard at all of the workers and the people who put him in power,” Arago said.  The labour rights group cited the TRAIN law implemented since last month that multiplies instead of reduce the burden workers and the poor have to bear.

CTUHR expresses alarm that the extension which President Duterte asked from the labor sector is buying off time to get the dubious Security of Tenure Bill or House Bill 6908 approved by Congress. The Lower House approved the HB 6908 on January 31, which according to the group, offers no solution to resolve the widespread contractualization in the country. It simply affirmed the Labor Code’s existing prohibition on labor-only contracting but actually allows and legalizes job-contracting without distinction to the kind of jobs, operation or function that principal companies can contract-out.

“Protection against contracting-out of regular function or operations or what is called by the current law as `necessary and desirable’ to the business of principal company is the anchor of regular jobs. Thus destroying it, destroys the condition where principal companies keep regular workers and can result to more flexibilization of work more than what is practiced now”, Arago explained.

CTUHR urged President Duterte to act swiftly to stem the rising job insecurity and work informalization, to sign the EO ending all forms of contractualization and to restore the dignity in work that contractualization takes from workers wholesale. It also urges the administration to implement a national minimum wage.

CTUHR also calls on labor groups to unite against HB 6908 and to expose the dangers it poses n0t only on job security but on trade union work as well. ###