ADMINISTRATION’S SUPPOSED NEW POLICY STILL LEGITIMIZES CONTRACTUALIZATION
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will likely promulgate next week a new department order amending the Department Order No. 18-A which implements Articles 106-109 of the Labor Code of the Philippines, as amended.
During the series of technical working group meetings among tripartite partners, it is apparent that the government is bent on adopting the so-called “win-win” solution being espoused by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). The workers’ groups expressed its disappointment upon learning the demands from island-wide consultations to prohibit the practice of contractual employment regime were completely set aside.
The trade union movement, regardless of ideologies and persuasions, strongly opposes the “win-win” solution being espoused by the Department of Trade and Industry, the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines and the Philippine Association of Local Service Contractors (PALSCON) as it will not guarantee the security of tenure of workers despite the provisions stating that contractor’s employees shall be considered as regular. Upon reviewing the proposed order, however, it could not afford to provide security for the employees, regular or otherwise, once the service agreement has been terminated or pre-terminated. In fact, the new policy does not actually promote job creation but a formal and regulated mill of unstable, temporary and unsecured jobs that in the end of the production belt, workers be out of work, as an ultimate sacrifice lamb to the business, due to “termination of agreement”. In this instance, it still, albeit regulated, legitimizes contractual employment, in whatever status.
The workers are now wondering what happened to campaign promise of President Rodrigo Duterte that he will end contractualization without compromise as it is “anti-worker” and even “anti-people”. The government’s supposed new policy on contractual employment merely reiterated the previous policies. In reality, there were no significant changes but sugar-coated declarations and phrases purportedly to appease the workers thus we completely rejected it.
We therefore stand by with our time-honored position, and in solidarity with entire country’s workers’ movement, that all forms of contractualization and fixed-term employment should be prohibited.
Our struggle will go on and we will not stop until such unfair employment regime has been abolished once and for all. We will continue the fight in the halls of Congress despite majority of whom are employers themselves and protectors of capitalists’ interests. Even then, we will still engage them until a new law that will regularize workers has been passed no matter how long it will take.
For now, the workers will face years of uncertainy, as far as security of tenure is concern, as Duterte's campaign promise to end contractualization is just an electoral gimmick .
Edwin A. Bustillos
National Anti-Poverty Commission
Formal Labor and Migrant Workers Sector
Mobile No. +639178017309