Bello to Clark Freeport Zone companies: Do not be afraid, we are here to help you

"Do not be afraid, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is not here to close your companies; rather, it is here to help you."

This was Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III's message to some 300 representatives from different Clark Freeport Zone (CFZ) locators who recently attended the Employer's Forum at the Royce Hotel and Casino.

Bello told the CFZ locators that the DOLE has started a regional information dissemination drive to educate employers and employees on contractualization, 'endo', and labor-only contracting (LOC).

"Many are confused between the so-called 'endo' and contractualization. Today's employer's forum is the best opportunity for you to learn and know more about these prevailing issued faced by industries and how they can be addressed," Bello explained.

"The Clark Freeport Zone is one of the best locations for your business and if we continue to look out for the best interest of our people, then we are assured that the companies continue to make economic progress, and so will its workers," Bello said.

Bello also assured Clark Freeport Zone companies will not have any problem as long as they will support and cooperate with the government's call to stop contractualization and 'endo'.

"We assure you all that we don't intend to persecute or harass anybody in the business. What we want to stress here is the most important element of employment, which is security of tenure. If you can assure us that your employees are secured, then you have nothing to worry about," Bello said.

The Secretary said no other than President Rodrigo Duterte consistenly reminds him to urge all to stop any form of contractualization and other similar work arrangements where security of tenure of workers are at the mercy of their employers. I'm sure that it has been explained to you what 'endo' and contractualization means, so you don't have to worry, as long as your employees have security of tenure, we are allies."

Bureau of Labor Relations Director Atty. Benjo Santos Benavidez, who served as the forum's resource person, said that contracting or subcontracting in itself is not illegal since this is allowed under the provisions of the Labor Code of the Philippines.

"Contracting is legal if the contractor or subcontractor is registered under Department Order No. 18-A or the rules and regulations governing contracting and subcontracting, carries a distinct and independent business, and has a substantial capital or investment," Benavidez explained.

"Labor-only contracting is an arrangement where the contractor or subcontractor merely recruits, supplies, or places workers to perform job, work, or service for a principal; does not have substantial capital or investment; and does not exercise the right of control over the performance of the work of the employee," Benavidez said.

He added that 'endo' or end of contract, which is a system where employers hire and fire probationary employees to avoid making them regular employees, deprives workers from benefits that come with being regular employees, such as paid leaves, bonuses, overtime, and member contributions to social and health benefits.

This month, the DOLE will continue its series of information dissemination on contractualization, 'endo', and LOC with the different Industrial Tripartite Councils residing in the region.

Source: Philippine Information Agency