Legislative action needed to end contractualization: Palace

MANILA Even if President Rodrigo R. Duterte signs an executive order (EO) abolishing labor contractualization or "endo," legislative action will still be needed to ban it completely, a MalacaAang official said Monday.

Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra explained that the EO only had the power to require much stricter compliance of existing labor regulations.

That draft EO has been under study in our office for quite some time. The main problem there is what people want to happen is something that the executive department is not empowered to do, we need legislative action, Guevarra said in a Palace briefing.

If you want something like a total ban on contractualization, you need a law to repeal or amend that particular provision of the Labor Code, he added.

Guevarra explained that an EO is meant only to supplement what the law provides but it cannot add, subtract or substantially alter it.

That's really more for Congress to do, Guevarra said.

Guevarra said there was a slim chance that the EO to abolish endo would be released, but stressed that it did not mean it was a death sentence.

There's a slim chance, but not really on the substantive side of it. Maybe it's really more on strictly enforcing the existing provisions of the law, Guevarra said.

Not a death sentence. The executive can make that, you know, an initiative can have the initiative in making that proposal and pushing for it in Congress, he added.

Guevarra said that the Office of the President is currently trying to "harmonize" all draft EOs submitted to them.

We are still trying to do our best to come up with an executive order that can be acceptable to the labor sector, Guevarra said.

He said that if labor groups are still unhappy with the EO they would come up with, they would resort to consultations with Congress.

Last month, Duterte sought for a "compromise" on endo, stressing how difficult it was to force employers to abolish the practice completely.

I don't think that I can really give them because we cannot force capitalistsif they don't have money or if they're lazy, Duterte said during the inauguration of the newest shooting range of ARMSCOR Shooting Center, Incorporated (ASCI) in Davao City.

Don't make it hard for them to run the business the way they like it because that's their money. So something of a compromise must be maybe acceptable to everybody, he added.

A labor group, meanwhile, remains optimistic that Duterte would fulfill his campaign promise to end endo.

We believe the President will never renege on his promise to end contractualization, Michael Mendoza, president of the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines-Nagkaisa (ALU-TUCP-Nagkaisa) said in an earlier statement.

It is a marked promise critical to ensuring inclusive growth under his administration. Sadly, the President obviously has been misled or misinformed about the demands of workers, he added.

Source: Philippine News Agency