Duterte certifies security of tenure bill as urgent

MANILA -- President Rodrigo R. Duterte has certified the passage of the security of tenure bill as urgent, in efforts to fulfill his campaign promise of banning labor-only contracting in the country.

“Nag-certify po ng urgent ang ating Presidente para maisabatas ng Senado itong batas laban sa endo (The President has certified as urgent a bill in the Senate that will eliminate endo),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace briefing on Tuesday.

Earlier, Sen. Joel Villanueva, chair of the Senate Committee on Labor, released a copy of Duterte`s certification contained in the President`s letter to Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III dated September 21.

“Pursuant to the provisions of Article VI, Section 23 (2) of the 1987 Constitution, I hereby certify to the necessity of the immediate enactment of Senate Bill No. 1826,” Duterte’s letter to Sotto read.

In the letter, Duterte also said that the priority measure is expected “to strengthen workers’ security of tenure by prohibiting the prevalent practices of contractualization and labor-only contracting.”

Roque explained that the Senate version now prevents all labor-contracting “regardless of whether or not the contractor has substantial capital or investment.”

“Itong bersyon po ng Senado ay nagbabawal sa lahat ng labor-only contracting at hindi po nito ine-exempt ang mga contractor na malaki ang kapital or maraming investments (This Senate version bans all labor-only contracting and does not exempt contractors with huge capitals or investments),” Roque said.

On January 29, the Congress approved its version of the measure called House Bill No. 916 or the Anti-Endo Act.

Six-month rule

Once the law is passed, contractors will strictly follow the provision in the Labor Code that provides that an employee working in the company for six months have to be deemed as a regular employee.

“Ang mangyayari dapat diyan, yung mga contractual, gawing regular employees (What is expected to happen, is that contractual employees will have to be made regular employees),” Roque explained.

“May probisyon naman ang (There is an existing provision in the) Labor Code, six months, you’re deemed to be a regular employee,” he added.

Moreover, Roque said employees should be directly employed by companies and not be coursed through employment agencies.

“Kinakailangan po ngayon na direct na sila i-employ ng mga kumpanya. Hindi na ho dadaan sa employment agencies (They should be directly employed by companies. They shouldn’t have to go through employment agencies),” he added.

According to Roque, Duterte’s move to certify the Security of Tenure bill as urgent is his answer to labor workers’ protests that labor-only contracting is not completely abolished.

On May 1 (Labor Day), Duterte signed Executive Order No. 51 to ban end of contract (endo) or contractualization that violates the employees’ security of tenure.

However, he acknowledged that the Congress also needed to do its part to amend the existing Labor Code which he described as “outdated.”

The EO seeks the implementation of Article 106 of the Labor Code of the Philippines “to protect the right of security of tenure of all workers based on social justice in the 1987 Philippine Constitution”.

It “strictly” prohibits contracting or subcontracting “undertaken to circumvent the worker’s right to security of tenure, self-organization and collective bargaining, and peaceful concerted activities”. (PNA) Photo: PCOO