THE DEPARTMENT of Labor and Employment (DoLE) has put in a request to President Rodrigo R. Duterte to certify as urgent a bill to end the practice known as “endo,” or employment until the end of the work contract, which denies workers a path to permanent employment.

In a televised briefing Wednesday, Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said he is “confident that (Mr. Duterte) will certify the bill this time.” Mr. Duterte had vetoed a previous version of the legislation in 2019.

In his veto message at the time, Mr. Duterte said the proposed law overly broadened the scope and definition of labor-only contracting, which in effect bans forms of contractualization “that are not particularly unfavorable to the employees involved.”

Mr. Bello said Mr. Duterte was ready to sign the Security of Tenure bill into law in 2019, but “the problem is that some labor groups opposed that bill.”

He said the new version of the bill, which is currently pending in the Senate, is “substantially the same” as the 2019 version, revising sections detailing which positions are allowed for contract work. 

The 2019 version of the bill prohibits fixed-term employment except for overseas Filipino workers, workers on probation, workers relieving absent colleagues not exceeding six months, project employees, and seasonal employees. 

A labor organization contested Mr. Bello’s claim, saying that the Duterte government must stop the “blame game.”

“It is President Duterte who vetoed the (bill) to begin with, which according to him is for the State to maintain the ‘healthy balance’ between laborers and management,” Defend Jobs Philippines said in a statement Wednesday. 

The group’s spokesman Christian Lloyd Magsoy added, “If the government is really serious in passing a law that will criminalize contractualization, then it must be independent (of the) influences and dictates of big business.” 

Ending the practice of labor contractualization was one of Mr. Duterte’s campaign promises in 2016. 

Separately, Mr. Bello said DoLE has conducted a dialogue with food delivery riders who were suspended by the Foodpanda service after they protested the company’s wage policy. He noted that of the 2,500 riders suspended, only 36 have not gone back to working with Foodpanda.

He said the DoLE regional office in Davao City, will meet with Foodpanda and the riders Thursday to further discuss matters.

He added that according to Foodpanda, the 10-year suspension policy has been discontinued. — Bianca Angelica D. Añago