By Alyssa Nicole O. Tan

SENATE President Vicente C. Sotto III, who is running for vice-president (VP) , said the Palace is on the verge of breaking its promise to end the practice of labor contractualization, and expressed his disappointment about the President’s decision to veto a 2019 bill, which he said had arrived at a balance of interests between workers and employers.

“For whatever reason, the fact is, (the 2019 bill) was vetoed,” told BusinessWorld in a Viber message on Thursday. “Employees waited for it. Employers were against it… We worked on the bill that was equitable for all stakeholders. It’s sad that the executive felt that way.”

The administration’s term is about to end without addressing contractualization, which is known as “endo.” Endo denies workers a path to permanent employment by engaging them in contracts that do not bring them past the six-month probation period. Employers are obliged to grant their workers regular status after they complete six months’ probation.

Re-electionist Senator Emmanuel Joel J. Villanueva has promised to refile the Security of Tenure (SoT) bill if he is returned to office after the May polls.

On Thursday, the President’s acting spokesman, Jose Ruperto Martin M. Andanar said in a statement that the SoT bill that had been vetoed “unduly broadens the scope and definition of prohibited labor-only contracting, effectively proscribing forms of contractualization that are not particularly unfavorable to employees involved.”

“The President hopes that Congress would rectify the vetoed provisions as he remains committed to eradicating all forms of abusive employment practices and protecting the workers’ right to security of tenure,” Mr. Andanar added.

Under the bill, workers will be classified as either regular or probationary employees. Project and seasonal workers will be considered regular employees. The services of any worker cannot be terminated without cause.

In July 2019, the President said in his veto message that the SoT bill contains a “sweeping expansion of the definition of labor-only contracting, (which) destroys the delicate balance and will place capital and management at an impossibly difficult predicament with adverse consequences to the Filipino workers in the long term.”