THE labor department has no timetable for the signing of the executive order (EO) which hopes to abolish the practice of contractualization or “endo,” as promised by President Rodrigo R. Duterte during his campaign.

“The President did not deny the fact that he made that commitment to end endo or contractualization in his campaign. However, the executive order was prepared by labor groups. The President said he will have it studied first so no deadline has been set,” Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Undersecretary Jacinto V. Paras said in a news conference on March 16.

Mr. Duterte reportedly promised to sign the EO on March 15. His inaction on the EO on Thursday triggered protests from labor groups.

Contractualization denies workers a path to permanent employment and benefits by terminating their employment before the law makes them eligible for such status.

Mr. Paras noted that the President is seeking to balance the interests of industry and workers.

“As a matter of fact, I can speak being the undersecretary that handles legislative (coordination), we are actually pushing for the passage of a law that would end contractualization,” Mr. Paras said.

“From my personal point of view, even if you issue the EO only for the Congress to pass a law later, the law will prevail… that would be the Bible for ending contractualization,” Mr. Paras added.

House Bill 6908 or the Security of Tenure Bill was approved by the House of Representatives on third reading on Jan. 29. The Senate version, meanwhile, is still pending with the Senate committee on labor. — Minde Nyl R. Dela Cruz