By Camille A. Aguinaldo
SENATOR Emmanuel Joel J. Villanueva on Tuesday said the Senate needed the executive order (EO) on contractualization to guide them in coming up with a law banning the labor practice and to ensure its effectiveness once enacted.
“We expect the EO to provide the framework and guidance for the implementation of a national policy on contractualization,” Mr. Villanueva, chair of the Senate committee on labor, employment and human resources development, said in a text message to reporters.
His statement was in response to pronouncements by Malacañang on Monday that a total ban on contractualization as sought by labor groups needed “legislative action” instead of an executive order by the President.
Senior Deputy Executve Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said on Monday’s Palace press briefing that the draft EO on the labor practice was merely limited to strict enforcement of existing laws.
Mr. Villanueva said the committee report on the contractualization bill at the Senate was now on its “final stage” for plenary action. Its counterpart measure at the House of Representatives was passed last January.
While agreeing with Malacañang’s position, the senator said they could not base the proposed measure on “news items” or without the clear position of the executive branch which could be reflected on the EO.
“We want to ensure that what we are legislating is useful and effective,” he said.
Mr. Villanueva also noted that while the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) has attended the Senate hearings on contractualization, the agency has yet to submit “a clear position” on the issue.
“One important factor that we are considering is the inputs of DoLE, since we believe that their inputs will ensure that what we legislate is operationable since they are responsible for the implementation of the proposed law,” he said.
The proposed measure, also called the Security of Tenure bill, has been identified by the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) as among the priority bills of Congress.
Opposition lawmakers at the House of Representatives, meanwhile, slammed Malacañang’s “defeatist stance” over the passage of contractualization law to end “endo.”
“Defeatist and escapist, when the (P)resident is passing the burden to [C]ongress that is finalizing a sham bill,” Anakpawis party-list Rep. Ariel B. Casilao said in a statement.
“The bill is an insidious and rapacious attack to the job security of current regular employees; it is intended to depress wages and destroy unions using in vain the name of security of tenure as a pretext,” Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani T. Zarate said.
ACT Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio L. Tinio echoed this sentiment, noting that “President Duterte is also not limited to signing an EO if he genuinely wants to fulfill his campaign promise to end all forms of contractualization.”