By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter
THE Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) said on Wednesday, April 18, it wants President Rodrigo R. Duterte to certify as urgent the proposed “endo” (end of contactualization) law currently pending at the Senate.
“DoLE should request the ENDO Bill… certified as urgent. A law is better than EO (executive order),” Labor Undersecretary Jacinto V. Paras said in a text message when sought for comment.
This came after Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said in an interview with DWIZ that “a law instead of an EO” is what is needed to address the issues on contractualization.
“This EO that they are asking for actually mirrors the pending bill at the Senate, so I think it is better to have a law on this instead of an executive order,” Mr. Bello said.
When sought for comment, Senator Emmanuel Joel J. Villanueva’s staff confirmed the Senate measure being referred to is Senate Bill (S.B.) No. 1116, or the proposed End of Contractualization Act of 2016, adding that they sent a letter “twice” to the Office of the President requesting to have the bill “certified as urgent.”
Mr. Villanueva heads the Senate committee on labor, employment and human resources development.
The senator himself confirmed in a text message Wednesday when sought for comment that his committee has “written the President in September 2016 and another in October 2016 formally requesting for a certification as urgent the passage of the bill.”
“This bill seeks to provide stricter regulations on contractualization and simplifies the classification of employees to regular, which includes seasonal and project employees,” he added.
Mr. Villanueva had earlier said his committee was on the “final stage of preparing its report (on the bill) for plenary action.”
The Senate, according to Mr. Villanueva, intends to call DoLE for another round of discussion before the release of the Committee Report.
In separate phone interviews on Tuesday, both Labor Undersecretary Joel B. Maglunsod and Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) spokesperson Alan A. Tanjusay said an EO by the President has no power to impose an absolute ban on labor contractualization, adding that it needs accompanying legislation.
“The EO does not totally ban contractualization, because their (labor groups) position from last year, which was absolute ban, has already changed. It’s an adjusted executive order now,” Mr. Maglunsod said.
For his part, Mr. Tanjusay said: “Correct, not banning all contracts, because the President said businesses are complaining to him that they cannot accept a total prohibition on contractualization. The labor code has to be amended if we pursue absolute total ban on contractualization.”
Mr. Duterte said in his speech during an oathtaking of newly appointed officials on Tuesday that he received another draft EO on contractualization.
DoLE, however, did not specify when asked whose version of the EO Mr. Duterte received. “The President is studying the new proposed EO and asked his legal team to review it,” Mr. Paras said.