THE government was protecting the Philippines’ competitive position as an investment destination, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said late last week when asked about President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s veto of the Security of Tenure (SoT) bill Thursday night.

“This SoT bill has to protect our competitiveness. You know whatever they do, they have to remember also that the Supreme Court (has ruled that) promoting the interest of labor does not mean destroying capital or management,” Mr. Dominguez told reporters on the sidelines of the Banker’s Night on Friday held at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) headquarters.

Mr. Duterte vetoed the bill on July 26, just a day before it was due to lapse into law.

Mr. Dominguez concurred with National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia’s view that the bill then awaiting the President’s signature needed to be “tweaked” to achieve a balance between workers’ and investors’ interests.

Mr. Dominguez described the veto as an opportunity to reconsider and improve the competitiveness aspect of the bill.

Asked if the veto was a good thing, Mr. Dominguez replied: “I think so. I mean the veto doesn’t mean don’t do it, the veto means you think about it again.”

Before the veto, labor groups like the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) had reminded the President of his campaign promise to end all forms of labor contracting.

“While the bill mostly codifies into law existing rules, regulations, orders and jurisprudence on matters of labor-only contraction and security of tenure, it likewise unduly broadens the scope and definition of prohibited labor-only contracting, effectively proscribing forms of contractualization that are not particularly unfavorable to the employees involved,” the President said in his veto message read.

“‘You just improve the competitiveness of the Philippines, and make sure that it is even-handed. Because you know you have three elements — labor, capital, and management. Everybody’s role has to be enhanced simultaneously, hindi pwedeng (it cannot be) one or the other,” Mr. Dominguez said. — Beatrice M. Laforga