THE Department of Finance (DoF) said that the Security of Tenure (SoT) bill, which is awaiting the President’s signature and could lapse into law if not acted on over the weekend, is not expected to affect the investment climate.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III told reporters in a text message that he also supports the view of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) that the measure should balance the interests of workers and the business community in order not to damage investment flows.
“We support [Secretary Ernesto M.] Pernia’s position and would like to add that the (SoT Bill) should not negatively affect the competitiveness of the Philippines as an investment destination,” Mr. Dominguez said.
Mr. Pernia said on Wednesday at a briefing that the SoT bill needed “tweaking” to be more balanced.
“You have to be sure that the law benefits not only workers but also investment… it has to be fair between workers and employers because if you want jobs to be available, you need investment,” he added.
On July 17, foreign business chambers and employer groups called on the President not to sign the SoT Bill, warning that it will weaken investment if businesses are not given the option of engaging contract labor.
The groups said that current laws already have provisions against labor-only contracting which are also reinforced through Department Order 178 series of 2017 issued by the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) and Executive Order 51 series of 2018.
Their statement provoked threats from unions that their campaign amounted to illegal lobbying.
Mr. Dominguez added that investment should be protected alongside the implementation of more worker protections.
“Be mindful that the Supreme Court on several occasions has ruled that while the PH Constitution provides that the State should protect the rights of workers and promote their welfare, such Constitutional policy is not intended to oppress or destroy capital and management,” he said. — Beatrice M. Laforga