DOLE initial step commendable

MANILA, Philippines – The Associated Labor Unions – Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) lauded the initial measures being conducted by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III to direct all DOLE Regional Directors towards identifying problems in relation to contracting and subcontracting.

TUCP-ALU spokesperson Alan A. Tanjusay hopes that the initiatives will lead to a momentum that will result in the total elimination of contractualization, “ENDO” or “555” precarious work arrangement.

Tanjusay said since there is no silver bullet that could hastily eradicate the tricky work scheme, the initial measures that would be conducted by the Labor Department this July are a timely first step towards addressing the problem for Filipino workers.

“I think government enforcement, regulation and employer compliance should be institutionally strong, objective and routine. Empowered LLCOs and a strengthened Labor Law Compliance System (LLCS) should be prioritized if President Duterte and Labor Sec. Bello are serious about eliminating contractualization,” Tanjusay said in a statement released to the Center for People’s Media (CPM).

Sec. Bello issued the DOLE memorandum dated July 5, 2016 directing all Regional Directors to review the policy, legal framework, and assessment of contracting and subcontracting practices and recommended solutions.

The Secretary of Labor requested this information be submitted to his office on or before 15 July 2016. He is also mandating that all Regional Directors report the data in person at a workshop next week.

“If our labor directors will just do their job, we can reduce these practices by at least 50 percent. That is the challenge I am giving to our department officials. It is very clear that there is a rampant violation of our labor laws, including Department Order No. 18, which strengthens the rights of contractual employees. We would require our regional officers to be very vigilant against the practice of ENDO and contractualization,” Sec. Bello said.

 Josua Mata, Secretary General of the Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO) believes the effort of the newly appointed Labor Secretary is applaudable insofar as it is an attempt to consolidate the department itself.

Mata said the initial review of DO no. 18, particularly the weaknesses in implementing it, will help cut down contractualization.

“But to fully address the issue, a new law that would plug the loophole in the Labor Code that allows employers to abuse contractualization needs to be passed. At the same time, government would have to demonstrate political will to really enforce the law with the help of trade unions,” Mata said in a statement to Center for People’s Media (CPM).

DOLE will conduct a mandatory workshop for the Regional Directors on 18-19 July 2016 at the Occupational Safety and Health Center in Quezon City. CPM

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