MANILA, Philippines — “Ayoko itong agency agency… walang agency agency hiring. Kawawa ang worker sa ganito,” this is the firm statement of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte after the three-hour dialogue with labor groups in Malacañang Monday (27 February) night.
Attorney Sonny Matula, President of the Federation of Free Workers (FFW) thinks that based on the posture of the President during the meeting, he (Duterte) is really dead serious in putting an end to contractualization.
“The President affirmed his election promise that he will put an end to the contractualization problem of the country within his term,” Matula explained to CNN Philippines.
Contractualization is a practice of hiring workers under contract for less than six months. Under this arrangement it is up to the employers how much salary to give to their workers, and whether or not they will be provided by any means of benefits at all.
For Attorney Matula, the meeting could be considered a small victory for the labor groups who have been pushing for decades to end contractualization in the country.
“Masama yan at parang ang ating lipunan ay the Society is not taking care of its worker. Parang epidemic yan na dapat sugpuin na,” Matula claimed.
Edwin Bustillos, sectoral representative of the National Anti-poverty Commission (NAPC) said that the President himself was very attentive and intently listened to the presentations of the labor leaders. Duterte even look emotional and disappointed when the discussion zoomed in on the plight of the Filipino working class who are greatly affected by the contractualization.
“The President, it appears, will keep his campaign promise to end contractualization or at least he will try to,” Bustillos said.
Bustillos also said that during the dialogue, NAGKAISA got the nod of the President.
He said, the President immediately directed Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to come out with a Department Order that will meet the objective of restoring the norm of regular jobs through direct hiring.
“DOLE was also instructed to resolve the 2011 PAL-PALEA dispute on outsourcing at the soonest time possible,” Bustillos added.
Aside from that, the President also indicated that he was inclined to honor the request of labor to certify HB 4444 of Rep. Raymond Mendoza (TUCP Partylist) as an urgent administration measure.
The President pointed out that contractualization only enriches the employers, but at the same time keeps the workers poor and unable to plan for their future. He also added that many agencies are actually owned by the primary employers and act as legal camouflage to prevent the regularization of workers and to defeat the workers’ exercise of their rights under the Constitution.
The President also made several other commitments that labor groups need to press forward, including the proposals to review and make changes to the old regime of wage setting, the signing of ILO Convention 151 for the public sector; representation in tripartite bodies, deputization of labor leaders as inspectors, and the holding of regular dialogues with labor, including meeting with the striking transport workers.
NAGKAISA urged the Filipino working class to remain vigilant to make sure that government bodies under instruction to comply with the labor demands do not stray out of line.
NAGKAISA believes that the recent advance in the struggle for decent work confirms the power of unions and organized resistance in winning the battle against anti-labor policies.
Hundreds of NAGKAISA members kept vigil and lit candles at the foot of Mendiola while the labor leaders presented the situation with the President Monday (27 February) night. A day of action by women workers will also be held on March 6 and 8.
It ain’t over until it’s over. Workers have a world to win. The struggle goes on. CPM
NAGKAISA urges the Filipino working class to remain vigilant to make sure that government bodies under instruction to comply with the labor demands do not stray out of line.