Palace aborts meet with labor groups on ‘endo’
Malacañang has aborted President Rodrigo Duterte’s meeting on Monday, April 16, with labor groups on contractualization, Labor Undersecretary Joel Maglunsod said yesterday.
“We have been informed by the Office of the President (OP) that the meeting of the President with labor groups tomorrow (Monday) will not be pushing through,” Maglunsod told reporters.
He said the OP did not give any reason for canceling the meeting during which the President was supposed to sign an executive order (EO) on contractualization.
“We will ask for the reason [for] the postponement from Malacañang tomorrow,” he added.
Malacañang officials did not respond when sought for comment.
The draft EO would make direct hiring by the principal employer, not by a third party, a government policy.
Under the draft order, contracting or subcontracting that circumvents workers’ rights to security of tenure, self-organization and collective bargaining, and peaceful concerted activities is prohibited.
Despite the cancellation of the meeting, Maglunsod said labor officials would still meet with workers’ groups today regarding the EO.
The Department Labor and Employment arranged the Malacañang meeting today between Mr. Duterte and labor groups to discuss, among other things, the signing of the draft EO that would strictly regulate contractual work schemes.
There are two draft EOs on contractualization—one formulated by the labor sector and the other, crafted by the employers’ groups and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
Militant labor leaders expressed confusion and suspicion about the cancellation of the meeting.
Nagkaisa labor coalition spokesperson Rene Magtubo said it was possible that Mr. Duterte had yet to make up his mind whether to sign the labor sector’s draft EO.
“The postponement may indicate that President Duterte is thinking twice of supporting the labor-drafted EO,” Magtubo said.
“One thing is definite for us in Nagkaisa. We won’t attend a signing of an EO if our draft won’t be the subject of the signing,” he added.
Kilusang Mayo Uno chair Elmer Labog said the cancellation indicated that the President did not really intend to fulfill his campaign promise to end contractualization.
Magtubo, in a separate statement, disagreed with Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III’s position that “the more drafts the better for the President to have a better option.”
“The DTI draft is obviously a ‘business-as-usual’ policy that allows labor contracting on almost all jobs and functions that has changed the norm of employment from direct-hiring to agency-hiring,” he said.
Magtubo said the DTI or the employers EO could never be a solution to the widespread contractualization.
“The employers are the main culprit for the proliferation of agency-hired employees. As such, a culprit can never provide a solution to the problem they have committed,” he said.
He called on the President “to sign the labor-drafted EO which would pave the way for the realization of his campaign promise.
“The labor-drafted EO will also send a strong signal to Congress to attune their security of tenure measures to the policy of direct hiring as a norm in employment relations,” he added.
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