Palace on Duterte veto: PH can’t afford to see business closures
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines could not afford to see business closures that would lead to the decline of labor opportunities for Filipinos, Malacañang said Friday as it defended the President Rodrigo Duterte’s veto of the Security of Tenure bill.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte did not betray Filipinos by not signing the bill, which could have fulfilled one of his campaign promises.
Duterte has certified the bill as urgent in September 2018.
“The authors of the Security of Tenure (SOT) bill, as well as the members of both Houses of Congress, should not be crestfallen and disappointed nor should the labor sector feel saddened and betrayed by the President’s veto of the SOT bill,” Panelo said in a statement.
“While the President has vetoed the enrolled bill which attempts to strengthen the security of tenure of our workers,” the Palace official said the President’s “promise to end unfair practices of contractualization, such as labor-only contracting and end-of-contract (endo) schemes, remains and will be pursued, if not soonest, still within the term of the President.”
Panelo explained why Duterte vetoed the bill.
He said, “the constitutional guarantee of security of tenure does not authorize this Government to oppress or cause the self-destruction of our employers.”
“Our country cannot afford business closures as it will pain us seeing a decline of job opportunities for our labor force,” he said.
“While no business can survive without its employees, nor can persons be employed without business hiring. Labor and management can not exist without each other,” he added.
“The passage of the bill,” he said, “could also discourage investment and remove the great potential of providing employment to our unemployed.”
Panelo said, “the President has ascertained particular provisions in the proposed ‘Security of Tenure and End of Endo Act of 2018’ as injurious to the stability and industrial peace of the rights of employers and employees.”
“Certain provisions like the intended scope of prohibited contracting will certainly result in placing capital at a difficult situation which necessarily stifles the rights of our Filipino labor force in the future,” he added.
“As jurisprudence states,” Panelo said ‘[t]he aim is always to strike a balance between an avowed predilection for labor, on the one hand, and the maintenance of the legal rights of capital, on the other.’”
Lawmakers have lamented Duterte’s move to veto the bill, saying “the powerful and the ruling class” won.
But Panelo touted Duterte’s Executive Order No. 51 signed on May 1, 2018.
He said Duterte had “ordered the Secretary of Labor and Employment to inspect establishments of employers and issue compliance orders, to ensure that prohibited forms of circumventing or frustrating the entitlement of our workers to security of tenure as guaranteed by the Constitution are eliminated.”
Despite the President’s decision to veto the bill, he said: “the President’s resolve to put a stop to the practice of exploiting the working class is undiminished as exemplified by the regularization of 462,428 workers from August 2016 to May 2019.”
“This has never been done before by any of his predecessors. As a thinking and pragmatic President, PRRD realized that an overreaching prohibition and without identifying exemptions on farming out services, deemed legitimate contracting, will adversely affect businesses, and trigger their closure thereby cause the termination of employment of our workers,” he added.
Panelo “sincerely” thanked Congress “for heeding the President’s call to enact measures which are protective of the rights of our laborers,” and also urged them “to continue crafting a policy that will uphold both social justice and fair play by giving due consideration on the socio-economic survival of our nation.”
“We are confident that the honorable members of Congress will legislate a law that will be both protective of the rights of the workers and the business sector that not only will bring industrial equanimity but propel further the economy to greater heights for the betterment of our country and people,” he said./ac
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