Draft own ‘endo’ bill, Palace urged
To continue the fight against unfair labor practices, the executive branch of government should draft its own version of the bill prohibiting these and send it to Congress, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said on Saturday.
It could also call for a summit with business, labor and government leaders so that they could have a “frank exchange of views” on the issue, Recto said.
He made the suggestion after President Rodrigo Duterte vetoed Congress’ security of tenure (SOT) bill, drawing outrage from the labor sector and cheers from business groups.
“If it has changed its mind, then the version it now wants must be in black and white, so nothing will be lost in translation. This is needed because the veto message did not cite the specific provisions that triggered the veto. Let the burden of proposition fall on them this time,” Recto said in a statement.
But he added that this would not necessarily mean that Congress would pass the palace version as is.
Recto also said the veto of the bill showed the need for better cooperation between the executive and the legislative branches.
Congress must be informed early on if Malacañang has concerns about a bill that is being crafted, he said.
“I sympathize with [Sen. Joel Villanueva] who had worked hard on this bill. The executive shouldn’t make noise only when the fight is over. They should not vacillate on this,” Recto said.
Villanueva, the bill’s main proponent in the Senate, said the President’s veto was baseless and showed that his underlings did not read the measure carefully.
But Villanueva vowed to continue fighting for the bill which he would refile, even as he lamented that powerful interests were able to thwart it.
“While we respect the presidential prerogative, we maintain that the grounds of the veto are weak, if not flimsy,” he said in a statement.
Villanueva said the bill clarified the existing definition of labor-only contracting in the labor code, and established grounds that could determine its existence.
Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said the Cabinet should get its act together regarding the SOT bill.
Zubiri, in a radio interview, noted that the President had the bill certified, and yet there were Cabinet members who had opposed it.
But a labor group said there was indeed reason for President Duterte to veto it.
Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa said on Saturday that it didn’t want Senate Bill No. 1826, which was adopted by the House of Representatives, to be passed into law since this would “not solve the problem” of contractualization in the country.
Unfortunately, Sentro secretary general Josua Mata said that this wasn’t the same reason Mr. Duterte had when he vetoed the measure a day before it should’ve lapsed into law.
“There was basis for a veto. We would have been happy if what he said [in his veto message] was that this would not end ‘endo’ (end of contract) as I have promised that’s why I would return this to Congress,” Mata said.
‘Betrayal of working class’
“He would have been a hero of the working class. But the veto message was a clear betrayal of the working class. It appears that either he did not understand the nature of contractualization or he wasn’t serious in the first place in addressing this,” he added.
Even with this setback, Mata said that Sentro and other allied groups in the Nagkaisa labor coalition would still lobby in the 18th Congress for the passage of a “stronger” SOT bill.
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