Duterte ‘surprised’ of ‘negative reactions’ over veto on SOT bill – Bello
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte was “surprised” of the “negative” reactions over his move to veto the Security of Tenure (SOT) bill, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Monday.
“He (Duterte) was surprised why there were negative reactions to his decision to veto the SOT bill because from his assessment, and probably some inputs from his advisers, he thought that this was in keeping with his commitment to secure the tenure of the workers [while] taking into consideration the situation of the business sector,” Bello told reporters in a press conference.
“Kaya nagtaka siya bakit ganun ang reaksyon ng iilan kasi nga he thought that by vetoing this bill, he thought that this was the better option to provide our workers, not only employment but also security of tenure” he further said.
Bello met with Duterte on Friday following the confirmation of Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo that the Chief Executive had vetoed the SOT bill.
The measure seeks to stop the labor contracting scheme, which Duterte, during his presidential campaign in 2016, promised to end.
In his veto message, the President still assured that he remains committed to protecting workers.
“Our goal, however, has always been to target the abuse while leaving businesses free to engage in those practices beneficial to both management and the workforce,” Duterte said.
He also stressed that “while labor-only contracting must be prohibited, legitimate job-contracting should be allowed” provided that the contractor is “well capitalized, has sufficient investments, and affords its employees all the benefits.”
Duterte added that “businesses should be allowed to determine whether they should outsource certain activities or not.”
While major business organizations welcomed the President’s decision to veto the measure, workers’ rights groups and several lawmakers were dismayed.
“We knew right from the start that the odds were stacked against the measure. We pressed on, knowing that many workers are relying on us to finally end illegal forms of contractualization,” Senator Joel Villanueva, principal author of the bill, earlier said.
For his part, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said he was “crestfallen” but said Congress can refile and reapprove the bill.
Meanwhile, the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) said the President had “shut the hope of workers” for a better life and instead chose to listen to his economic managers who “mis[led]” him into not signing the “watered-down” version of the bill.
“The SOT measure, had it been signed into law, would have mandated the creation of tripartite councils per industry which would determine who among the workers are deemed necessary and desirable to the core business and therefore can be regularized by the principal owner,” said Alan Tanjusay, ALU-TUCP spokesperson. /kga
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