“The president’s promise has suffered the fate of an endo. It is now up to the workers to continue the fight.”
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA – No less than labor leaders and contractual workers themselves joined progressive lawmakers on Monday as a “pro-worker” and “stronger” bill that aims to end all forms of fixed term employment was filed before the House of Representatives.
Labor leader Elmer Labog, in a statement, said this new version of the Security of Tenure bill is what workers can support.
“We cannot expect the Malacañang version of SOT bill to be pro-workers since President Duterte already exposed his pro-capitalist stance on his recent SOT veto message,” said Labog, Kilusang Mayo Uno national chairperson.
Ending contractualization has been one of President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign promises. The already watered-down version of the bill was recently vetoed by the president despite being certified urgent in the previous 17th Congress. This will affect 8.5 million non-regular workers and at least 800,000 in the private and public sectors, respectively.
Turning a failed promise into an opportunity, another KMU leader Lito Ustarez told reporters during the filing that they are thanking the president for having vetoed the watered-down bill, which they find as “pro-capitalist.”
In the proposed House Bill 3381 dubbed as “Security of Tenure Act,” progressive lawmakers from Bayan Muna, Gabriela Women’s Party, ACT Teachers, and Kabataan highlighted the plight of contractual workers in the country.
As such, they have proposed the prohibition of all forms of contractualization and fixed term employment contracting by a principal employer to a contractor, manpower agency, or similar entities. Direct hiring of contractual workers are also prohibited.
The bill also strengthened the protection of workers by amending several provisions stipulated in the Labor Code of the Philippines, such as workers, regardless of employment status, shall not be dismissed without a just cause or due process.
Lawmakers are also seeking benefits for illegally dismissed workers.
Penalties are also set to be imposed on those who will violate the provisions of the proposed law, amounting to somewhere between P1 million to P10 million or imprisonment of not less than six months but not more than three years.