MANILA Senator Joel Villanueva on Tuesday lauded President Rodrigo Duterte's certification of the Security of Tenure Bill as a priority measure, saying it is about time for the passage of a law that would finally end abusive work schemes that victimize millions of Filipino workers.
Duterte's certification was contained in a letter dated Sept. 21 that was sent to Senate President Vicente Sotto III requesting the "immediate enactment" of Senate Bill No. 1826.
The certification followed the President's appeal in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) for Congress to pass a legislation that would end the abusive practice of contractualization.
We laud the move of the President certifying our Security of Tenure Bill as a priority measure. It is important that we pass this into law to finally put an end to work schemes like 'endo' and labor-only contracting, Villanueva said in a statement.
Endo, or end of contract, refers to the exploitative contractualization scheme that offers short-term, temporary work arrangements, which leave workers unprotected and devoid of benefits enjoyed by regular employees.
According to Villanueva, who chairs the Senate committee on labor, employment and human resources development, the practice of contractualization affects more than 1.9 million workers in the private sector.
Overall, about three out of 10 Filipino workers are not regular and one out of two non-regular workers are contractual, he said.
Villanueva said once signed into law, the measure would remove the ambiguities in the Labor Code, which is the source of circumventions.
Senate Bill 1826 prohibits the practice of labor-only contracting, which happens when a job contractor, better known as an agency, merely recruits and supplies workers to a contractee (company) or the workers supplied by the job contractor are performing activities, which are directly related to the core business of the said contractee or are under the control and supervision of the contractee.
It imposes a fine of PHP5 million against any labor-only contractor.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) shall also have the authority to preventively or permanently close the operations of any labor-only contractor.
Furthermore, the proposed measure would limit job contracting to licensed and specialized services; classify workers into regular and probationary employees and treat project and seasonal employees as regular employees; provide security of tenure; clarify standards on probationary employment; and provide a "Transition Support Program" for employees while they are not at work or transitioning in between jobs.
Meanwhile, Villanueva assured that the passage of the bill not only meets the interests of the labor sector, but also the interests of the business sector.
The senator cited a 2004 study made by the International Labor Organization that showed that tenure has a positive effect on productivity, and suggested that countries remain productive with a high share of long-tenured workers.
"Giving our workers certainty and social protection makes them more efficient and more productive," he said.
"We certainly need a law that will not only uphold our workers' basic labor rights and restore dignity of work, but also a law that will promote quality employment without jeopardizing business operations but rather create more stable jobs for every Filipino," Villanueva said. (PR)
Source: Philippine News Agency