MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte may certify as urgent the new draft of the proposed security of tenure (SOT) bill being crafted by the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole).
“I think so, yes,” said presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo when asked if the President would certify the new measure as a priority legislation of the executive branch.
Panelo noted that the Dole would submit its own version of the SOT bill, which would have clearer and more focused provisions to provide security of tenure to workers.
One of the provisions to be reexamined is the creation of a tripartite body that will determine the regular jobs in a company, a proposal that the business sector is opposing as “undue delegation.”
The new version will be presented during the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council’s meeting next Monday.
“There is in fact a proposed new measure to be submitted to Congress. That was said by [Labor] Secretary [Silvestre] Bello III in a press conference. So they are drafting that,” Panelo said.
Asked if the Dole’s version would be similar to the version filed by Sen. Joel Villanueva, Panelo said the draft would still contain amendments to address the business sectors’ concerns.
“Yes, but there will be amendments. So the suggestion by the Dole could be the subject of any amendment of the bill,” he added.
Palace assurance lauded
Even as they “doubt the President’s credibility,” labor groups welcomed on Monday Malacañang’s assurance that the new version of the SOT bill would be certified urgent.
According to Federation of Free Workers (FFW), they were in favor of President Duterte certifying as urgent the new version of the SOT bill as this would help fast-track the effort to protect workers from the unfair labor practice of contractualization.
“Despite our doubts of his credibility, we need to have a law to address the epidemic of abusive contractualization which is still rampant,” FFW president Sonny Matula said.
Last week, the President vetoed the SOT bill which he had certified, saying it would destroy the “delicate balance” between labor and management.
One of the contentious provisions the President cited was that the bill “unduly broadens” the scope and definition of prohibited labor-only contracting.
While Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa said that Malacañang’s pronouncements was a welcome development, it was wary on the kind of SOT bill the Congress would come out with.
“What kind of bill are they going to support when they can’t even support its watered-down version. Revisiting the SOT should start from the perspective that direct hiring should be the norm and fixed-term employment should be prohibited. ‘Endo’ (end of contract) will never end without prohibition of fixed-term employment,” Sentro secretary general Josua Mata said.
Earlier, the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) called on Mr. Duterte to again certify the SOT bill “so that he would be able to fulfill his promise to workers to end endo.”
“We also appeal to President Duterte to please ignore the misinformation, do not be swayed by misleading and scaremongering that some of his economic managers and foreign and local businessmen have put around the bill,” ALU-TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said.