Dialogue with Duterte failed to break ‘impasse’ on contractualization

February 28, 2017


Filipino workers are dismayed that after almost 7 months, President Rodrigo Duterte’s promise of ending contractualization remains unfulfilled. The labor dialogue with the President in Malacañang yesterday failed its objective of breaking the “deadlock” between workers and the Department of Labor and Employment on the issue of contractualization.

No concrete policy towards fulfilling the President’s promise has been achieved. Duterte refused to uphold our proposed Executive Order that sets measures to end all forms of contractualization and instead asked workers to wait for the DOLE to come up with a new Department Order replacing its previously deferred DO 168.

Instead of directly addressing Filipino workers’ demand for concrete steps towards fulfilling his promise, Duterte passed the bucket to the DOLE who from the start has been working against his marching orders of ending contractualization.

Workers have long stressed that the DOLE is inutile in addressing the demand for regular employment. DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III himself has been in connivance with the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) and the Philippine Association of Local Service Contractors (PALSCON) in further institutionalizing and legalizing contractual employment schemes by upholding their anti-worker “win-win” solution. This is exactly why we have an impasse. This is exactly why we wanted to raise the issue directly to the President.

The ball remains solely in the hands of the President. If Duterte is true to his words, he should take decisive and concrete steps towards fulfilling his promise of heeding workers’ demands to end contractualization.

Duterte must take his inutile labor secretary to task for working against his so-called marching orders and strongly rejecting workers’ unified demand to end all forms of contractualization. He must decisively stand against big businesses and labor contractors and uphold Filipino workers’ rights and welfare.

Ultimately, it would be impossible for Duterte to end contractualization so long as his administration’s economic policies remain within the framework of neoliberal globalization. The prevalence of various contractual employment schemes is a key aspect in his administration’s foreign investment driven 10 point economic agenda that aims to attract foreign big businesses by promoting cheap, docile and flexible labor.

Reference: Elmer “Ka Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson, 0908-1636597