Bukidnon SP to probe labor contractualization in agri firms

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/12 July) – The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Bukidnon will look into reports agribusiness firms in the province have resorted to labor contractualization and are paying their workers wages far below the minimum rates set by law.

In the SP’s inaugural session last Wednesday, Vice Governor Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr. said some contractual workers are receiving as low as P30 per day.

Zubiri said he will summon not only the big companies but also small employers, including cooperatives, to an inquiry to shed light on what he called the growing trend of contractualization.

But the SP has not yet set the date for the inquiry.

“If they allow these companies, there might be a time that the workers will no longer be able to support their families,” Zubiri said during the session, which was attended mostly by provincial government officials and employees.

The vice governor initially described the problem as one of “illegal recruitment” among Bukidnon’s big companies. But he decided to include the smaller companies [in the inquiry].

Last week’s session marked the first time Zubiri presided the provincial board.

He ran for vice governor after completing a successive three-year term as governor.

He announced during the session that SP sessions would be open to the people of Bukidnon.

“We will listen to their problems. In aid of legislation, we will help them,” Zubiri said.

He described his first session as “rusty,” apologizing for his “glitches.”

“I’ll be better the next time around,” he said.

He assured colleagues they can work together and that there is no need to name a minority floor leader despite the presence of two opposition lawmakers since any member [of the board] is free to air contradictory views during deliberations.

Zubiri also declared the provincial board an open zone for the media. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)