DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 1 May) – The executive order signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte during Labor Day celebration in Cebu City banning illegal contracting or subcontracting would not completely eliminate contractualization, a leader of the militant group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) said.
During the Labor Day rally held along Roxas Avenue here, KMU-Southern Mindanao Secretary-General Carlo Olalo said Duterte failed to acknowledge the concerns of the laborers with his latest order that seeks to put an end to illegal contractualization.
Even if it penalizes employers who continue the practice, Olalo said it continues to tolerate some forms of contractualization like the “job only contracting” in the President’s order that he said was drafted by employers’ group.
The labor leader called on the President to junk all forms of contractualization.
Duterte said in his speech that he remains firm in his commitment to end “endo” and illegal contractualization. He added that an executive order could only do so much “because you have to change or modify or entirely aggregate some of the provisions.”
“Endo” is short for “end of contract” wherein employers let go of workers before their sixth month of service.
He stressed that “in order to implement an effective and lasting solution to the problems brought about by contractualization, Congress needs to enact a law amending the Labor Code.”
Duterte said that he as already certified as urgent the bill on security of tenure to “to once and for all address the issue and provide long-term solutions that would further strengthen the workers’ right to security of tenure.”
Olalo added that there are 40 million laborers in the country, of them 24.4 million are contractual workers, while many more are unsatisfied of their present employment due to low salaries.
Data from the Department of Labor and Employment in the Davao Region showed that the region’s employment rate as of January 2018 was 95.3 percent, higher compared to the 94.1 percent recorded in the same period last year.
Around 1,000 members of the different militant groups such as the KMU, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, League of Filipino Students, Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston), Musahamat Workers Labor Union in Pantukan in Comspostela Valley and Kilusan ng Manggagawa ng Coca-Cola (KIMACO) marched starting 2 p.m. from Magsaysay Park going to Roxas Avenue where they torched an effigy portraying Duterte as the “Workers’ Punisher” riding on his big bike.
“This Labor Day, we unmask Duterte for who really is – an economic and political killer whose leadership is characterized by great contempt for the poor and marginalized. On the issue of contractualization for instance, he continues to treat workers with disrespect and insults us with his duplicity,” Olalo said.
The labor leader also criticized the Duterte administration for being a “puppet of neoliberalism through enactment of anti-poor policies” such as the Tax Reform Acceleration for Inclusion (TRAIN) law implemented early this year and the proposed federalism that “weakens the country’s economic protections and national sovereignty.”
Olalo noted that martial law in Mindanao, declared on May 23, 2017 following the armed clashes between government forces and Islamic State-inspired Maute group, escalated the trade union repression and criminalization of legitimate union activities in the region.
“Why is Duterte punishing workers who are only asserting their right to fair wages, collective bargaining, and better working conditions, instead of capitalists who circumvent the laws in order to extract superprofits off the sweat and toil of the working class? He is in truth socialist poseur who advocates strongly for neoliberal policies that ultimately benefit the oligarchs and capitalists,” he added.
The group also “clamored for an end to intensified militarization and repression of workers’ rights deployed to stamp out dissent and militant unionism.” (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)