The government’s doubletalk on “endo”

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus Jimenez - Banat

The government does not walk its talk. It is decidedly engaged in an all-out campaign to twist the arms of the private sectors to absorb as regular employees all outsourced workers. The DOLE is sending out hundreds of LLCOs (Labor Law Compliance Officers), entering company premises, interrogating personnel, examining company documents, and ordering around businessmen and their managers to regularize the status of thousands of casuals, contractuals, project, fixed-term, and seasonal employees.

We have our support for President Rodrigo Duterte and our highest respect for Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III. But, on this issue, we stand firm that the government has no moral authority.

It is of common knowledge that inside the government bureaucracies, there are hundreds of thousands of job-order workers, casuals and contractuals. And the government has no plan whatsoever to apply its own order upon itself. The high and mighty government officials do bewail the fact that contractuals in private companies have no security of tenure. But the government has neither the slightest inclination to issue regular appointment papers to these "children of the lesser gods" nor the capability and means to extend to these lowly workers some benefits accorded to regular personnel.

Isn't the government's stance the most extreme case of hypocrisy?

The contractual workers in the private firms do enjoy SSS and Employees Compensation Commission coverage. They enjoy Pag-ibig, PhilHealth, and other social safety nets. They have protection for their health, safety, and welfare in case of disability, disease, and death. They have provisions for retirement benefits and separation pay. They have service incentive leaves, thirteenth month pay, overtime pay, night differential pay, holiday pay and other benefits.  

On the other hand, the government job order workers are denied any and all the above protection and benefits. And who then are the true exploiters and oppressors of labor?

By forcing enterprises to commit long-term job security to the contractuals, government is pushing the business in this country to the brink of bankruptcy and financial losses. When business suffers, and lose their competitiveness and viability, many of the medium and small firms may have to close their companies and give up their businesses.

Foreign investors are most probably poised to leave the country and transfer their factories to more business-friendly economies, like Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. The Philippines and the workers shall end up the big losers.

Our current unemployment and underemployment problems are difficult enough and the government has neither any concrete plan nor the capability to address them with a sense of purpose, not to mention urgency. By this anti-business policy, the government will even exacerbate these problems. Millions will stand to be dislocated from the labor force. They shall be compelled by necessity to become migrant workers, and swallow the dirty, difficult, dangerous, degrading, and deceptive works abroad. They may end up with disease, disability, despair, debt, and even death.

Above all, labor migration is destroying the family, the only thing left that really matters most.

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