President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his speech during the "Araw ng Pasasalamat" for the overseas Filipino workers at Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo in Quezon City on July 12, 2019.
Toto Lozano/Presidential Photo
Palace: Duterte to study business groups' opposition to Security of Tenure Bill
Alexis Romero ( - July 18, 2019 - 5:08pm

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang Thursday gave assurance that President Rodrigo Duterte would consider the opposition of business groups to the Security of Tenure bill, which aims to protect workers' rights by removing the ambiguities in laws that prohibit labor-only contracting. 

"The president is always appreciative and considerate on whatever opposition or concerns raised by any sector in this country relative to any bill passed in Congress and subject to his signature or veto," presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a press briefing. 

READ: Business groups urge veto of Security of Tenure bill

Under the SOT bill transmitted to the Office of the President, labor-only contracting exists when the job contractor merely supplies, recruits, and places workers to a contractee, workers supplied to a contractee perform tasks that are listed by the industry to be directly related to the core business of the contractee, and the contractee has direct control and supervision of the workers supplied by the contractor.

Senate Labor Committee Chairman Joel Villanueva has said the bill clarifies ambiguities in existing laws that have allowed employers to tiptoe around the ban on labor-only contracting. 

SOT bill also classifies workers into four types namely regular, probationary, project and seasonal.

Once the bill becomes law, project and seasonal workers will have the same rights as regular employees like the payment of minimum wage and social protection benefits for the duration of their employment.

READ: Labor group slams employers for seeking veto on 'endo' bill

The classification aims to curb practices that misclassify employees and prevent them from obtaining regular status, Villanueva said in a recent statement. 

The measure, however, does not totally ban labor-only contracting. All contractors have to secure a license from the Labor department to engage in job contracting.  

Business groups have asked Duterte to veto the SOT bill, saying it would be inconsistent with the businesses' constitutional right to contract labor as part of management prerogative.

They also warned that the bill could prod businesses to remove low-skilled jobs contracted out to service providers by using automation and artificial intelligence, redesigning work processes, or transferring work to more investor-friendly foreign destinations.

READ: Duterte signs law providing incentives to innovative business startups

Banning "endo" or end of contract is one of the campaign promises of Duterte during the 2016 elections. He has issued an executive order implementing labor law provisions against illegal contracting but admitted that a law is needed to ban all forms of contractualization.

Last September, the president certified as urgent the bill that seeks to ban labor-only contracting, saying the practice is causing poverty and underemployment in the country.

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