Upsetting key campaign promise, Duterte officially vetoes anti-endo bill

Ian Nicolas Cigaral - Philstar.com
In this Jan. 15, 2019 photo, protesters call for the end of contractualization outside the Department of Labor and Employment building.
Edd Gumban

MANILA, Philippines (2nd update 11:46 a.m.) — President Rodrigo Duterte vetoed a bill seeking to ensure job security, Malacañang said, in a major blow to workers’ groups that had pinned their hopes on the chief executive’s campaign promise to end abusive labor practices.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo — who announced Thursday night that Duterte rejected the measure only to retract the statement an hour later — broke the news to reporters Friday morning.

In a letter to the House of Representatives explaining his veto, Duterte said the proposed measure "unduly broadens the scope and definition of prohibited labor-only contracting."

The current version of the bill places many businesses at a disadvantage even if their contractualization practices are "not particularly favorable to the employees involved," Duterte added.

Duterte certified as urgent the measure in September last year.

Popularly known as the “End Endo bill,” the proposed legislation seeks to prohibit the practice of labor-only contracting or the so-called “endo,” a Filipino-coined term for “end of contract.”

Endo is an abusive labor practice where a worker is hired for up to five months to skirt a labor law granting permanent tenure on the sixth month of service. The practice leaves many Filipino workers unprotected and without benefits.

Various stakeholders had expressed their concern that removing "endo," without making it clear that “legitimate contractualization” will remain, might make the country less competitive.

Under the Constitution, bills sent to Malacañang will lapse into law if the president does not approve or veto them 30 days after transmittal. The Security of Tenure bill was sent to the Palace for Duterte’s signature on June 27.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia last Wednesday said the Security of Tenure bill should be tweaked to ensure that it would benefit both the business and labor sectors.

Pernia also noted that the measure would not be good for workers if it deters investments and results in fewer job opportunities.

Last week, coalition of business groups urged Duterte to veto the anti-endo bill, arguing that there are existing laws that protect workers from illegal contractualization.

“Job contracting as an exercise of management prerogative and business judgment is anchored on two constitutional rights: right and freedom to contract and right to property,” the groups said.

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