Protest set vs compromise Executive Order on ‘endo’

Mayen Jaymalin - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Workers are gearing up for a nationwide mass action to express their outrage over President Duterte’s refusal to issue an order banning illegal forms of labor contracting.

Elmer Labog, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) chairman, said various labor groups are getting ready for a nationwide protest on March 15.

“March 15 will be a day of outrage. Filipino workers are already enraged at how this government consistently rejects our demands. As long as a majority of Filipino workers are contractual, they will remain paid below minimum wage, receive no benefits and be deprived of their basic labor rights,” Labog said in a statement.

Labog said Duterte’s declaration that he is looking for a “compromise” on the issue of labor contracting indicated that he wants workers to be exploited indefinitely.

“That we could never accept,” Labog said, while noting that workers are angered with Duterte’s position clearly favoring business groups.

Labog maintained that workers have long informed Duterte that they will not accept an executive order other than the one drafted by labor groups.

“How could Duterte even have the guts to tell us that he could not give us all, when the truth is he hasn’t really given us anything but burdens?” Labog lamented.

Instead of heeding the workers’ demand to end contractualization, Labog said, Duterte even institutionalized it through the adoption of a Department of Labor and Employment order.

Labog added that Duterte has already given in to foreign and local big businesses with the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.

“By rejecting the workers’ EO, Duterte has exposed himself as an obstacle to the Filipino workers’ demands for regular and decent jobs. He says he wants ‘compromise,’ but what he really means is for us to lay down our legitimate and just demand to end all forms of contractualization to favor big business interests,” Labog said.

Labog said the final draft EO submitted by labor groups to the President was already dampened, considering that they withdrew their demand for a total ban on contractualization.

Under the workers’ proposed EO, DOLE is given the authority to exempt certain companies from the ban against contractual employment.




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