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TWG to tackle bill for security of tenure of government workers

Ratziel San Juan - Philstar.com
TWG to tackle bill for security of tenure of government workers
A technical working group was created on Nov. 20, 2019 by the House of Representatives to tackle a proposed law that would end the contractualization of government employees, according to the office of Rep. Ferdinand Gaite (Bayan Muna party-list).
Courage / Release

MANILA, Philippines — A bill for the security of tenure of government employees has been assigned to a technical working group at the House of Representatives, the office of Rep. Ferdinand Gaite (Bayan Muna party-list) said Wednesday.

House Bill 248, or the “Security of Tenure and Civil Service Eligibility for Non-Regular and Regular Employees in Government Bill,” was scheduled for discussion Wednesday by the Committee on Civil Service and Professional Regulation.

The bill was filed on July 1 by Gaite and other Makabayan bloc lawmakers and referred to the Committee on Civil Service and Professional Regulation on July 23.

Gaite’s office told Philstar.com that the technical working group will be chaired by Rep. Raymond Mendoza (TUCP party-list).

The office also said Rep. Frederick Siao (Iligan City), who chairs the Committee on Civil Service and Professional Regulation, is expected to endorse bill on the House floor

There are separate SOT bills at the House of Representatives to address contractual labor in the private sector.

Backed by labor group

According to contractual government workers who rallied at the gate of the House of Representatives in Quezon City, the proposed law would address employment issues faced by state workers.

"HB 248 reflects our call to end contractualization in government, addresses the need for the creation of regular positions and eligibility requirements, and covers all types of non-regular workers in government," Manny Baclagon, vice president of labor group COURAGE (Confederation for Unity, Recognition, and Advancement of Government Employees ) said in a release.

The bill's provisions include prohibiting contractualization in government service, providing security of tenure for non-regular government employees, and substituting eligibility for regular and non-regular government employees.

“Aside from contractualization, non-regular employees need to hurdle the civil service eligibility requirement as provided for in Executive Order No 292 or the Revised Administrative Code of 1987,” the bill’s explanatory note reads.

"Many more regular employees have no civil service eligibilities despite having rendered years and even decades of continuous service. Many were hired prior to the institutionalization of the civil service requirements or were hired in positions not requiring civil service eligibility.”

Due to this, certain government employees are said to have no opportunities for promotion despite years of service, and regardless of their performance and experience.

Contract of service worker Roxanne Fernandez from the National Anti-Poverty Commission said the bill is long overdue campaign promise of President Rodrigo Duterte and it was time for Congress to act.

“At least, the security of tenure bill for private-sector workers got to the level of being vetoed by the President. It is a pity that it is only now that the same issue for the government sector would be deliberated on by our legislators,” Fernandez said.

“However, we have high hopes for this because we think that legislators and President Duterte should set an example in upholding the constitutional right to security of tenure of public sector workers and considering too that government is the number one employer in our country hiring contractual workers,” Fernandez said.

Security of tenure

A probationary employee may be terminated “for just cause” or when he does not meet standards set and made known by the employer, according to the Labor Code.

The Philippine Independent Public Sector Employees Association defines “endo” and the similar colloquial term “5-5-5” as a labor practice “where workers are endlessly hired and fired every five months to prevent them from becoming permanent or regular employees, availing of mandatory bonuses and other benefits and joining a union.”

President Rodrigo Duterte asked the 17th Congress to pass a law abolishing labor contractualization as part of a campaign promise that he made in 2016 to end the practice of "endo" or "end of contract."

However, COURAGE said that Duterte backtracked on his promise in 2018 when he said that ending contractualization is impossible.

In his third State of the Nation Address on in 2018, Duterte said that despite progress in the campaign against endo, ending the controversial labor practice was outside of his jurisdiction as chief executive.

CONTRACTUALIZATION

SECURITY OF TENURE BILL

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