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‘Government is top violator of laws vs contractuals’

Delon Porcalla - The Philippine Star
âGovernment is top violator of laws vs contractualsâ
“The biggest violator of contractualization is actually the government,” Rep. Bernadette Herrera of party-list Bagong Henerasyon, who is a deputy minority leader in the official minority bloc of the House of Representatives, declared.
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MANILA, Philippines — Regardless of administration, the government is ironically on top when it comes to violating the country’s labor laws, the most common of which is the never-ending issue of contractualization, a senior opposition legislator has disclosed.

“The biggest violator of contractualization is actually the government,” Rep. Bernadette Herrera of party-list Bagong Henerasyon, who is a deputy minority leader in the official minority bloc of the House of Representatives, declared.

Data from the Civil Service Commission showed that in 2017, there were approximately 2.4 million state workers, making the government the biggest employer in the country. Of this number, over 660,000 were hired as casual or contractual workers.

She reiterated her call for government to “lead by example” and fix the problem of contractualization, also known as end-of-contract or endo, in the public sector, as she pushed for approval of House Bill 1387 that she authored.

“Hopefully, HB 1387 will put an end to that. If we want to end endo in the private sector, we have to lead by example in government,” Herrera said of her measure, which seeks to grant civil service eligibility to long-time casual state workers.

Its end goal is to reduce, if not totally eliminate, labor contractualization in government.

Covered under Herrera’s bill are government employees holding casual or contractual positions in the first and second levels, and who have rendered at least five consecutive years of government service.

The measure, on the other hand, provides that these government employees “shall not be entitled to any promotion unless they obtain the appropriate eligibility requirement for that position.”

Key to protecting labor rights

The Philippine government’s eventual adoption of the International Labor Organization Convention 190 (ILO C-190) will ensure the protection of not just workers’ labor rights but also shield them from violence and sexual harassment in their offices.

“Every worker, regardless of their employment status and sexual orientation and gender identity, has the right to be protected from violence and harassment in the workplace, including gender-based discrimination,” Rep. Fidel Nograles said.

The chairman of the House committee on labor and employment is optimistic that “government offices, private businesses, and other places of work in the country would readily and widely adopt ILO C-190.”

ILO C-190 is the first international treaty on violence and harassment in the world of work, which came into force on June 25, 2021, two years after it was adopted by the ILO’s International Labor Conference. A total of 22 countries have so far ratified the treaty.

“Every workplace should foster mutual respect and dignity of the human being. A workplace that does this will achieve maximum efficiency because happy and satisfied workers are productive workers. So, we are very hopeful on the widespread adoption of this treaty,” Nograles said.

He recently shepherded his committee’s adoption of resolutions calling for the immediate ratification by the Philippine government of ILO C190, which recognizes the right of everyone to a world of work free from violence and harassment, and provides a common framework for action.

BERNADETTE HERRERA

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