Wrong concept, wrong moves in “contractualization”

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez - The Freeman

With all due respect to our beloved President Rodrigo Duterte and to DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III, the sweeping generalization to abolish "contractualization" emanates from the failure to understand the true meaning and philosophy behind the term, and the blanket pronouncement to abolish it altogether commits the fallacy of over-simplification.

The President and the Secretary of Labor are being misled to understand that all forms of contracted services are illegal, immoral, unethical, oppressive, and exploitative. Nothing can be farther from the truth. The presidential advisers should better make a thorough assessment of the far-reaching implications.

The staff of DOLE, in consultation with the fair and mature union leaders and the employers and management sectors should advise the President that there many form of valid service contracting, which includes security services, janitorial, and messengerial work, building maintenance, elevator operations, plumbing, and electrical work and other non-core, non-production and operations that do not directly relate to the main business or trade of the principal employer. Making such sweeping statements as abolishing "contractualization" would seem to imply that all these valid work and service contracts will also be abolished.

We should hasten to clarify and to specify that whenever the President mentions abolishing them, he refers only to the highly illegal and immoral scheme of "5-5-5" or giving workers contracts of only short duration and "endo" or terminating employment based on "end of contract."

This being so, there should be no sweeping generalization to abolish even the legitimate job contracting and the legal service agreement. If there is a problem with some violators of labor laws, the good ones should be spared. One does not burn the whole house if only one furniture is being infected with pests.

The right of a business owner to outsource non-core activities, instead of assigning them to organic and regular workers, is a prerogative vested by law on the property and business owners. To deprive the owners and the managers of such prerogatives would be a virtual deprivation of property without due process of law.

This then would constitute a violation of the employers' basic rights under the Constitution. Let it be made clear that not only workers have rights in this country. Employers have rights too. And if we destroy the employers, the workers will also lose their jobs. Investors can transfer to Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand.

To abolish all forms of outsourced services just because some rascals are doing "5-5-5" would be to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. It is like burning the entire Sodom and Gomorrah even if there are many good men and women who also live there, just because some are immoral and sinful.

Most of our companies are small-scale, medium-sized and even micro-enterprises. To treat them as if they are giant malls and multi-billion conglomerates would practically kill the Philippine economy.

In all ASEAN, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, and Brunei, outsourcing is allowed. If the Philippines proceed to destroy its competitive advantage, then it is the end for all of us.

[email protected].

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