Oh Eto Na Po! House oks ending “endo”



The House committee on labor and employment moved a step closer towards the passage of the much-awaited bills seeking to end the practices of contractualization and de-regularization of workers by approving the creation of a technical working group (TWG) that will consolidate all 25 measures pertaining to “endo.”

In a hearing held this week which was presided by committee chairman Rep. Randolph Ting (3rd District, Cagayan), the panel approved the creation of the TWG that will consolidate House Bills 55, 76, 170, 341, 556, 563, 709, 712, 895, 916, 1045, 1208, 1351, 1563, 1837, 1857, 1910, 2389, 3556, 3769, 3802, 4443, 4444, 5130 and 5264 which seek to strengthen the security of tenure of workers in the private sector by ending the practices of contractualization and de-regularization.

Ting said the TWG will use as reference in the TWG discussions House Bill 4444 authored by Rep. Raymond Democrito Mendoza (Party-list, TUCP), HB 556 by Rep. Ariel Casilao (Party-list, ANAKPAWIS) and HB 3556 by Rep. Mark Go (Lone District, Baguio City).

Mendoza said his bill aims to totally prohibit contracting, sub-contracting, manpower agency hiring, outsourcing, including those undertaken by so-called service cooperatives engaged in manpower supply.

“All workers must be treated as regular employees, doing away with other types or definitions of employment. Moreover, contractualization clashes with the principle of social justice enshrined in our Constitution and must therefore be criminalized. Thus the bill provides penal provisions against violators,” said Mendoza.

Casilao said alongside the Duterete administration’s plan to abolish contractualization, the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and All Workers’ Unity have been demanding the end of contractualization schemes, a fundamental workers’ agenda presented to President Duterte since the campaign in 2016.

“With the end in view of uplifting the Filipino workers from deepening poverty and misery, prohibiting contractualization fundamentally shall protect the national interest and democratic ideals of Filipino society,” said Casilao.

Go said cases of violation on the prohibition on labor-only contracting and what is commonly called as “5-5-5” or “endo” have become rampant and unabated despite the provisions of the Labor Code and its implementing rules, DOLE Department Order 18-A.

“The guiding principles of DO 18-A provide: Contracting and sub-contracting arrangements are expressly allowed by law and are subject to regulations for the promotion of employment and the observance of the rights of workers to just and humane conditions of work, security of tenure, self-organization and collective bargaining. My bill seeks to regulate outsourcing of work by providing conditions for its practice and penalties for any violation,” said Go.

Go further said his proposal also seeks to resolve recurring problems in the practice of contractualization and to achieve a “win-win” solution for both the employees and employers, and as partners in attaining sustainable growth and development for the country.

The various labor groups and organizations and concerned agencies voiced out their respective position on the bills during the hearing. They also submitted their position papers to the committee.

The Associated Labor Unions (ALU)-Southern Mindanao and Northern Mindanao Region Offices, along with the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) and the NAGKAISA Labor Coalition strongly called for the total prohibition of labor contractualization in all its forms.

The ALU-TUCP-NAGKAISA said there are 13 million contractual workers out of the 43.7 million workforce in the country. It is time to reverse the trend so that there will be more regular workers receiving the social benefit obligations due them from the employers, it said.

The group said the epidemic scale of contractualization is the primary reason why the soaring Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth numbers has not resulted in inclusive development. “There is a widening of the gap in income inequality because workers under contractualization are not given their SSS, Pag-IBIG, and PhilHEALTH benefits. And because regularization is not possible, they cannot organize unions through which they can bargain to get a fair share of the wealth they created,” the ALU-TUCP-NAGKAISA said.

The Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa or SENTRO, representing at least 80,000 members in the private, public and informal sectors, including migrant workers, women and the youth, expressed its support for proposals pertaining to “endo”, specifically HB 4444.

“The years spent by the government trying to regulate subcontracting has failed to protect workers. The reason is simple: indirect employment inherently results in inequity,” said SENTRO in its position paper.

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