See More on Facebook

Business, Economics

Duterte: Pass laws protecting labor rights

The president said he would work hard to protect workers rights to self-organize.


Written by

Updated: May 2, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte asked Congress on Wednesday to pass measures that would protect workers’ right to security of tenure and self-organization, a move that labor leaders said was meant to quell the anger of protesters who marched on Labor Day.

In his Labor Day message, the President paid tribute to the workers’ contribution while lamenting that the plight of most of them, especially those who leave to work overseas, had not changed much.

But he said he believed improvement in their working conditions could still happen.

“I remain optimistic that one year since I issued Executive Order No. 51 implementing existing constitutional and statutory provisions against illegal contracting, my counterparts in Congress will consider passing much-needed legislative measures that will fully protect our workers’ rights, especially to security of tenure and self-organization,” he said.

Mere words

This was not the first time that the President promised to have the bill passed, Rene Magtubo of Nagkaisa Labor Coalition told the Inquirer.

“He even certified it (last year) as urgent,” Magtubo said.

“What we want from him are not words but concrete instructions ordering his allies in the Senate to pass the bill,” he said.

Such words by and from the President are nothing if the bill does not pass, said another Nagkaisa leader, Sonny Matula. He noted that only a few days were left before the legislative session would adjourn.

Instead of making empty promises, Matula said the President should direct Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to sit down with administration allies in the Senate.

“He should instruct his labor secretary and legislative liaison to follow through on his orders,” Matula said in a separate interview.

“If this bill does not pass, then the President is a failure,” he added. “The people would get angry.”

Matula said the President nudging Congress to pass the bill was his way of protecting his candidates in the May 13 midterm elections from the wrath of disappointed laborers.

On Tuesday, Nagkaisa and Kilusang Mayo Uno joined forces and called on their supporters and members not to vote for and campaign against candidates who were antilabor.

Security of tenure

The security of tenure bill has been approved on third reading in the House of Representatives but has languished in the Senate despite being certified urgent by the President in September.

Sen. Joel Villanueva, chair of the Senate labor committee, had earlier expressed optimism that the bill could be passed on third reading in the chamber and approved by the bicameral conference committee before the 17th Congress adjourned for good in early June.

On Wednesday, at least three senators — Villanueva, Miguel Zubiri and Richard Gordon — had committed themselves to pass the measure by the end of the 17th Congress, Bello told reporters during the Labor Day celebrations in Pampanga province.

The Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines has criticized the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) for supposedly not doing enough to lobby for the passage of the measure.

End ‘endo’

Bello pointed out though that what the department lacked was not the initiative to push for the measure but “time.” 

On Labor Day, Vice President Leni Robredo renewed calls to end labor contractualization.

“We should unite to end ‘endo’ and contractualization,” Robredo said in a statement. “Uphold safe, honorable and regular jobs for Filipino workers.”

Endo, shortcut for end of contract, refers to a short-term employment practice, often less than six months to avoid giving workers regular employee status and benefits.

Under the Labor Code, endo is illegal.

Unfulfilled promise

According to Nagkaisa, ending contractualization remains to be one of the President’s “greatest unfulfilled promises.”

It said that if the administration was really serious in its desire to improve the lives of workers, it should “pressure” its Senate allies to come up with the measure addressing this long-standing labor issue.

The group took exception to a statement of Sen. Cynthia Villar, an administration ally, that “delaying” tactics had “stalled the process.”

Nagkaisa said it had asked Villar what her problems were regarding the measure but it was not provided details.

Scaring investors 

Malacañang hit back at labor groups that had taken the President to task for failing to fulfill his promises, saying their actions could scare off investors  and lead to job losses.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the nationwide protests of groups such as Kilusang Mayo Uno would keep on blaming the administration for various labor problems.

 



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Philippine Daily Inquirer
About the Author: The Philippine Daily Inquirer is one the country’s most credible and influential newspapers with over 500 awards and citations.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Business, Economics

Bangladeshis will be richer than Indians by 2030

This according to a new report by Standard Chartered bank. Bangladeshis will be richer than Indians by 2030 as the country’s per capita income will grow nearly four times throughout the 2020s, according to Standard Chartered — in yet another endorsement of its tremendous growth momentum. The per capita income of Bangladesh will rise to $5,734.6 in 2030. India’s will edge up to $5,423.4 after growing less than three times, according to a research note from Madhur Jha, Standard Chartered India’s head of thematic research, and David Mann, the bank’s global chief economist. Last year, Bangladesh’s per capita income stood at $1,599.8 and India’s $1,913.2. The note highlights the economies around the world that are likely to grow the fastest in the 2020s. The threshold for the list is 7 percent, the approximate growth rate at which an economy can double in size every 10 years.


By Daily Star
May 17, 2019

Business, Economics

China vows action as US moves to blacklist Huawei

Hopes of a trade deal recede as experts fear American companies could face a backlash. China has slammed the United States for putting technology giant Huawei on an export blacklist and said it will take “all necessary measures” to protect the legal rights of Chinese firms. The latest twist in the face-off between the US and China not only suggests that hopes of a trade deal are fast evaporating, but it could also delay the roll-out of 5G networks worldwide. US technology firms could also face a backlash, experts said. China’s Ministry of Commerce said yesterday that it resolutely opposed any coun


By The Straits Times
May 17, 2019

Business, Economics

Jobless rate hits 19-year high in Korea

Rate rises on back of youth unemployment. South Korea’s job market prolonged its downswing in April, with unemployment reaching its highest point in 19 years, government data showed Wednesday. The increasing pace of job creation also slowed further, especially in the retail and manufacturing sectors and among the economically active 30-40 age group. According to job figures released by Statistics Korea, the total number of jobless people surpassed 1.24 million as of April for the first time since the government started compiling the data in June 1999. The jobless rate stood at 4.4 percent, up 0.3 percentage point from a year earlier and marking the highest for any April since 2000, when Asia’s fourth-largest economy was reeling under the aftermaths of the Asian Financial Crisis. The jobless rate for young adults — those aged between 15 and 29 — also rose to a record-high 11


By The Korea Herald
May 16, 2019

Business, Economics

Beijing stresses equality in trade talks with Washington

World market confidence dampened by escalation, Chinese state media says. Consultations between China and the United States are not a one-way street, and should be conducted amid a spirit of equality, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Monday in Russia. Wang said that it is pointless for one side to blame the other, or even to absolve themselves from responsibility. Wang stressed if one side is trying to place extreme pressure on the other, it will cause a legitimate counterattack. “The measures from us are not only to safeguard China’s own rights, but to protect the basic rules of the current multilateral trading mechanism,” Wang said. Wang made the remark in a joint news conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov during his visit to the Black Sea coastal city of Sochi. Experts warned that the rising US tariffs on Ch


By China Daily
May 16, 2019

Business, Economics

South Korea jobless rate rises to 4.4% in April

Weak job markets and uncertain macroeconomics have contributed to increased unemployment. South Korea’s jobless rate rose to 4.4 percent in April, government data showed Wednesday, in the latest sign of a weak job market amid an economic slowdown in Asia’s fourth-largest economy. The unemployment rate increased 0.3 percentage point from a year earlier, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea. It also marked the highest level for any April since 2000, when the corresponding figure stood at 4.5 percent. The number of employed people reached 27.03 million in April, an increase of 171,000 from the same month in 2018.


By The Korea Herald
May 15, 2019

Business, Economics

Nepal’s tea estate employees say enough is enough, begin indefinite strike

A special report by Tsering D Gurung looks at conditions for tea workers in Nepal. The Budhakaran Tea Estate, a sprawling property located in the town of Bhadrapur in Jhapa, would usually be teeming with activity this time of the year. Today, it is eerily quiet. Tea leaves meant to have been plucked with the onset of Spring have turned yellow. The gate to the processing factory has been locked for over a month. The only individuals working on the estate, which employs nearly 150 people, are two men guarding the owner’s home. Since April 1, tea plantation workers across eastern Nepal have gone on strike, shutting down estates to demand their employers implement the minimum daily wage and provide other benefits including social security and medical insurance guaranteed under the 2017 Labour Act. Although the law came into effect last July, almost all the workers say they have not s


By The Kathmandu Post
May 14, 2019