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

China-US trade deal bullish news for both countries, rest of world

From Chinese state media. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Saturday that the China-US deal on the text of a phase-one economic and trade agreement serves as bullish news for both countries and the rest of the world. Speaking at a joint press conference with Slovenian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Miro Cerar, Wang said China has, as always, been opposed to settling economic and trade disputes by imposing tariffs as there is no winner in a trade war. China has also rejected the use of unilateral pressure as it violates the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO), said Wang. He pointed out that following rounds of back-and-forth negotiations, China and the United States have agreed on the wording of a phase-one economic and trade agreement, and the US side has promised to phase out additional tariffs on Chinese products. The agreement demonstrates the spirit


By Esther Ng
December 16, 2019

Business, Economics

China, US in constant touch to resolve trade issues

China and the United States are in constant touch to resolve pending trade and economic issues, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday. The comment came ahead of Sunday’s US deadline for another scheduled round of tariff increases on Chinese imports worth almost $160 billion. If a trade deal is not struck by Sunday, computer monitors and toys will be among the Chinese export items likely to be affected. Gao Feng, a ministry spokesman, said the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council has already worked out tariff exemptions on some soybean, pork and other products shipped from the US — the latest sign of tensions easing in the protracted trade conflict. The US seems to resort to brinkmanship by using a tariff deadline to pressure China in the ongoing trade talks for a phase one, preliminary deal, said Chen Wenling, chief economist at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges


By Esther Ng
December 13, 2019

Business, Economics

Report: US officials lied about Afghanistan

Civilian, military officials misled public for nearly two decades about status of war, Washington Post review of documents finds. For nearly two decades, senior US civilian and military officials didn’t tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan, The Washington Post reported on Monday after reviewing more than 2,000 pages of government documents. The officials made pronouncements they knew to be false and hid evidence that the war had become unwinnable, the newspaper said interviews with those officials show. John Sopko, the head of the federal agency that conducted the interviews, acknowledged to the Post that the documents show “the American people have constantly been lied to”. The newspaper said that two major claims in the documents are that US officials manipulated statistics to suggest to the American public that the war was being won and that successive


By Esther Ng
December 11, 2019

Business, Economics

7 of 10 Filipinos worried by presence of Chinese workers

China has increased its presence in the archipelago. The rising presence of Chinese workers in the country worry seven out of 10 adult Filipinos, according to the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, as the government recently launched a crackdown against Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogos) which mostly employ Chinese nationals. The noncommissioned survey, conducted from Sept. 27 to 30, found that 31 percent “worried a great deal,” while 39 percent are “somewhat worried.” Highest in Metro Manila The proportion of those who were worried about the increasing number of Chinese workers in the country was highest in Metro Manila at 75 percent, followed by the Visayas at 71 percent, Luzon outside Metro Manila (69 percent) and Mindanao (67 percent.) About half of the respondents agree that the rising number of Chinese workers is a threat to national secur


By Philippine Daily Inquirer
December 6, 2019

Business, Economics

Pakistan to launch Digital Pakistan Vision

Imran hopes to unleash ‘potential of youth and women’ with new venture. Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said that with the introduction of the ‘Digital Pakistan Vision’, the full potential of the contribution of youth and the women to the economy will be unleashed. According to a press release from the Prime Minister Office: “The Vision sets Pakistan’s digital ambition and has been designed for the government and the private sector to work towards a digitally progressive and inclusive Pakistan.” Speaking at the launch ceremony of the initiative, the prime minister regretted not having launched it at the very beginning when his government was formed. “I should have given attention to Digital Pakistan earlier. This is the most important thing for Pakistan right now, especially its youth. The whole world is moving forward digitally and we have been l


By Asia News Network
December 6, 2019

Business, Economics

Huawei asks US court to overturn ban

The company is suing the FCC, the latest in a series of legal tussles. The legal battle between Huawei Technologies Co and United States government intensified on Thursday. The Chinese tech heavyweight announced a legal challenge to the US Federal Communications Commission, seeking to overturn the latter’s order that bans telecom carriers from buying the company’s equipment via federal subsidies. The move is the latest push by the world’s largest telecom equipment maker to pursue fair competition and treatment amid a slate of restrictions from Washington. Analysts said the FCC ban would have very limited impact on Huawei’s financial performance, but labeling the company as a national security threat would cause far-reaching reputational harm. In a petition filed in the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on Thursday, Huawei asked the court to declare the FCC order un


By Esther Ng
December 6, 2019