Sotto laments Palace’s failure to act on bill to clarify how to amend it
There is no more time for Congress to make changes to the security of tenure bill that President Rodrigo Duterte vetoed, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Sunday.
The bill would have prohibited the practice of “endo,” short for “end of contract,” through which companies hire and rehire contractual employees after five months to avoid paying them benefits as regular employees.
In declining to sign the bill, Duterte urged Congress to rectify the vetoed provisions of the bill, which he said “unduly broadens the scope and definition of prohibited labor-only contracting, effectively proscribing forms of contractualization that are not particularly unfavorable to employees involved.”
Sotto said the Palace did not respond to a Senate request that they inform the senators how they wanted the bill framed.
He noted that the bill had been earlier certified as urgent by the President himself and would have fulfilled one of his campaign promises to end contractualization.
Senator Risa Hontiveros, who is seeking re-election, said she would go back to the Senate to fight for the bill that the President did not sign.
“We worked hard on this up to the end together with Senate President Vicente Sotto III,” Hontiveros said. “But we all failed. We are sad the Palace did not support this.”
Earlier, employers said it will be difficult for the government to stop “endo,” because many industries have come to thrive using this scheme.
Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) president Sergio Ortiz-Luiz said the President might not truly understand the consequences of ending endo since this could lead to an exodus of investments.
He added that contractualization is widely used in other countries like India.
“It is a global practice accepted by many governments. It is only here in the Philippines where endo, though practiced, is not acceptable,” he said.
Many big companies in the Philippines practice endo, as many of employees in malls and grocery and convenience store chains are contractual workers, he said.
Ortiz-Luis noted that retail, construction, and similar sectors practice endo because these sectors need to always adjust to the level of demand for services, particularly in peak seasons for retail and construction.
“These companies outsource labor to service providers. And frankly, whether they subcontract or not, it should be the prerogative of the employer or company,” he said.