• OUT OF 2M WORKERS

    Only 60,000 contractuals regularized – official

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    A year after President Rodrigo Duterte promised to stamp out end-of-contract or endo employment, only 60,000 of the more than 2,000,000 contractual employees were regularized, according to an official of the Labor department.

    Undersecretary for Labor Relations Joel Maglunsod, a former representative of Anakpawis party-list, on Tuesday said the process to regularization is tedious and slow, adding that there are 630,000 contracting agencies but only 230 labor inspectors.

    Under, endo, an employee is hired for five months and if he or she wants to continue working, he or she has to sign a new contract for another five months.

    “For example, at PLDT [Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co.] last week, we finally regularized 9,120 contractual employees. That is out of 64,000 contractual workers,” Maglunsod told a forum in Manila, as he cited also the owners of Alaska Milk, which finally agreed to regularize 800 employees.

    There are 937,000 business establishments in the country and they employ two million contractual workers.

    “As of now, we have a total of 536 labor inspectors which is not enough. We asked the Department of Budget and Management for an additional 200, but it will take time also to have it approved. For the meantime, 36 were approved,” Maglunsod said.

    “We are pushing for the accreditation of labor union workers as deputized labor inspectors to fast-track the regularization process,” he added.

    When asked if contractual workers in malls have been given attention, Maglunsod said malls, fast-food chains, factories and manufacturing companies will be next in their target.

    The Labor official added that there are companies that practice “in-house” contractualization like PAL (Philippine Airlines) Express, MicroAsia and Skylogistics, among others, which is against Department Order 174.

    “We sent labor inspectors to investigate, we hope to resolve the issue as soon as possible,” he said.

    President Rodrigo Duterte promised to stop contratualization during the campaign period in 2016.

    After he was declared winner, he again reiterated it at his first State of the Nation Address (SONA).

    This July 24, in his second SONA, he will brandish 60,000 contractual workers as his achievement.

    “It is sad because mall owners became billionaires at the expense of these contractual workers. We promise to end this endo thing,” Maglunsod said.

    According to him, the achievements of the Duterte administration after one year are: removal of contractualization; mobilization of labor inspectors; issuance of iDOLE an identification system for overseas Filipino workers; one-stop-shop documentary processing for OFWs; repatriation of thousands of OFWs; livelihood; and resolution of decades-old labor disputes like the case against Rubberworld where 1,000 employees finally got their money claims.

    Maglunsod said the Labor department is supporting the move of some militant labor groups to hike the minimum wage to P750, which is lower than P1,098, the accepted living wage computation.

    At present, the minimum wage for private employees in Metro Manila is pegged at P481 plus P10 cost of living allowance.

    JAIME R. PILAPIL

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