• DOLE eyes 2M add’l regular workers by 2022

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    THE Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) aims to regularize around two million contractual workers by 2022 when the term of office of President Rodrigo Duterte ends.

    “Objectively we can regularize 634,000 contractual workers and another 1.3 million non-regular workers or almost P2 million workers by 2022,” Undersecreary Joel Maglunsod said on Monday.

    Based on a report of the Bureau of Working Condition (BWC), 49,393 workers have been regularized by their employers during the first year of the Duterte administration. Maglunsod said his department wants this figure increased to 100,000 this year.

    Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd issued in March Department Order (DO) No. 174 which prohibits sub-contracting and illegal forms of contractualization.

    To complement the ranks of compliance officers, DOLE will be hiring 200 new Labor Laws Compliance Officers (LLCO). The new recruits will join 541 LLCOs who will assess and inspect 937,554 small, medium and big business establishments in the country.

    Maglunsod said more workers will get regular status with the deputization of some members of labor groups and unions as LLCOs.

    But the former labor leader maintained that certain forms of work contracting are allowed and these will continue unless Congress amends the labor law.

    “Even if we wanted to [abolish all forms of contractualization]we cannot do it because of existing laws which allows certain forms of contractualization,” Maglunsod said.

    “There is an existing law which recognizes legitimate forms of contractual arrangements. We encourage the labor groups and NGOs (non-government organizations) to urge congress and the President to certify as urgent House Bill 444 which prohibits all forms of contractualization,” Maglunsod added.

    He urged companies, employers and all business establishments in the country to comply with the general labor standards and occupational safety and health and to voluntarily regularize their contractual workers in accordance with DO 174.

    The official encouraged the public to call Hotline 1349 to report complaints and incidents of non-compliance by various establishments in the country.

    According to the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), more than half of the 67.1 million Filipino workforce are working under the contractualization scheme.

    Contractualization is a work arrangement whereby workers are hired for about 5 months or less than six months without security of tenure, non-monetary and social protection benefits. WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL

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