PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is meeting with representatives of labor and employers groups to thresh out problems between workers and management, including the recent implementation of the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DoLE) new guidelines on work contracting and sub-contracting that organized labor is strongly opposing.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd on Wednesday disclosed that a dialogue between the President, the workers and management will take place on the eve of the celebration of the Labor Day on May 1.
“This shows that our President is a listening President, which is very important to a leader,” Bello said.
“It is not only during Labor Day, the President has committed to talk quarterly with labor,” he added.
Where Department Order (DO) 174 is concerned, Bello said the department has done its best in addressing the needs of the works but noted that “our powers are not limitless.”
He reiterated that even as the DoLE would like to accommodate the demand of the workers for a total ban on contractualization, the government’s hands are tied because the law allows some forms of contractual relations.
According to Bello, some 46,605 workers have already been regularized as of the first quarter of the year, saying majority have been voluntarily regularized while the rest were regularized through regular assessment.
He pointed out that with the issuance of DO 174, “we expect more workers to be regularized.”
“I believe that more workers under illegal contracting arrangements will become regular workers as we strictly enforce the new department order,” Bello said.
He added that he has also authorized Undersecretary Joel Maglungsod to supervise a team composed of labor compliance officers and representatives from labor and employers that will inspect more than 90,000 establishments to assure their compliance with labor standards and existing labor laws.
Meanwhile, the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippiines (ALU-TUCP), the biggest labor group in the country, said they will participate in the Labor Day gathering with the President.
“But we wish Mr. Duterte will have something significant to give or share as a gift to the working class as government’s appreciation of workers who helped build the growing Philippine economy on their labor toil,” ALU-TUCP spokesman Alan Tanjusa said.
“We hope Mr. Duterte will make economic growth inclusive for workers by gifting them with the banning of contractualization work arrangements and announcing a significant wage hike for all workers nationwide,” he added. WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL