The Labor department’s order on contractualization and the persistent clamor for a national wage hike will be discussed in a dialogue between President Rodrigo Duterte and leaders and members of labor groups in Davao City on Monday to mark Labor Day.
Around 10,000 members of the Associated Labor Unions (ALU), Nagkaisa Coalition and the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), among others, are set to attend the dialogue with Duterte at the People’s Park in Davao City at 3 p.m.
ALU spokesperson Alan Tanjusay on Sunday said they will press the President to reveal how he plans to implement his campaign promise to ban contractualization in the wake of the issuance of by the Department of Labor and Employment of Department Order (DO) No. 174, which the labor groups said perpetuates contractualization instead of ending it.
“Now we have to take a serious tack and ask the hard questions to the President: Does the issuance of DO 174 indicate that the President cannot end contractualization? Is that the final state of play? Is DO 174 the reversal of his campaign commitment? Why can’t the President issue, order or direct [Labor] Secretary [Silvestre] Bello to issue a corrective order?” he asked.
DO No. 174 is DOLE’s new guidelines on work contacting and sub-contracting. It replaced DO No. 18-A, which has long been criticized by labor groups.
Tanjusay maintained that the only way for the President to make good on his campaign promise is by issuing an executive order superseding DO No. 174 or by directing Bello to withdraw the directive and issue a corrective order that will ban contractualization.
He said that ALU’s proposal is supported by National Anti-Poverty Commission Secretary Liza Maza and militant labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno.
Tanjusay added that ALU will also push for a P157 across-the-board wage increase and an emergency P500 monthly cash subsidy for minimum wage workers.
TUCP Secretary General Arnel Dolendo, said that they are disappointment with DO No. 174, saying that it only echoes long existing policies created by previous regulations.
He explained that the prohibition of job-only contracting, farming out of work to a “cabo” and other “illicit forms of employment arrangements” specified in DO No. 174 were already prohibited and unlawful under past regulations.
“There is nothing new in it. It uses the same policy framework which aims to regulate, instead of prohibiting contracting and subcontracting. It will just be business as usual for principal employers and their contractors and subcontractors” Dolendo said.
Meanwhile, workers belonging to newly-founded labor alliance Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa (PAGGAWA) are set to hold protest rallies in commemoration of Labor Day.
They will converge at Plaza Miranda in Quiapo, Manila at 8 a.m. before marching to Mendiola where they will hold a program.
PAGGAWA, in a statement, said it will assert the revocation of DO No. 174 which “perpetuates and legalizes the abusive practice of contractual employment” and the ouster of Bello as labor secretary.
The alliance will also call on the President to sign the draft executive order prepared by the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) in November last year which will prohibit all forms of contractualization.
Besides BMP, PAGGAWA is composed of the Association of Genuine Labor Organizations, National Federation of Labor Unions, Solidarity of Unions in the Philippines for Empowerment and Reform Federation, and the Metro East Labor Federation.
PAGGAWA’s mobilization shall also be joined by groups such as Sanlakas, Partido Lakas ng Masa, Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralitang-Lungsod and Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan .
Similar mobilizations will also happen in Bacolod, Cebu, Tacloban and Davao.
Members of urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) will also hold a protest rally to mark Labor Day.
About 5,000 members of Kadamay virtually occupied the northbound lane of Agham Road in Quezon City where they set up camp, prompting city officials to close the lane from Quezon Avenue leading to North Avenue.
On Monday, members of the group will march from Agham Road to Welcome Rotonda accompanied by members of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU).
The groups will then march to the Bonifacio Shrine in Manila before proceeding to Mendiola.
On Sunday, National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) convenor Liza Maza, Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano and Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) Chairman Terry Ridon held consultations with Kadamay and agreed to some of the demands of the group such as the P750 national minimum wage.
Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Director Guillermo Eleazar said the group was allowed to occupy Agham Road if they will not create “conflicts.”
“If there will be conflicts started by them, then we awill have to disperse them from the area,” Eleazar said.
with reports from JING VILLAMENTE and Dempsey REYES