Labor groups were disappointed with the executive order (EO) President Rodrigo Duterte signed Tuesday in a bid to prohibit "illegal contracting", or subcontracting, and strengthening workers’ rights to security of tenure.
"The cycle of broken promises continues," Federation of Free Workers Vice-President Julius Cainglet lamented.
"We are not happy with the EO. Nasaan ang Tapang at Malasakit? We wanted an order that is reflective of his sympathy for contractual and agency workers," he added.
"What we got is the same as the previous issuances of government that has set aside direct hiring as the norm. Where is the tough guy stance against exploitative employers?"
Cainglet, who spoke for labor groups Nagkaisa! Labor Coalition and Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), which had set aside their differences and forged an alliance, called for a final end to "endo" or contractualization.
Nakaisa and the KMU were among the groups which staged Labor Day protests nationwide over what they said was Duterte's "betrayal," - his failure to deliver on a campaign promise to finally end contractualization.
The president announced, amidst of the demonstrations, that he signed an EO against illegal contractualization but left it to the Congress to enact a law amending the labor code to fix the problem in the long term.
The labor groups said they would use their newfound solidarity, and with one voice, attempt to convince Congress to prohibit contractualization, "with or without an EO."
Nevertheless, the groups said "even if President Duterte did not make any promises, the Office of the President past and present still would have owed it to the Filipino worker and the Filipino family to end this practice of modern day slave labor called contractualization."
‘Hindi po ito pagpapapogi’
Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque pointed out that the labor groups were in no position to criticize the EO as they had yet to read it.
"Winawakwakan nila ang gobyerno, hindi naman nila nababasa pa ['yung EO]. So saan nanggagaling ang hugot nila laban sa gobyerno?" Roque argued. "Talagang babatuhin lang nila ang gobyerno maski hindi pa nila alam ang dahilan ng dapat batuhin."
"Malinaw po ang nilagdaan ng Presidente... ang ipagbawal ang kontraktuwalisasyon na lumalabag sa security of tenure ng manggagawa. Hindi po ito pagpapapogi. Ito po ay pagpapatupad ng batas," he added
Roque further clarified that the EO was the product of consultations between the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and labor groups, and that Duterte had fulfilled his promise to workers by signing the EO. — Margaret Claire Layug/DVM, GMA News