: Bongbong Marcos plans to simplify gov’t labor offices; review ‘endo’ bill

23 February 2022

By Neil Arwin Mercado |

MANILA, Philippines — Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., who is running for president in the May elections, is planning to streamline government agencies dealing with the labor sector and push for a review of the proposed measure to end contractual work in the country.

Marcos Jr. and officials of party-list groups Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) and the Associated Labor Unions (ALU) met and discussed the problems in the labor sector.

“I will have to put the lay out in detail because the issue has become so involved. Maraming dapat ayusin (A lot of things need to be fixed), structurally maraming dapat ayusin (a lot need to be fixed). Dapat i-streamline ang mga agencies dahil masyado nang marami (ang mga opisina), ang mga workers natin, nalilito kung saan sila dapat lumapit (Agencies should be streamlined because there are too many offices that workers are confused where they should go),” he said.

Also during the meeting, Marcos Jr. “expressed interest in making into a priority bill the Security of Tenure Act, which aims at amending the Labor Code to further protect workers’ rights by prohibiting labor-only contracting in the private sector.”

He is eyeing a review of the so-called endo bill “to ensure that it will live up to its aim of further protecting workers’ rights.” According to him, the version was vetoed by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2019 “for ‘unduly broadening’ the scope of labor-only contracting, and effectively banning other forms ‘that are not particularly unfavorable to employees’.”

“Kailangan pag-aralan ng husto kung paano ito i-aamend na talagang magbibigay proteksyon ito sa ating mga manggagawa para maisabatas ito,” he was quoted as saying in a statement.

(We should really study how we will amend this measure so it could really provide protection to our workers and pass it.)

“Kailangang ayusin natin dahil ang ating mga kababayan, napipilitang magtrabaho overseas dahil mababa at hindi maayos ang labor conditions dito,” he added.

(We should really fix this because our countrymen are forced to work overseas because of the poor labor conditions.)

In July 2019, Duterte vetoed the security of tenure bill even if one of his campaign promises in 2016 was to end labor contracting in the country.

Duterte said: “While the bill mostly codifies into law existing rules, regulations, orders and jurisprudence on matters of labor-only contracting and security of tenure, it likewise unduly broadens the scope and definition of prohibited labor-only contracting, effectively prescribing forms of contractualization that are not particularly unfavorable to the employees involved.”

“Indeed, while labor-only contracting must be prohibited, legitimate job-contracting should be allowed, provided that the contractor is well capitalized, has sufficient investments, and affords its employees all the benefits provided for under the labor laws,” he also said.