Government is tops in contractualization scheme

By Rose de la Cruz

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Roa Duterte wants contractualization by private companies to stop. But he forgets that government is the top adopter of this global (mal)practice.

In a speech before the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) at the palace, the President told the private companies “whether you are SM or others to stop this practice because of your desire for profits.”

But he must have forgotten that government is the top institutional practitioner of contractualization through job orders, project hires, casuals, contractuals and consultants among others.

The number of people hired under these different nomenclatures runs to tens of thousands, from the Office of the President down to the smallest local government unit, the barangays. Their numbers swell even more right after elections to pay off political debts.

If the President expects compliance to this order, he must begin by stopping his own (government) machinery from using this globally-accepted practice, which is often termed as outsourcing.

The disdain for contractualization is not shared by Duterte alone. During the last presidential debate in May, all five presidential candidates vowed to stop the practice if elected.

This is because of a) the injustice on labor of not giving them what is due under the labor laws; b) it deprives the workers of job security through regularization (and the benefits accruing such status) and c) it is a mechanism to stave off attempts at unionism or organized labor.

Employers’ reaction

As early as June, weeks after being voted into office, the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines and the Philippine Association of Labor and Service Contractors (PALSCON) held an emergency general assembly designed to word out a resolution to “enlighten” the newly-elected president on the urgency of contractualization.

An attendance of about 200 loudly protested the undue mislabeling on the practice and that their groups are bona fide contractors accredited with the Department of Labor and Employment, who comply diligently with DOLE Order Number 18, which bans and outlaws illegal and fly-by-night operators, or those resorting to endo (end of contract) 555 (five months, five days’ notice before termination of contract) and other modes of hiring illegally.

They even warned that if contractualization would be completely stopped the ranks of unemployed would swell by not less than 3 million immediately.

Underhanded

Duterte admitted that the government labor offices do not have sufficient manpower to inspect the books and actual work conditions of their employees. “Do not wait for us to inspect and don’t wait for me to catch you because I will be unforgiving,” he said.

He even gave veiled threats to replace his labor secretary if he can’t do this job.

Aware of his steady popularity, Duterte has been hurling threats to every sector (mining, employers, media, uniformed men, the church those plotting to impeach him for the summary executions and human rights violations, China the US and almost everyone).

Except for what he calls the lowliest people, who he is certain catapulted him to his post. And he obviously loves to play on their sentiments. He somehow overdoes (as his legacy) what the beloved former Argentinian president had done.

But he must set the trend first right in his home turf, the government.

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Wednesday, 22 November 2017
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