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Prez Duterte vetoes proposed Security of Tenure bill

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte ROBINSON NI√ĎAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Duterte vetoed the Security of Tenure Bill passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives.

In his veto message, President Duterte said that he still remains firm in his commitment to protect the right of workers to security of tenure by eradicating all forms of abusive employment practices.

However, he stressed that the goal of the administration has always been to target the abuse while leaving businesses free to engage in practices beneficial to both management and the workforce.

President Duterte said the bill endorsed by Congress mostly codifies into law existing rules, regulations, orders, and jurisprudence on matters of labor-only contracting and security tenure.

The proposed measure also unduly broadens the scope and definition of prohibited labor-only contracting practices, ‘effectively proscribing forms of contractualization that are not particularly unfavorable to the employees involved’.

While labor-only contracting must be prohibited, the Chief Executive insisted that legitimate job contracting should be allowed provided that the contractor has enough capital, has sufficient investments, and can afford to provide all the benefits mandated by labor laws to all their employees.

Businesses should be allowed to determine whether they should outsource certain activities or not, especially when job-contracting will result in economy and efficiency in their operations, with no detriment to the workers, regardless of whether this is directly related to their businesses,” the letter read.

This is especially critical since empirical data shows that the Philippines is currently at a disadvantage already in terms of cost and flexibility of labor use compared to its peers in the region,” the letter furthe read.

President Duterte noted that the Supreme Court of the Philippines has repeatedly ruled that the Philippine Constitution provides that government should protect the rights of workers and promote their welfare but such constitutional policy does not intend to oppress or destroy capital and management.

He stressed that a healthy balance between the conflicting interests of labor and managements should be observed, and that expanding the definition of labor-only contracting destroys the said balance.

The Chief Executive believes that the proposed Security of Tenure Bill will place capital and management at an impossibly difficult predicament with adverse consequences to the Filipino workers in the long term.

Yesterday, Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said that President Duterte vetoed the bill but immediately retracted his announcement, and said that Chief Executive is still studying the proposal.

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