MANILA - Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Tuesday defended the executive order (EO) stopping illegal contractualization amid criticism from labor groups.
Bello denied that the EO was pro-employer, saying President Rodrigo Duterte chose to sign the draft version that the chief executive believes "would serve the best interest of our workers but also taking into account the interest of employers."
"That is not true (that the EO is pro-employer). Definitely, that is not true," he told ANC.
Bello's defense came after labor leaders Elmer Labog of the Kilusang Mayo Uno and Renato Magtubo of Nagkaisa hit the EO, saying it appeared to favor employers.
“Malinaw sa inintrega naming EO ay nagtatakda na ang main mode of employment ay regularization at exemption na lamang ang kontraktuwalisasyon,” Labog said.
(It was clear in the EO we proposed that the main mode of employment should be regularization and that contractualization should only be an exemption.)
Earlier, Duterte warned firms involved in illegal contractualization that their days were “numbered" after his office announced that he has signed an EO stopping the practice.
The labor chief, however, admitted that the government could not heed the request of labor groups to totally outlaw contractualization.
"There are certain services that can be the subject of a contractual arrangement," he said, citing retail businesses as an example.
Bello also highlighted the importance of implementing the executive order against illegal contractualization.
"You can have the best order, you can have the best laws but if there is no honest-to-goodness implementation, those laws, those orders will be useless," he said.