'Slavery,' 'exploitation': Senate bets promise to stop 'endo'

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 17 2019 08:26 PM | Updated as of Feb 18 2019 09:32 AM

MANILA – Nine senatorial aspirants said Sunday they would push for new legislation or amend existing laws to stop "endo" or contractualization in labor.

Three years into President Rodrigo Duterte's 6-year term, the labor department released new guidelines on stop "endo" or hiring workers in 5-month-long cycles at a time to avoid granting them regular status.

Opposition senatorial candidate Samira Gutoc likened contractualization to "slavery" with no certain ending.

"It is a form of slavery when you don’t know it’s going to end, ‘yong iyong job term. There are contracts, kailangan klaro sa atin, when it's gonna end there's going to be insurance that will be provided for us,” she said.

(It's a form of slavery when you don't know it's going to end. There are contracts, it must be clear when it's going to end, there's going to be insurance provided for us.)

Sen Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV, who is seeking reelection, said he would push for the passage of the Security of Tenure Bill, which is pending on second reading at the Senate.

Aquino said his measures against “endo” will include state workers as well as private employees.

“Kailangan mawala na rin po ‘yong endo sa gobyerno,” Aquino said during "Harapan 2019: The ABS-CBN Senatorial Town Hall Debate."

(Endo in government must stop.)

Lawyer Glenn Chong said he would amend the Labor Code or “craft a new law that will prohibit labor-only contracting.”

Lawyer Lorenzo “Larry” Gadon said industry should be strengthened to stop "endo." Addressing high power rates and peace and order wilo encourage more investments in industry, he said.

Former Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino said the Labor Code should be amended and senior citizens should be given job opportunities.

Broadcast journalist Jiggy Manicad also called contractualization as “modern exploitation.” He said government should be a model in enforcing labor laws and prohibiting “endo.”

He also raised the concern of barangay officials and volunteers who do not get paid.

Opposition candidate Florin Hilbay said workers should be provided “unemployment compensation” while the Security of Tenure Bill is yet to be passed.

“Para habang tumatawid sa bagong trabaho ang ating manggagawa, mayroong ayuda ang pamahalaan at hindi sila naiiwan sa ere,” he said.

(So that while in between jobs, workers get aid from the government, so that they are not left hanging.)

While there is a need to end “endo,” this may only be possible in large businesses such as fast food chains and department stores, said Dr. Willie Ong.

“Pero sa mga maliliit na negosyo, baka di nila kaya,” Ong said.

(Small businesses might not be able to take a hit.)

Opposition senatorial candidate Jose Manuel "Chel" Diokno also vowed to end “endo.”

President Rodrigo Duterte last year signed an executive order stopping “endo” or illegal contractualization.

While the EO will help “alleviate” the plight of workers, the President said an amendment of the Labor Code is needed to keep it “attuned to the realities of our times.”

Labor groups and militant groups have criticized the EO, saying the order favors employers and will not stop illegal contractualization.

The House of Representatives last year approved on third and final reading the Security of Tenure Bill.