Duterte backs 'security of tenure' bill, may not issue EO against 'endo'

Jamaine Punzalan and Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 19 2018 01:19 PM | Updated as of Apr 19 2018 03:12 PM

Labor groups gather in Mendiola on March 15, 2018 as they hold an indignation protest against the failed promise of President Duterte to issue an Executive Order against contractualization. Maria Tan, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte will no longer issue an executive order to stop "end of contract" or endo in favor of legislation at the Senate, which he will certify as a priority, one of his economic managers said Thursday.

Labor groups had expected Duterte to sign an executive issuance ahead of Labor Day celebrations on May 1 to fulfill his campaign promise to workers.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Duterte decided not to pursue the EO after consultations with him and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.

"The consensus was that instead of the President signing an executive order on the issue of contractualization, he will instead certify as a priority bill, the bill that is now pending in the Senate on the security of tenure," Bello said in a press briefing. 

Under the bill, employees hired for an indefinite period will be deemed regular once the 6-month probationary period is over. 

Labor groups had decried the practice of some employers to end contracts on the fifth month and renew it for 5 months a time to avoid granting workers regular employee status.

"Although we are looking forward to an EO, an EO can only do so much. As you know in our system of government, an EO can only implement the law so there has to be revision in the law, especially on the definition of what endo is," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

"The President has already complied with his election promise to do away with 5-5-5 and endo," Roque said.

The DOLE more than doubled the number of labor inspectors to 500 from 200, Roque said, adding this "effectively cracked down on those resorting to endo."