MANILA — A lawmaker from the Makabayan bloc slammed Thursday the passage on second reading of House Bill 7036 or the proposed security of tenure law, claiming the legislation failed to address exploitative labor contractualization such as endo.
Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas, who made a last-minute attempt to amend the bill prior to its approval Wednesday night, said the proposed law would even serve as "legal basis" for more labor malpractice.
"The bill is dangerous [and] pro-capitalist in its current form and will be abused as legal basis to contract out jobs that are not directly related or necessary under this bill," Brosas said during the Makabayan bloc's weekly briefing Thursday.
According to the congressional fact sheet, the bill expressly prohibits labor-only contracting, which they defined as follows:
• The contractor does not have substantial capital or investment in the form of tools, equipment, machineries, work premises, among others;
• The contractor has no control over the workers’ methods and means of accompanying their work; and
• The contractor’s workers are performing activities which are directly related to the principal business of the employer.
Brosas said these definitions are prone to abuse.
"Contractual workers would hurdle steep condition to ascertain [their] regularization. Their jobs must be directly related and necessary, at the same time, they may only be regularized with the contractor or manpower agency, but not with the principal employer," Brosas said.
The House is set to give its final approval on the bill next week. Brosas said Gabriela would insist on amendments to include imprisonment and fines as penalties for violations.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, then candidate Rodrigo Duterte promised to end "endo" or the practice of hiring employees for a contract of less than 6 months, or the mandated period for regularization.
In 2019, Duterte vetoed another version of the security of tenure bill, saying it "unduly broadens the scope and definition of prohibited labor-only contracting."
In vetoing the bill, Duterte explained that while labor-only contracting must be prohibited, legitimate job-contracting should be allowed, provided that the contractor is well capitalized, has sufficient investments, and affords its employees all the benefits provided under labor laws.