MANILA—The practice of contractualization, whether in government or in the private sector, must end, 5 senatorial aspirants agreed during the ABS-CBN roundtable discussion "Sino SENyo?" on Teleradyo Thursday.
For former Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, there should be a law against contractualization, and should he get a seat in the Senate he would look into why the bill was vetoed.
"Alam mo kawawa ’yung mga contractual employees natin. Wala silang nakukuhang benepisyo, walang fixed na sahod, at any given time pwede silang alisin ano. So tingin ko dapat tigilan na natin ang endo. Unfortunately, may batas na dapat ’yan kaso na-veto. So we have to look into that as soon as possible," he said.
(I feel sorry for contractual employees. They do not get benefits, they do not have fixed salaries, and they can lose their jobs at any given time. So I think the concept of endo must be discarded. Unfortunately, we should have had a law on that but it was vetoed. So we have to look into that as soon as possible.)
Bautista said private businesses should also ensure they give enough protection to their workers if they cannot afford to hire them full time.
Samira Gutoc said there should be a system that will allow the rehiring of workers who finish their contracts.
"So sana darating ang panahon na mutually beneficial sa both labor at management at gobyerno. Ma-enable ng environment na maswelduhan nang tama ang ating empleyado at the same time provide them rehiring privilege, opportunity dahil naging expert na rin sila, or na-tap na rin sila with familiarity with the management so sana ma-devise ang ganoong system na ma-tap sila sa priority ng next hiring," she said.
(I hope there will come a time that there will be a system that's mutually beneficial for both the workers, the management and the government. We should have an environment where workers receive proper wages while providing them rehiring privilege, opportunity since they have become experts in their field, or they already have familiarity with the management. So I hope we can devise a system that prioritize them for the next hiring.)
Atty. Jose Manuel "Chel" Diokno promised to do everything he can to end contractualization, should he be elected in the Senate.
"Gagawin ko ang lahat para ma-ending na ang endo na ito, at hindi lang po sa private sector, pati nga po sa ating pamahalaan. I will do everything in my power to end endo," he said.
(I will do everything to end endo, not only in the private sector but also in the government.)
He also said it is important to distinguish between legitimate outsourcing, and those who use contractualization to abuse labor laws.
"I-distinguish natin ang legitimate outsourcing at ’yung paggamit ng endo para lang malusutan ang mga labor law natin. Iba ’yung kailangan mo ng special na consultant, kukuha ka ng contractual dahil talagang mabilisan lang ’yung pangangailangan na ’yun. Iba ’yung kukuha ka ng empleyado na regular na dapat sila, sila ’yung nagpapagana ng inyong negosyo, tapos gagawin mo silang kontraktwal, ’yung tinatawag nga nating 5-5-5. Ayan ’yung pinakamasahol na klase ng endo at ’yan ang dapat talagang ipagbawal natin," Diokno explained.
(We should distinguish legitimate outsourcing from those using endo to dodge labor laws. It's different if you need special consultants, then you will get contractual employees since you only need them for a short time. But this is different from hiring employees who should be regularized, since they are the backbone of your business, but you will make them contractual, the 5-5-5 system. That is the worst kind of endo and that should be made illegal.)
Atty. Lutgardo Barbo also lamented that the proposed law was vetoed, and said that there should be a dialogue between all stakeholders to come up with a solution to the problem.
"Ang problema yata, hindi napirmahan ng presidente because may mga employer o mga capitalist na hindi pumapabor. Kailangan siguro ng, sabi nga, bite the bullet. Kung kailangan pulungin ang mga nararapat magbigay ng kanilang mga ideas, and then once and for all, let us decide. Hindi 'yung gagamitin ito kada eleksyon, pangangakuan ang mga workers, mga empleyado natin. I will work for your welfare and your interest, pero 'pag nandiyan na, wala ring nangyayari," he said.
(The problem is the president did not sign it because there are employers or capitalists who were not in favor. What we need, as they say, is to bite the bullet. We need to gather everyone who needs to give their ideas, and then once and for all, let us decide. We cannot just use this issue every election, promising the workers that I will work for your welfare and your interest, but nothing happens once they're elected.)
For Dr. Minguita Padilla, the government should come up with ways to meet the demands both of the workers and the employers.
"Kailangan talagang after 6 months sasabihin sa'yo, OK, probational ka. If you do well, ire-regularize ka. Kung hindi, alam mo na probational ka. You can look for another job. Pero 'yung purposely every 5 months, bago ka mag-6 months tatanggalin ka, talagang it's called gaming the system. In an ideal world, dapat wala 'yan talaga," she explained.
(After 6 months, you should be made a probationary employee. If you do well, then you'll be regularized. But if not, then you know you are under probation. You can look for another job. But if you are purposely removed from your position every 5 months, you'll be removed before you reach your 6th month, that's gaming the system. In an ideal world, contractualization should not exist.)
"We have to be able to see both ways. Pero definitely skilled workers, hindi dapat may endo na skilled workers (But definitely there should not be endo for skilled workers)," Padilla added.
The end of contractualization (endo) — the practice of renewing a worker's contract short of every 6 months instead of giving them a full employee status with complete benefits — was one of the campaign promises of President Rodrigo Duterte.
In 2018, Duterte urged Congress to to pass legislation that will "once and for all" stop illegal contractualization.
In his last year in office, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III urged the Duterte to sign an "endo bill" as urgent, but the President did not even mention the proposal in his last State of the Nation Address.