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Congress may introduce new 'endo' bill: Palace

MANILA – Malacañang said Congress may introduce a new bill to end contractualization and end-of-contract (endo) schemes following the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to veto the Security of Tenure (SOT) bill.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Sunday said Congress must ensure that a bill to end contractualization is not “absolute” in consideration of the interests of businesses or employers.

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Ernesto Pernia said the SOT should be “tweaked” to benefit both employers and workers.

“Ang Kongreso ay maaaring mag-introduce ng panibagong bill. At pag-aralan nila na hindi pupwede maging absolute ang labor-contracting prohibition (The Congress may introduce a new bill. And study that labor-contracting prohibition cannot be absolute),” Panelo said in an interview over DZIQ.

“Kailangan meron mga sitwasyon kung saan hindi pupuwedeng i-apply yung nabanggit na pagbabawal (There should be situations where prohibiting contracting does not apply),” he added.

Panelo explained that the President vetoed the SOT bill as several companies may close down if the measure is unable to give a “definite classification” of which companies are exempted from contractualization.

“Maraming magsasarado sa ating mga kumpanya pag hindi, pag hindi natin mabigyan ng definite classification yung mga ibang company na hindi dapat maisama. (Several companies may close down if we can’t provide a definite classification of companies that should not be included),” he said.

Panelo also asked lawmakers who authored and supported the measure not to be discouraged by the vetoing of the SOT bill.

“Hindi kayo kailangan maging malungkot dito o feeling betrayed. Si Presidente, yun pa rin ang kanyang paninindigan. Pero binabalanse niya ang karapatan ng management at ng workers (You don’t need to feel sad about this or feel betrayed. The President still wants to end contractualization. But he’s balancing the rights of the management and workers),” he said.

“Kung walang employer eh di wala ring working class. Hindi ba. Okay lang yan, kailangan bigyan mo ng balanseng pagkilos, tingnan mo pareho kung ano ang makakabuti sa dalawang panig (If there are no employers, there won’t be a working class. Right? That’s okay, all we need is to ensure balance and see what is good for both parties),” he added.

He reminded critics that the Chief Executive is serious in ending "endo" by even issuing Executive Order 51 which eradicates all forms of abusive employment practices through the strict implementation of the provisions of the Labor Code.

Panelo remained optimistic that Duterte’s campaign promise of ending contractualization and endo may still be realized before the end of the President’s term in 2022.

He described the vetoing of the SOT bill as “a temporary setback” for the working class while the government assesses the concerns of the businesses and employers.

“Naumpisahan na nga hindi ba, so kung naumpisahan yan, tuluy-tuloy yan. Kumbaga temporary setback lang yan sa parte ng mga working class kasi tinitingnan ni Presidente yung panig ng management (It has already been started, so it will continue. It’s just a temporary setback on the part of the working class because the President is hearing the side of the management),” Panelo said.

Senator Joel Villanueva, author of the SOT bill and chair of the Senate Committee on Labor, has earlier vowed to refile the measure, noting that the social protection of workers is “more important” than what business organizations gain.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, who expressed support for Villanueva’s intention to refile the bill, said the executive department should file its own version of the bill. (PNA)

Azer Parrocha / PNA