In his last year’s State of the Nation Address (SONA 2018), President Rodrigo Duterte came out with an excuse claiming that only lawmakers can end contractualization “once and for all.” It was followed by a certification issued by Malacanang marking the Security of Tenure (SOT) bill as a priority measure.
While some labour groups were hopeful that even the watered-down version will at least assuage the labour sector from their tribulations, it did not take Duterte that long to veto the SOT bill right after his 2019 SONA. Three years on after his electoral campaign promise to abolish contractualization in just a single week, President Duterte still never runs out of excuses. As a matter of fact, Duterte has all the right to crown himself as the king of lies and master tactician of deceit and scams.
Like mad dogs, the veto was celebrated by big businesses and Duterte’s favour before the eyes of the greedy ruling elite grew even more. If there’s one thing that we find obvious in Duterte’s reasoning behind the veto, that is no other than his strong desire to push for the absolute legalization of contractualization.
Now serving as the chief proponent for Endo, Duterte said that job contracting should be allowed provided that the labour contractor is “well capitalized” and benefits are afforded to employees. So there you go! We’ve heard it right! Duterte is now speaking on behalf of 3rd party contractors and this will forever keep principal employers from extending full rights and benefits to their struggling employees.
Migrante International finds it moronic for anyone in government with sound mind to believe that Filipino workers will magically prosper in the absence of job security and living wages. Undoubtedly, the Duterte regime’s blueprint for development is only aimed at advancing the wealth of the top financial elite at the expense of Filipino workers. No wonder the Philippines consistently makes it to the world’s top 10 worst countries for workers (ITUC Global Rights Index).
Never in infinitude will contractualization bring forth tangible progress for ordinary Filipino workers. It is one of the major factors why thousands of Filipinos leave the country everyday in the hope that overseas employment will offer decent lives for their families. Yet in reality, only the opposite is true for many OFWs who have fallen prey to modern-day slavery.
Only Duterte’s removal from power and the subsequent total elimination of the oppressive elitist system will reverse the troubled state of Filipino workers. Migrante International is one with all Filipino workers who are longing to break free from the chains of oppression and exploitation.
Joanna Concepcion, Chairperson, Migrante International,