Foreign Equity and Professionals NewsLabor NewsLegislation NewsPart 4 News: General Business Environment

DTI chief not backing business groups’ veto-SOT call

DTI chief not backing business groups’ veto-SOT call

Elijah Felice Rosales | BusinessMirror | July 9, 2019

Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez

Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez is backing the Labor department’s push for the security of tenure (SOT) bill awaiting the President’s signature, and expressed hope President Duterte will sign the measure that he says will legitimize various forms of contractualization that will make clear the country’s employment regime.

Lopez told reporters he is in favor of the SOT bill awaiting the President’s signature. For him, it strikes a good balance between the welfare of workers and interest of employers.

“I have looked at that version submitted to the President, and I think it addressed many of our concerns [on the] security of tenure of workers, which is also our concern, that [workers] will become regular employees either of the contractor or the contractee,” Lopez said.

“That is why I am for the [passage of the] new law. [The SOT bill] really improves the security of tenure process here in our country,” he added.

Furthermore, Lopez argued the SOT bill legitimizes various forms of contractualization, such as season-based employment and project-based work, and clears any confusion on what is allowed and what is not under labor laws.

“The more important thing that made me support this bill is [that] it allows legitimate contractualization. In other words, you can get these contractors on this fair basis,” the trade chief explained.

“That is why, frankly, I supported the SOT [bill] and did not join the group wanting to veto [it],” he added.

Call for veto

Lopez was referring to several business groups that submitted to Duterte last week a letter asking for the veto of the SOT bill. They argued that the right to a secure tenure in the workplace is “not absolute,” and employers should maintain their power to dismiss a worker who is no longer performing subject to observance of due process.

They added that approving the SOT bill could work against the Philippines in the face of a changing labor regime, in which contractual employment is perceived to be the future.

“The concept of dependent employment is steadily being eroded. Under the future of work, there will be an unprecedented rise of independent contractors, telework and a constellation of other Internet-enabled companies,” the businessmen’s letter read.

Lopez dismissed the concerns of employers, and said they will retain their power to dismiss a worker even under the employment regime proposed by the SOT bill.

“On the protection of firms, they can still—proven that the worker is performing poorly and that conclusion was reached after due process—terminate people. The law allows for that as long as it is done with due process,” Lopez said.

Workers are banking on the SOT bill to prohibit all forms of contractualization in fulfillment of the President’s promise to do so, as they argued that previous executive actions—Executive Order 51 and Department Order 174 of the labor department—outlawed forms of contractual employment that are already banned under the Labor Code and existing laws.


Comment here