Labor department holds back contractualization

ILOILO City — Militant labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU)- Panay criticized the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) recent statement deviating from the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte on ending contractualization.

“DOLE is not firm about the directive of the president to end contractualization. It turns its knees to water in the face of capitalists,” labor group’s coordinator Charlie Ponclara said.

Since election campaign period until now, President Duterte has been consistent that contractualization, or the employer’s practice of making an employee a contractual instead of a regular worker, has to stop.

DOLE Secretary Silvestro Bello III, however is still in a dilemma whether to end or allow contractualization.

“[We] will formulate a policy or guidelines on contractualization based on proposals from employers and labor groups before the year ends,” Bello said in a recent statement.

READ: Contractualization policy in the works

“This is a calculated withdrawal of DOLE from its supposed fight against contractualization,” Ponclara said.

Far cry
As of October, DOLE has reported 416,000 contractual workers nationwide of which 10,000 (only 2%) were newly regularized. In Western Visayas, DOLE VI has reported only 122 regularized employees.

“This a far cry from the promised 50% nationwide target of ending contractualization.”

Ponclara added that to be consistent with the directive of the President, “DOLE has to have a clear direction, i.e. to end contractualization, and enforce a thorough system of checking, monitoring and punishing employers that do not and will not abide with the law.”

Circumventing contractualization
While some are following the directive, many principal agencies and institutions are still able to circumvent it.

“Employers do not renew contracts of non-regular employees and instead, will resort to streamlining, as is the case on nursing aides in Iloilo Doctors Hospital (IDH),” said Ponclara.

Streamlining in a workplace is the practice of employers to lessen the number of workers as a cost saving scheme.

Recently, the IDH management streamlined 27 workers, causing them their non-renewal of contracts and immediate termination. Fourteen workers filed a labor case in DOLE VI and are still waiting for a decision.

To address streamlining, Ponclara urged the DOLE to enforce its powers on such cases.

Industrialization is the key
“The key still is to create jobs through national industrialization.”

“A steel industry and the nationalization of the oil industry will surely create jobs and will result to a self-reliant economy,” Ponclara stressed.

Ponclara cited IBON‘s paper, stating that the country is among the most mineral-rich in the world and ranks 3rd in gold, 4th in copper, 5th in nickel, and 6th in chromite.

READ: Promote National Industrialization for National Development

IBON, a non-profit research education and information-development institution, also added that we have many of the basic minerals needed for industrial development.

There are also vast agriculture, forestry, aquatic and energy resources. Our population, which is the 12th largest in the world, is a huge prospective domestic market and productive labor force, said the group. (


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