Workers stage protest vs SOT bill veto
CEBU, Philippines — Workers’ groups in Cebu and Manila held simultaneous protests yesterday to express their dismay and disapproval over President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to veto anti-endo (end of contract) or the security of tenure (SOT) bill.
In Cebu, labor groups, such as the Partido Manggagawa (PM), Sentro ng Progresibo at Nagkakaisang Manggagawa (SENTRO) and Alliance of General Unions, Institutions and Labor Associations (AGUILA), staged a noise barrage to dissent Duterte’s move and to reiterate their stand against contractualization.
The demonstration dubbed “Black Monday Protest” was held at the Mactan Economic Zone in Lapu-Lapu City.The protesters wore black to symbolize the death of the SOT bill.
PM-Cebu chairperson Myra Opada said the bill is the latest “victim of killing” under the Duterte regime.
Greg Janginon, SENTRO chairperson, said Duterte betrayed the workers and broke his promise to end endo.
“Three months into his administration, Duterte forcefully warned employers that he will kill them for continuing with the practice of endo. But now three years into his term, he is parroting the lame capitalist alibi that businesses will die if workers are made regular. Duterte’s promise to end endo is dead,” he said.
He said they will lobby to the Congress a new and stronger version of the SOT bill.
“Workers want a law that will ensure regular jobs. We do not accept Duterte’s excuse that employers can outsource jobs even if it is directly related and necessary to its business. That simply opens the floodgates to the abusive system of contractualization that is happening today,” he said.
The socialist labor group, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), on the other hand, has rebuked Duterte’s statements on why he vetoed the SOT despite certifying it as urgent last year.
The militants said the president was noticeably toeing the worn out arguments used by employers since time immemorial whenever labor pushed for reforms.
In his veto message dated Friday, July 26, Duterte said labor-only contracting should be prohibited but “legitimate job-contracting should be allowed” as long as the contractor is “well capitalized, has sufficient investments, and affords its employees all the benefits” in labor laws.
But Leody de Guzman, BMP chairperson, said there is no need for security of capital in a legislation that only seeks to redress the gross exploitation that subjected millions of Filipinos to abject poverty.
He added that Duterte is merely feinting to appear as a neutral and objective arbiter when he has not moved an inch to accomplish his electoral promise.
BMP is also calling for the total abolition of all trilateral employment schemes to end the scourge of contractualization. (FREEMAN)