Labor groups protest DOLE contractualization order

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Labor groups gathered in Mendiola on Friday to protest the recently signed Department Order 174.

Workers also protested in front of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Manila, even defacing the DOLE facade. They also threw eggs at the DOLE marker and attempted to barge in the doors of the office.

Department Order 174 got the green light from Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello on Thursday.

The groups are calling on Bello to resign.

Related: Rules on contractualization signed

The order bans labor-only contraction, outsourcing work due to a strike, and "555" or "endo" schemes that arrange five-month contracts that fall short of regularization.

But for labor groups, this is not enough.

"Malinaw naman na sinasabi ni Pangulong Duterte na payag siya na wakasan yung kontraktwalisasyon pero sa ngayon, lalo lamang nagpalala sa hanay ng manggagawa," said Ray Cagomoc, spokesperson of Kilusang Manggagawa.

[Translation: President Duterte clearly stated that he's agrees to abolishing contractualization but now, the conditions of workers have worsened.]

They argue that DO 174 actually favors employers and allows manpower agencies to reabsorb workers if employers do not regularize them.

Protesters say, this leaves employees stuck between abusive companies and middlemen, without assurance of fair pay or benefits.

"Yung pagiging regular dun sa mga ahensya, hindi ho tama yon," said Mick Catuir, Secretary General of Migrante International. "Kasi ganun pa rin ang esensya niya. Contractual pa rin yung mga manggagawa. Wala pa rin silang siguradong trabaho."

[Translation: Being regular in the agency isn't right. The essence is still the same. The workers are still contractual. They still don't have job security.]

The groups also said that the government failed to listen to them and their consultations amounted to nothing.

Labor leaders walked out of talks with the government and employers earlier this month, as they were not able to reach a compromise.

Related: Labor leaders walk out of ‘endo’ talks

They are calling for a total ban on all forms of contractualization and agency hiring, as President Rodrigo Duterte promised.

Catuir also said that the necessity for livelihood for Filipinos is a more urgent need than the problem of drugs, the issue most highlighted under Duterte's term.

"Ibig sabihin po nito, regular na trabaho, disenteng sahod, lupa para sa mga magsasaka, basic social services," said Catuir. "Iyan po ang mga pangangailangan ng mga Pilipino."

[Translation: That means regular work, decent pay, lands for farmers, basic social services. Those are what Filipinos need.]


Palace statement

However, Malacanang Palace maintains that the administration has actually kept its word.

"Department Order 174... regulating the contracting and subcontracting of employees is a fulfillment of the campaign promise of the President," Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella said on Friday. "This is a major step in upholding and protecting the labor rights of our great Filipino workers."

He added that they were expecting the "full cooperation [of] employers" with the new department order.

"The fruits of labor must be enjoyed justly and equitably, while business investments must be encouraged to grow and prosper so they can share with workers the reward for their toil," said Abella.

"The Duterte administration is working very hard to promote more humane conditions and fair and just treatment of workers in the work place," said Abella.

CNN Correspondents JC Gotinga and Triciah Terada contributed to this report.