MANILA, Philippines --- The Senate on Wednesday approved on third and final reading a proposed measure that seeks to end illegal labor contractualization in the country.
With 15 affirmative votes, the chamber approved Senate Bill No. 1826 also known as "Security of Tenure Bill," authored and sponsored by Senator Joel Villanueva.
The senators who voted to approve the bill include Villanueva, Sonny Angara, Bam Aquino, Nancy Binay, Franklin Drilon, JV Ejercito, Francis Escudero, Sherwin Gatchalian, Risa Hontiveros, Loren Legarda, Koko Pimentel, Grace Poe, Ralph Recto, Juan Miguel Zubiri, and Vicente "Tito" Sotto.
Villanueva explained that his proposed measure, popularly known as "End Endo bill," defines the security of tenure for workers, which could put an end to illegal contractualization. He said the right to protection of tenure is "Constitutionally-guaranteed."
Villanueva noted that the bill "reiterates the prohibition on labor-only contracting, and clarifies ambiguities in existing laws that have allowed employers to tiptoe around the ban."
"We longed for this day to come, especially our workers who have suffered because of the evils of endo, a practice which corrupts the dignity of labor," Villanueva said in a statement. "We want to give all workers peace of mind when it comes to their employment status, that no worker can be dismissed without just or authorized cause, and due process."
"We listened to the concerns of various stakeholders and took these into account in putting together this bill. We believe this measure protects the interests of all parties concerned," he also said. "We are grateful for the support we received from our colleagues who helped us pass this measure."
Under the bill, labor-only contracting is in place if the job contractor merely supplies, recruits, and places workers to a contractee; the workers supplied to a contractee perform tasks and activities that are listed by the industry to be directly related to the core business of the contractee; or the contractee has direct control and supervision of the workers supplied by the contractor.
The bill also classifies workers into four employment types -- regular, probationary, project, and seasonal. The employment types were categorized in a move to put an end to "the current practice of misclassifying employees to prevent them from obtaining regular status."
The bill likewise states that like regular workers, project and seasonal workers will be receiving law-mandated social protection benefits and payment of at least the minimum wage.
It further requires contractors to secure a license from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to ensure they will be able to meet the qualifications of labor laws in the country.
Following the Senate's approval of the bill, it will be elevated to the bicameral committee for further deliberations and returned to the lower and upper chamber for ratification of the final version. Once ratified, the final version of the proposal will be sent to the Office of the President for President Rodrigo Duterte's signature that would then make it into law. (Editor: Katherine G. Adraneda)/ac