Contractualization dilemma: ‘Exploiting laborers unjustifiable’
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Tuesday called on the administration and lawmakers to side with Filipino workers in coming up with a solution to end the unfair practice of labor contractualization as promised by President Rodrigo Duterte.
In a letter titled “Our Country and Our Faith,” CBCP President Archbishop Socrates Villegas expressed support to Duterte’s promise to end the abusive “endo” or the end-of-contract scheme of employers, saying that the church is as concerned about the “travails of those who work under contracts that make use of them for a time – but guarantee that they never get to enjoy the benefits of permanent employment.”
Villegas maintained that there is “no justification” for the exploitation of workers.
“We are not unaware that there have been concerns expressed by the management sector about the slow-down in the economy if contractualization and out-sourcing are outlawed,” Villegas wrote. “We do not pretend to have answers for these delicate and complicated issues, but of one thing, we remain sure: There is no moral justification for the exploitation of the working Filipino, and for denying the laborer the benefits of permanent employment.”
“We urge the President, his Cabinet and the Legislature to be resolute in this respect and to side with those who have for so long labored under the exploitative conditions of contractualization,” he added.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Tuesday said institutionalizing the Duterte administration’s policy to put an end to endo by 2017 is a “doable” task.
READ: Ending ‘endo’ is ‘doable,’ says Labor chief
Officials have proposed a “win-win proposal” wherein workers will be hired by service providers and agencies as regulars and will be receiving full benefits, while companies have the flexibility to either directly hire workers as regular employees or outsource them through service agencies in case of seasonal jobs.
Villegas also lauded Duterte government’s efforts to curb poverty as well as the reported economic growth within the President’s first three months in office, but highlighted the importance of the rule of law and inclusiveness in harnessing economic stability.
“The President’s heart for the poor is commendable and his swift action in addressing the everyday concerns of the poor is evident. Poverty and mass inequality are the major problems so widespread in our country. Human development in our country is massive failure,” he said.
“There are, to be sure, encouraging observations in the economy. But because there is a direct relation between economic stability and the strength (or the weakness) of the Rule of Law, the picture cannot remain rosy when there are perceived fissures in the Rule of Law,” Villegas added.
The Philippine economy expanded 7.1 percent in the third quarter of 2016, the fastest in Asia.
READ: Philippine economy grows fastest in Asia
The Lingayen-Dagupan archbishop also urged businessmen to adhere to the corporate social responsibility by not only generating wealth but also advancing the well-being of Filipinos, especially the marginalized.
“Too many Filipinos still leave the country – and leave their families and homes – to be able to assure themselves and their families of a more promising future. We exhort Filipino businessmen as well as foreign investors to make it possible for every Filipino to aspire after a fulfilling future for herself and for her family in our own land,” Villegas said.
“Inclusive economic growth is not only a charming concept. It is a moral imperative. Promising corporate figures must translate into fuller lives for those who live in barangays and the far-flung reaches of our Archipelago,” he added. IDL
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