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Economic team pushes ‘fair’ security of tenure bill

/ 05:16 AM July 26, 2019

The economic team is pushing for a “fair” security of tenure bill to ensure that the interests of both employers and workers are protected.

“We support [Socioeconomic Planning] Secretary [Ernesto M.] Pernia’s position, and would like to add that the law should not negatively affect the competitiveness of the Philippines as an investment destination,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said late Wednesday when asked about the Department of Finance’s (DOF) position on the bill.

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In a press conference Wednesday, Pernia—the country’s chief economist and head of the state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority (Neda)—said the pending security of tenure bill awaiting President Duterte’s signature needed to be tweaked to make it fair to both the business and labor sectors.

Dominguez, who heads the administration’s economic team, added: “Be mindful that the Supreme Court in several occasions has ruled that while the Philippine Constitution provides that the state should protect the rights of workers and promote their welfare, such constitutional policy is not intended to oppress or destroy capital and management.”

As for Pernia, he said Neda’s view was that “the legislation should be something that will benefit not only the employers but also the workers.”

The country’s biggest local and foreign business groups had asked the President to veto the bill as they claimed its passage would negatively impact on the economy and the workers themselves.

Pernia said business groups had already met with President Duterte who, in turn, had asked them to substantiate their claims.

After his fourth State of the Nation Address  on Monday, Duterte told reporters he was still studying if he would sign the bill, as it would lapse into law on July 27 if left unsigned.

Pernia said Neda had already submitted to Malacanañg its comments three weeks ago, wherein “essentially there is a need for tweaking to address some of the provisions.”

“It has to benefit not only the workers but also the employers because if investments are deterred and they shy away because of the security of tenure, then it’s not good for the workers—there will be less job opportunities,” Pernia explained.

“It has to be fair between workers and employers because if you want jobs to be available, you need investments,” he added.

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“We have a very highlabor force growth. We really have to keep up with so many workers coming into stream,” Pernia said.

The Neda chief said the bill seemed one-sided, but when asked if it was deemed unfair to the business sector, he declined to comment but said “I think the security of tenure bill is not perfect.”

“Also, even from the employees’ side they said it’s not adequate,” Pernia noted. —BEN O. DE VERA

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TAGS: economic team, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia, Security of Tenure Bill
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