Fiesta is temporary, work must be permanent
by Norman Novio
On Labor Day, thousands or perhaps millions of workers will march on city streets to press for the ending of contractualization of labor. May 1, as I have pointed out time and again, falls on the Feast Day of my hometown’s patron, St. Joseph the Worker. The merriment appears to be endless like our working class’ demand to end contractualization commonly called as “endo”, slang for end-of-contract. The issue is not even part of political discourses in the whole non-industrial province of Occidental Mindoro much more mobilizations as such. The weeklong fiesta celebration starts today.
Endo just became the President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s presidential campaign promise showing that this administration who assured change remains under control of the capitalists. Philippines is controlled by the elite for the prominent legislators and politicians are also business tycoons and industry leaders demonstrating the link with wealth and power, politics and capital. The oligarchs remain strong and influential in this impoverished nation, then and now. What can one expect? Change, it appears, is still at the end of the dark tunnel.
The labor department’s DO 174 just institutionalized contractualization for it is a watered-down, weak and pro-capitalists order coming from the executive branch. The president tossed it to Congress for legislative action. Truth is, labor secretary Silvestre Bello III could easily end contractualization upon orders of his principal. It is crystal clear in Article 106 of the Labor Code that, “The Secretary of Labor and Employment may, by appropriate regulations, restrict or prohibit the contracting-out of labor to protect the rights of workers established under this Code.” For more than two decades, the labor department has adopted the weak approach and has chosen to restrict contracting arrangements instead of prohibiting “endo”. Since the beginning, the department’s method has been demonstrated to be a total letdown.
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