Palace still seeking ‘balanced,’ ‘acceptable’ anti-endo measure

By Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza, Reporter

THE PRESIDENT’S spokesman said the Executive branch is still working with Congress on a version of the Security of Tenure bill that balances the interests of workers and employers, after the bill was left out of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) Monday.

The bill “continues to be a promise” and the administration will continue to work to make it “acceptable” to all stakeholders, Spokesman Herminio L. Roque, Jr. said in a televised news briefing.

In 2019, Mr. Duterte vetoed a similar bill that would have ruled out forms of labor contracting which deny workers a path to full employment. The practice of contract-only employment without making workers permanent is known as “endo,” for end-of-contract.

The Labor department asked the President ahead of his last SONA to certify as urgent the revised anti-contractualization bill.

“The President promised the passage of the anti-endo bill, and he vetoed it because there were objectionable provisions on the version passed by Congress,” Mr. Roque said.

Think tank IBON Foundation has called the administration’s job creation record “the worst in the six administrations and 35 years after the Marcos dictatorship.”

The average annual jobs created under Mr. Duterte’s term decreased to 313,000 from 827,000 under his predecessor, IBON Executive Director Sonny A. Africa said via chat.

“History will judge the Duterte administration as a new low in decades-long jobless growth, so narrow-minded about creditworthiness that its economic performance is the worst in the region, and indifferent to the suffering of tens of millions of Filipinos,” he said.

Mr. Africa said the quality of work under Mr. Duterte’s term has also seriously deteriorated with huge increases in informal work between January 2020 and May 2021.

During his last SONA, the President said his government will “exert every effort to restore the lost livelihood of our affected countrymen.” He cited the creation of a task force that “will shepherd the country’s National Employment Recovery Strategy.”

The President urged Congress to pass key economic measures, including bills amending the Foreign Investments Act, the Public Service Act, and the Retail Trade Liberalization Act.

In a statement, the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX) backed the administration’s passing of the Ease of Doing Business Act, Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act, and the Rice Tariffication Act.

FINEX said it also looks forward to the passage of the proposed Capital Markets Development Act and other “pro-business legislation.”

The group thanked the President for acknowledging the role of the private sector in the country’s pandemic response.