Returning Senator Jinggoy Estrada has underscored the need to strike a balance between the employees and the employers in the proposed bill on “endo,” the practice by which some companies avoid regularizing their workers by dismissing them before they reach their sixth month, then rehire them.
As chairman of the Senate labor committee in the incoming 19th Congress that opens July 25, Estrada said his panel will surely have to deal with bills to end labor contractualization.
President Rodrigo Duterte ended his term on June 30, without signing into law the proposed Security of Tenure (SOT) and End of Endo Act, despite promising to pass such a law during his campaign to be president.
The proposed measure seeks to institutionalize the right to security of tenure of all casual and contractual employees
Estrada, who also served as the Senate labor committee chairman in the 17th Congress, described the endo bill as “very complicated” but said he would file a new bill.
He promised to sit down with Labor Secretary Benjamin Laguesma to find means to provide relief to the workers amid the unabated increase in the prices of gasoline and basic goods and services.
The senator said his track record would show that he is pro-labor.
It is the reason why protecting the interest and welfare of workers was among his campaign promises.
He said he is happy that the government heeded his call for an increase in the minimum wage for workers in Metro Manila, but in the provinces, it’s still low.
He acknowledged that a nationwide salary increase would be difficult since the cost of living in Metro Manila is higher than in the provinces.
“We have to set a balance,” he said.
Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros, meanwhile, said first-term Senators Robin Padilla and Raffy Tulfo have expressed support for the Security of Tenure Bill or the measure seeking to stop labor-only contracting.
In a podcast interview with Howie Severino, Hontiveros vowed to push for the anti-endo measure, the universal pension for senior citizens, the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) bill, and measures catering to the welfare of workers under the gig economy.
“I’m sorry that we ran out of time in the 18th Congress for the Lingap Para Kay Lolo at Lola Bill. This is the universal social pensions for senior citizens bill,” Hontiveros said.
“In fact, I already started requesting senators-elect Raffy Tulfo and Robin Padilla who said and whom it was said, that they want to support the Security of Tenure Bill,” she added.
“Endo” or “end of contract” is an employment term where companies hire workers for less than six months to avoid their regularization as mandated by the Labor Code.
Rodrigo Duterte, when he ran for president in 2016, promised to stop “endo” but in 2019 vetoed the Security of Tenure and End of Endo Bill which Congress passed.