Vetoed Security of Tenure (SoT) Bill Now Refiled for Amendment at the House of Representatives
On Monday, July 29, the Security of Tenure (SoT) Bill, the monumental legislation that promises to put a stop to all illegal employment schemes and the subcontracting of regular Filipino workers, has been refiled for revision in the House of Representatives.
Initially, the SoT Bill was approved on its third and final reading in May, vetoed by President Rodrigo Duterte in July, and now adopted by the Congress — with the main purpose of finalizing the new version that will provide a balance between the security of tenure and the viability of employers.
In support of the bill’s ideals, Secretary Silvestre Bello III of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) shared the agency’s previous efforts to enact measures of putting a stop to contractualization for regular contractual workers.
“To protect and respect all rights at work, the DOLE strictly enforced compliance to labor laws and standards through its labor inspection system,” he said.
“The DOLE remains aggressive [in] its efforts to realize the President’s directive in ending endo and other forms of illegal contracting arrangements through strict enforcement of labor standards as well as the development of enabling policies to protect workers’ right to security of tenure,” the Labor Chief added.
To verify the maintenance with labor law standards, according to Bello, DOLE inspected some 184,539 private business establishments with 12.196 million Filipino workers nationwide.
“Of this figure, 343,580 workers were regularized through voluntary regularization while 130,749 workers through inspection [from August 2016 to June 30, 2019],” he said.
Secretary Bello also gave DOLE’s recommendations for the enactment of the bill, saying the final legislation should resolve doubts in the existing laws, and develop standards of employee arrangements.
He also voiced that the addition of Congress’ approval will strengthen workers’ security of tenure by prohibiting unlawful contracting arrangements, dispelling rumours, and providing penalties for its violations.
In response to false perceptions about the bill, Deputy Speaker and Cibac Party-list Rep. Eddie Villanueva dismissed the claims on the legislation being ‘anti-employer’ or ‘anti-contractualization’. He assures that the goal of the bill is to safeguard and protect all parties in a labor agreement and not to end legal contractualization altogether.
Villanueva further states that the SoT bill gives the local industry councils the ability to determine the kind of jobs directly related to their principal business, as well as providing a medium for the labor sector to express their concerns on contracting specific roles and employers.
Previously, Department of Finance (DoF) Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III also hastened in clearing the investment climate of fears about the bill.
“We would like to add that the [SoT Bill] should not negatively affect the competitiveness of the Philippines as an investment destination,” Secretary Dominguez said.
The measures are expected to lawfully end contractualization and ultimately create a balance in the interests of workers and the business community in order to not damage investment flows into the country.