Press Release
July 26, 2019


*Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros on President Rodrigo Duterte's veto of the Security of Tenure bill

President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to veto the Security of Tenure Bill is not surprising. From the start, the President's commitment to end labor contractualization under his term was wimpish and wishy-washy. After he made a bold promise during the campaign that he would eliminate contractual labor, his administration issued several toothless department and executive orders. When they all failed to appease the working population, he passed the ball to the legislature, only to veto the very law passed by the majority, and which he even certified as urgent.

President Duterte explained that he vetoed the measure in order to protect capital and management, as well as the long-term interest of labor. This is laughable as the President vetoed a law that was not even at full strength. The bill would not even have tilted the balance between labor and management. All major labor groups rejected it.

I, myself, removed my name as one of the authors of the measure after the House of Representatives decided to simply adopt the Senate's version of the bill, thereby canceling the bicameral process and missing the opportunity to include a provision against fixed term employment. The prohibition against fixed term employment would have been the heart and soul of the Security of Tenure Bill. Without it, the measure could not end contractualization.

It would have been acceptable if the President had vetoed the measure because it is insufficient in defending workers from labor contractualization and asked Congress to pass a better version of the law. Yet, he quashed it because he thought it was remarkably biased to the workers. That President Duterte vetoed a law that would have been weak in protecting workers and would have required too little from management showed his deep prejudice and apathy against the Filipino working class. The President who fashioned himself as the so-called defender of the working class has been fully exposed as their enemy. President Duterte decided to side against the Filipino workers.

Nevertheless, we will continue the fight to pass a law that will genuinely promote regular employment and end labor contractualization in the country. With the help of different labor groups, advocates and like-minded legislators, we will accomplish what is difficult.

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