(UPDATE) Kabataan Partylist joins millions of workers, especially those from the youth, in denouncing DO 174, which desperately creates the illusion that the Duterte has abolished contractualization. In fact, this DO actualizes DOLE Secretary Bello’s previous pronouncements that certain forms of contractualization are legal, and that DOLE can only regulate and not end contractualization.
“DOLE as just admitted its inutility when it said that it has no power over ending contractualization,” Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago said.
“DO 174 is no different from Noynoy Aquino’s DO 18-A which worked under exactly the same premise: merely differentiating ‘legitimate’ from ‘non-legitimate’ contractualization, instead of ending the system altogether. In fact, it is a copy-paste rehash of DO 18-A, repackaged under Bello’s deceptive and nonexistent ‘win-win solution.’ This shows how Duterte only retained the previous administration’s policies despite his travesty of ‘change’,” Elago added.
Since the implementation of DO 18-A, contractualization has gone more rampant and the number of contractual employees drastically increased. A Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) survey revealed that non-regular employees amounted to 1.336 million, or about 29 percent of 4.472 million workers employed in large establishments, an increase of 16.3 percent from 2012.
“This is clearly against the workers’ just demand, and is contrary to Duterte’s earlier promise of ending all forms of contractualization. It becomes clear that Duterte has no intention of pushing this through,” Elago exclaimed.
“Contractualization continues to subject workers to low wages, anti-worker policies and attacks on the right to unionize, all in the name of capitalist profit. Under the new DO, capitalists will only find new ways to exploit our workers,” Elago explained.
Elago further explained how contractualization is linked with the neoliberal economic framework.
“The global frame is race to the bottom– to attract more foreign investments in the country, the government creates policies that make the climate profitable for big businesses and foreign companies, by guaranteeing profit through cheap labor. Capitalists are more attracted to do business in countries with lower production costs like cheap labor and raw materials,” Elago explained.
The youth party holds Duterte accountable for passing this grossly anti-worker provision and prolonging the workers’ miseries. He would rather choose to side with big businesses and labor contractors, as well as his neoliberal advisers in the cabinet.
“With this DO, we fear that millions of youth, especially those who will graduate and enter the labor force, will fall victim to this injustice. Thus, it is just and necessary to launch actions and massive protests against DOLE, and hold Duterte accountable for his travesties against the people,” Elago concluded.
“We call on the Filipino youth – students, graduates, young professionals, and future workers – to strengthen our unities and intensify the struggle for our demands, especially the fight for a national minimum wage, and the criminalization of contractualization and other anti-worker policies,” Elago said.
The youth party marks the 22nd death anniversary of Flor Contemplacion tomorrow by marching in solidarity with workers calling for these just demands tomorrow, March 17, at Mendiola. ###