Philippine Standard Time:

On 13 August 2016, DOLE Regional Office No. 11 hosted the fourth Mindanao-wide Labor Dialogue since last year at The Ritz Hotel, Davao City. More than a hundred labor organizers, labor leaders, and union members in Mindanao participated in the activity, which aimed to solicit inputs and insights from labor federations especially on the on-going review of Department Order No. 18-A and the possible amendment of the Labor Code. Present in the consultation were Undersecretary Joel B. Maglunsod, Director Benjo Santos M. Benavidez of the Bureau of Labor Relations, Regional Directors Sisinio B. Cano, Atty. Joffrey M. Suyao, Atty. Evelyn R. Ramos, and Assistant Regional Director Jason P. Balais.

Undersecretary Maglunsod, in his opening message, reiterated that ending the decade-long issue of endo (a colloquial term for end of contract) is a step-by-step process, the highlights of which are the conduct of a series of consultations and workshops among stakeholders and the issuance of DOLE Department Order No. 162-16 suspending registration of new applicants as contractors or subcontractors under Department Order No. 18-A and Labor Advisory No. 10, series of 2016 reiterating prohibition of Labor-Only Contracting (LOC).

To further explain, Dir. Benavidez mentioned the following identified tracks to end endo: (1) strict enforcement of existing laws, rules and regulations through the Labor Laws Compliance System (LLCS); (2) review of rules and regulations, particularly the Department Order No. 18-A; and (3) possible amendment of the Labor Code and legislation of relevant laws.

One of the recommendations brought up during the dialogue was to penalize establishments found to be engaged in LOC, on which Dir. Benavidez discussed the need for a legislative measure for such purpose. To ease doubts in the effectiveness of LLCS and the capacity of Labor Laws Compliance Officers, the Director also mentioned that the latter are directed, in their inspection, to take notice of work arrangements in the establishment, in addition to its compliance with General Labor Standards and Occupational Safety and Health Standards. Bilateral arrangements under Article 280-281 of the Labor Code and service providers in the guise of cooperatives, he assured, will also be looked into to finally end all forms of endo and advance the workers’ right to security of tenure.

END/Athena M. Villagonzalo