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In line with the administration’s current pronouncement to end endo and as part of the second and third tracks of its three-pronged action plan on the matter, the Department of Labor and Employment, through the Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR), spearheaded a nationwide Focused Group Discussion (FGD) Relative to the Effective Implementation of the Law on Security of Tenure and Protection of Employees under Legitimate Forms of Fixed Period Employment. The series of FGDs, divided into four sessions , was conducted to consult the stakeholders on their opinions and proposals to address the issue of endo.

The first part of the FGD was held in Cebu City on 9-10 September, while the second phase was conducted in Pampanga on 19-20 September. Representatives from the National Capital Region (NCR) and Mindanao area attended the third FGD in Metro Manila on 22-23 September and the fourth FGD in Davao on 26-27 September, respectively. Dir. Benjo Santos Benavidez of the BLR, together with Regional Director and Executive Labor Arbiter of the host region, joined the selected labor and employer representatives for each FGD.

Academicians and labor law practitioners would be participating in the fifth and last FGD in Quezon City on 30 September, during which the experts are expected to comment and give their recommendations on the same. Some of the pertinent topics discussed during the first four FGDs include the imposition of penalties, provision of separation and retirement pay to outsourced workers, changes in administrative requirements particularly administrative fees and substantial capital requirement, clarification on the definition of right of control, licensing of contractors or subcontractors, effect of repeated hiring, and parameters of a valid fixed-term employment, seasonal employment, probationary employment, and project employment.

It was expected that the labor and employer sector would have opposing views on the matter. Notwithstanding these differences, both groups expressed their support to the endeavor to end endo, emphasizing that monitoring and strict implementation of the existing laws and rules are critical to ensure the effective balancing of the rights and prerogatives of the employer sector vis-à-vis the security of tenure and labor rights of all Filipino workers.

END/ Athena M. Villagonzalo