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Government goes after firms in illegal labor scheme

THE government will start cracking down on the establishments continuing to employ the 555 labor scheme, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Friday even as President Rodrigo Duterte gave Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III 30 days to submit the list of companies suspected to be engaged in labor-only contracting.

He said Bello had 30 days to file a “comprehensive report” with the Office of the President on the implementation of Department Orders 174 and 183 and a list of the firms “engaged and/or suspected to be engaged in labor-only contracting.

In other developments:

* Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros on Friday said Duterte had “thrown in the towel” and “surrendered” in the campaign against labor contractualization.

She made the statement after Duterte said he would no longer issue an Executive Order to end labor contractualization and would leave the matter to Congress.

*Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said the Senate was ready to approve legislation to strengthen the security of tenure of workers, although he noted that such was already stated in the Labor Code.

Instead of passing the buck to Congress, he urged the Executive branch to review and repeal a past department order that he said allowed contractualization to flourish.

Roque dubbed the government’s labor crackdown as “Tokhang Laban sa Cabo,” which would go after the establishments that continued to employ the illegal 555 or cabo system in hiring workers.

Duterte’s memo came after Malacañang decided to forgo the issuance of an executive order against the end-of-contract scheme or “endo” and let Congress pass a bill on labor law.

Roque said Duterte will back the passage of a bill seeking for security of tenure for employees.

He said the 30 days was not just for the list but to make the erring establishments to comply or be closed. 

The “Tokhang” on establishments would be similar to the “police tokhang” where Labor investigators would conduct unannounced visits to companies to check on them,” Roque told reporters.

He said labor-only contracting and the farming of work through a “cabo” or a person or group under the guise of a labor group or cooperative that supplies workers to an employer were among the forms of employment prohibited by the country’s labor laws.

Duterte also ordered the National Labor Relations Commission to coordinate with Bello and submit a list of companies found to be engaged in labor-only contracting or had violated labor laws.

Roque described labor-only contracting as an arrangement between a contractor or subcontractor and the principal to recruit workers for a certain period.

 The contractor or subcontractors does not have substantial capital or investment and does not exercise control over the performance of the employees. The workers recruited are directly related to the main business operations of the principal.

Topics: Harry Roque , President Rodrigo Duterte , Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III , comprehensive report , Senator Risa Hontiveros
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