Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza sees “wisdom” in Malacañang’s rejection of the anti-endo bill, saying that President Rodrigo Duterte clearly understands and knows how the country’s developing economy works.
“The reality is, the practice of short-term contractual employment supports a multitude of Filipino families that otherwise would not have a single breadwinner,” Atienza, former three-term mayor of Manila, said.
“There are also many Filipino households hovering just above the poverty line because they have one member who is regularly employed, plus a second member who is contractually employed,” Atienza pointed out.
Labor contractualization is a function of the country’s high unemployment and underemployment rates, according to Atienza.
The domestic job market – the supply and demand for labor – remains “highly imbalanced” owing to the country’s still-developing economy, Atienza said.
“Despite the fact that more than 6,000 Filipinos are leaving every day to work abroad, mostly for contractual jobs, we still have a large labor surplus,” Atienza said.
“Many Filipinos are competing aggressively for the few regular and permanent new jobs available, so we still have people willing and ready to take on short-term work,” Atienza said.
As the economy expands and achieves a higher employment rate in the years ahead, Atienza said fewer Filipinos would actually need, want and seek less secure contractual jobs.
The country’s unemployment rate was preliminarily estimated at 5.1 percent as of April, down from 5.5 percent in the same month in 2018, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.
“But the real problem is we still have a 13.5-percent underemployment rate as of April, though it is down from 17 percent in the same month in 2018,” Atienza said.
The PSA defines the underemployed as employed Filipinos “who want to have additional hours of work in their present job or an additional job, or have a new job with longer working hours.”
The national government as well as local governments are actually among the largest employers of contractual, casual, temporary or emergency workers, Atienza said.
All three branches of government – the executive, legislative and the judiciary – have thousands of ‘contract of service’ or ‘job order’ workers in their payrolls, Atienza said.