By Bernadette D. Nicolas, July 15, 2019; Business Mirror

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The President will not veto the security of tenure (SOT) bill even if local and business groups have urged him to rethink his support for the measure.

Presidential Spokesman and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador S. Panelo issued the statement following the appeal of several business groups for the President to veto the SOT bill.

“He [President] will not veto it. He certified it as urgent [so] why will he veto that?” Panelo told the BusinessMirror in an interview.

He noted that ending contractualization has been one of the campaign promises of the President in 2016. Panelo also said economic managers support the passage of the SOT bill.

The end-of-contract scheme, popularly known as ‘Endo,’ is an illegal form of contractualization wherein workers are repetitively hired and rehired by employers for the purpose of circumventing their right to be regularized.

During last year’s Labor Day, the President signed Executive Order (EO) 51 prohibiting illegal contractualization, after mounting pressure from workers for the President to make good on his promise to end contractualization.

However, critics have since said this EO will not really end contractualization in the country.

Even Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez is backing the Labor department’s push for the SOT bill as it strikes a good balance between the welfare of workers and interest of employers.

Lopez earlier said he is in favor of the passage of the bill since it legitimizes various forms of contractualization, such as season-based, employment and project-based work, and clarifies the confusion on what is allowed and what is not under labor laws.

Labor groups have also slammed employers for pushing for the veto of the SOT bill based on a wrong assumption.

“With due respect [for] the business leaders claiming that the old rules is enough to solve Endo, it appears they are out of touch of reality with the situation of millions of workers,” Labor coalition Nagkaisa Chairman and Federation of Free Workers President Jose Matula earlier told the BusinessMirror.

In a letter dated July 1, business groups argued that the SOT bill will have adverse effects on the Philippines’s global competitiveness and its capability to create more and better quality jobs for the Filipinos.

Besides, they said the objective of the law has already been achieved through EO 51 and Department Order 174 of the Department of Labor and Employment.

Business groups also said the right to a secured tenure in the workplace is “not absolute” as employers should still maintain the power to dismiss a worker who is no longer performing subject to observance of due process.

They argued that the SOT bill will not work to the advantage of the Philippines especially at the time of changing world of labor, wherein contractual employment is believed to be the future.

The letter to veto the SOT bill was signed by the Employers Confederation of the Philippines, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Philippine Exporters Confederation, Makati Business Club, Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc., Philippine Association of Legitimate Service Contractors and the Management Association of the Philippines.

Other signatories include Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines, Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities, Philippine Society of Management Services, Philippine Hotel Owners Association and Philippine Association of Multinational Cos. Regional Headquarters, as well as the American, Australian-New Zealand, Canadian, European, Japanese and Korean chambers.