By Bernadette D. Nicolas, July 26 2019

Image Credit to Business Mirror

PRESIDENT Duterte has indeed vetoed the Security of Tenure (SOT) bill, Malacañang confirmed on Friday morning, after issuing conflicting advisories late Thursday.

“Security of Tenure bill vetoed by the President,” Panelo said in a text message shared to reporters.

This comes after Panelo backtracked at past 11 pm on Thursday, minutes after confirming that the bill, objected to strongly by local and foreign business groups, had been vetoed.

While there was a purported copy of the veto message of the President released by, an official copy from the Palace has yet to be released as of press time.

Copy of the President’s veto message

In a phone interview with the BusinessMirror Friday morning, Presidential Legislative Liaison Office Secretary Adelino B. Sitoy still could not confirm nor deny the authenticity of the document.

“I cannot confirm it. I am in Cebu. I will contact [my office] in Manila if they already received the veto message,” Sitoy said.

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.

The SOT bill, which was supposedly aimed at ending Endo, was even certified as urgent by the President since it was one of his campaign promises in 2016.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia also said on Wednesday that the bill needs some “tweaking.”

While Pernia did not categorically say if he recommended the veto of the bill to the President, he described the measure as “not perfect.”

Business groups have said the manufacturing industry will spend an additional P49 billion annually on labor cost if firms were to absorb the over 300,000 contractual workers if the President signs the SOT bill.

In a computation done by businessmen earlier obtained by the BusinessMirror, the employers projected an additional labor cost of P48.83 billion yearly for manufacturing should it absorb all of its agency-hired workers. This is estimated to climb to as much as P52.53 billion when the 13th-month pay is accounted for, and has yet to cover incentive leave, overtime pay, night differential and holiday and weekend pay.

A highly placed source told the BusinessMirror earlier that the Office of the President requested the business sector to provide its assessment of the SOT bill, especially on its impacts and investments and employment in the country.

The computation was transmitted to the OP, the source said, and was reviewed by President Duterte before he delivered his State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday. The President was expected to approve the SOT bill on Sona day, but he did not do so.

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.