President Rodrigo Duterte has vetoed the Security of Tenure bill, which seeks to end labor contractualization, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Friday.
Panelo finally confirmed the presidential veto, after retracting his statement on Thursday that the President rejected the bill, which was passed before the 17th Congress closed in June.
There was no reason propounded on why Duterte vetoed the bill, which was originally his campaign promise when he ran for the presidency in 2016.
On Labor Day last year, the President issued an executive order that prohibits contracting and labor-only contracting, which companies are using to avoid granting workers with regular employment status and benefits.
GMA News reported that the proposed measure was meant to eliminate subcontracting of labor and limit job contracting to licensed and specialized services. It also aims to classify workers into regular and probationary employees and treat project and seasonal employees as regular employees.
Earlier it was reported by ABS-CBN News that the President was still studying the bill, authored by Senator Joel Villanueva, before deciding whether to enact or veto it.
However, several business groups were reportedly lobbying for Duterte to veto the bill because it could result in job and economic losses instead.
They further claimed that it even goes against the constitutional rights of businesses because it increases he cost of doing business, which may hinder their operations.
The bill could even push employers to eliminate low-skilled jobs and instead prefer using technologies, such as automation and artificial intelligence, the businessmen also argued.
Secretary Ernesto Pernia of the National Economic Development Authority on Wednesday said he was also hesitant on the enactment of such law, contending that the government should strike a balance to benefit both workers and businesses.
This prompted Villanueva to comment that Pernia may have set the bill for the President to veto because NEDA only raised these concerns at the last minute.
Panelo countered that Duterte is open to suggestions from all sectors on matters concerning the Security of Tenure bill. “The President is always open to suggestion. He rationalizes,” he told reporters.
“If he feels that signing the law will create not beneficial effects to the major players, he might consider vetoing it. But if he doesn’t feel that way, he will sign that into law,” he said.
“We’re looking for a win-win solution. Whatever the business sector is opposing, we can always compromise,” he said. “So if you will veto the bill, then a member of Congress can introduce another one with the win-win compromise solution. O di ba (isn’t), everybody happy?” he added.
The SOT bill, which was transmitted to Duterte’s office early this month, may lapse into law if the Chief Executive fails to sign it by July 27, according to a report from the Philippine News Agency.