PLDT defends its service contractors

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 12) — Telecommunications giant PLDT came to the defense of service contracting companies it has employed.

In the continuing debacle between PLDT and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on the alleged illegal termination of 7,000 contractual workers by the company, the PLDT said that they have engaged with legal service contracting companies.

This is contrary to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello's recent statements that the workers at PLDT are employed by unqualified service providers.

"The service contractors engaged by PLDT are bona fide corporations properly registered with the DOLE and the [Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)]. They are legitimately providing services to many other companies aside from PLDT," PLDT said in a statement.

The telecommunications giant also denied that the companies are owned or managed by PLDT officials. PLDT added that these companies do not cater to PLDT alone.

"They are legitimately providing services to many other companies aside from PLDT," the company said.

PLDT said that they would welcome any investigation the DOLE would like to conduct.

The alleged termination of the 7,000 was the subject of a protest led by the PLDT Organization of Workers and Employees for Rights (POWER) and Defend Job Philippines on July 9.

PLDT was among the companies DOLE found to be engaged in illegal contractualization last May.

The company in June said that it would process its employees for regularization.

DOLE met with the PLDT workers Wednesday. The PLDT management did not attend the meeting.

During the meeting, Bello told the workers that the decision declaring the 7,000 workers as employees of PLDT and not of a contracting company was final and executory.

"Our decision is already final and executory so we will consider any pleading irrelevant already," Bello said. He added that any attempt by the company to circumvent the order could be tantamount to contempt.

The DOLE ruling also mandated the payment of ?51.6 million in unpaid benefits to the workers, to be facilitated by the DOLE National Capital Region office.