DOLE to Senate: Amend Labor law to end contractualization

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — While there's a perception that contractualization is against Philippine laws – officials of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) explained, the law allows it in certain cases, within parameters.

In Senate Committee on Labor hearing on Wednesday, labor officials said the law allows contracting and subcontracting arrangements as stated in DOLE's Department Order 18-A series of 2011.

That is why labor officials want to amend the existing labor law.

"We review or as we study we explore a version of security of tenure that we seek to amend articles 106 and articles 270 to 281 of the labor code," Bureau of Relations Director Benjo Benavides said.

Also read: Duterte tells big businesses to stop contractualization

According to DOLE, more and more companies are engaged in contractualization.

Although no company names were mentioned, officials said these companies include those in manufacturing, hotels, restaurants and fast food, and retail sectors.

The number of registered companies that are considered principal owners reached more than 26,000 – and they contract employees from a registered number of more than 5,000 contractors.

Benavides admitted, these numbers could possibly rise. Furthermore, Benavides said the law does not have a penal sanction for contractualization.

Watch: Labor group wants to criminalize contractualization

For now, Benavides said, the most DOLE can do is to ask employers to absorb the agency and pay the employees.

"The workers recruited in place are performing functions which are directly related to the principal," Benavides added.

Ending contractualization is one of the campaign promises of President Rodrigo Duterte – and now the lawmakers are tasked to see it through.

"Tapusin na ho natin ito at dalhin na natin ito sa plenaryo at pagdebatihan na sa plenaryo," Sen. Joel Villanueva said. [Let's finish this, bring this issue to the plenary and debate on it.]

Labor officials said they continuously consult with sectors, inspecting and spotting companies that are engaged in contractualization.

But for now, all they can do is to wait until the law is finally amended.

CNN Philippines' Cecille Lardizabal contributed to this report.