In his last Labor Day message, Pres. Duterte assures commitment to give Filipinos best opportunities in life

(File photo) President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the commemoration of the 501st anniversary of the victory of Mactan themed “Adlaw ni Lapu-Lapu” at the Liberty Shrine in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu on April 27, 2022. KARL ALONZO/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

(Eagle News) – President Rodrigo Duterte joined the entire nation in honoring and remembering Filipino workers on Sunday, May 1, 2022, during the celebration of the 120th Labor Day in the country.

This is also the last Labor Day message of President Duterte before he steps down from office in June 2022.

But he said that he would remain committed to providing Filipinos the best opportunities “to realize their full potential.”

“This administration, even if it is coming nearly to a close, shall remain committed to providing the people with opportunities they need to realize their full potential,” Duterte’s Labor Day message said.

“It is my hope that this day recharges everyone as you continue to work for yourselves, your families and our nation,” he said.

Duterte, who is known for his support for overseas Filipino workers (OFW), noted the qualities of Filipino workers who are well-known for their perseverance in the global stage.

“Our people have been known worldwide for the great passion, integrity and professionalism they demonstrate in everything that they do. These qualities have not only brought economic gains to our country, but have also been a source of immense pride and encouragement among our people,” the 76-old Philippine leader said.

“For these reasons, I welcome this yearly occasion with much fervor.”

Duterte, in fact, was scheduled to lead the inspection and inauguration of the newly constructed Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) Hospital in Pampanga on May 1. The hospital, built on a 1.5-hectare property in the City of San Fernando, will cater to OFWs and their legal dependents.

-Need to reassess labor system-

Duterte said that the Labor Day celebration is an occasion to celebrate the triumphs and progress of the labor movement. It is also a reminder for government to “overcome challenges by recognizing the rights of our workers.”

The president said that there is also a need to reassess systems that hinder the laborers or the Filipino workers’ growth and development.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s Labor Day message on May 1, 2022 (Courtesy Malacanang)

One of the campaign promises of Duterte was to end labor-only contracting, or the so-called “endo,” an abusive labor practice where a worker is hired only up to five months to go around a labor law granting permanent tenure to workers on the sixth month of service.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in July 2021 had formally asked President Duterte to certify as urgent the proposed Security of Tenure (SOT) and End of Endo Act, which seeks to end labor contractualization in the country.

Duterte was ready to sign the law in 2019 but he vetoed it after labor groups expressed opposition against it.

“In fact, as early as 2019, he certified (as urgent) the endo bill in Congress, which was approved by the House of Representatives and the Senate. He is ready to sign the law but some labor groups have protested, they do not like the endo bill that was passed by Congress, on that basis our
President vetoed it,” Labor chief Silvestre Bello III said last year.

In his two-page veto message sent to Congress in July 2019, Duterte said he rejected the bill because it “unduly broadens the scope and defintiion of prohibited labor-only contracting, effectively proscribing forms of contractualization that are not particularly unfavorable to employees involved.”

“I believe the sweeping expansion of the definition of labor-only contracting destroys the delicate balance and will place capital and management at an impossibly difficult predicament with adverse consequences to the Filipino workers in the long term,” Duterte said back then.

(Eagle News Service)