‘La­bor un­cer­tain­ties may prompt in­vestors to re­lo­cate’

The Philippine Star - - BUSINESS - By RICH­MOND MERCURIO

Un­cer­tain­ties in the coun­try’s la­bor sec­tor are prompt­ing some in­vestors to con­sider re­lo­cat­ing to other South­east Asian economies where la­bor rates are lower, Trade Sec­re­tary Ra­mon Lopez said yes­ter­day.

Lopez warned la­bor groups that forc­ing di­rect hir­ing by prin­ci­pals and em­ploy­ers could back­fire on them and cause harm to the econ­omy.

“To in­sist that they all get hired di­rectly by the com­pany can only lead to lesser in­vest­ments and lower job gen­er­a­tion, which is what I fear most,” Lopez said.

“A lot of in­vestors have told us that with this un­cer­tainty, many are al­ready think­ing of es­tab­lish­ing in other coun­tries like Viet­nam, Cam­bo­dia, and Myan­mar where la­bor rates are even lower. It would be easy for them to move or set up in those coun­tries, so in the end we lose out on the op­por­tu­nity. Ab­sent any new in­vest­ments or ex­pan­sion, then it would not mat­ter any­more if we force di­rect hir­ing by em­ploy­ers be­cause there will be no new jobs to be­gin with,” he said.

The Depart­ment of Trade and In­dus­try (DTI) is for job gen­er­a­tion and im­prov­ing se­cu­rity of ten­ure, Lopez said.

“DTI sup­ports the im­prove­ment of the se­cu­rity of ten­ure of work­ers, mak­ing them on reg­u­lar sta­tus, with all ben­e­fits and even a re­tire­ment plan for work­ers, which can be achieved ei­ther in the com­pany it­self or in the con­trac­tor com­pany,” he said.

“What is im­por­tant is the im­prove­ment of the lot of the work­ers, while keep­ing the flex­i­bil­ity of al­low­ing le­git­i­mate con­tract­ing and out­sourc­ing, which is the busi­ness model preva­lent glob­ally,” Lopez added.

The trade chief pre­vi­ously op­posed calls from la­bor groups to ban all forms of con­tract­ing in the coun­try, cit­ing its neg­a­tive im­pact to the econ­omy.

With le­git­i­mate con­tract­ing be­ing prac­ticed around the world, he said what is im­por­tant is to en­sure so­cial pro­tec­tion for work­ers.

“We are pro-la­bor, wel­fare, and la­bor gen­er­a­tion. Le­git­i­mate con­tract­ing is also al­lowed in the cur­rent La­bor Code, as amended and what is im­por­tant is that the law is im­ple­mented well by DOLE (Depart­ment of La­bor and Em­ploy­ment), and we see moves in this di­rec­tion with the is­suance of DOLE Depart­ment Or­der 174, Se­ries of 2017. That is the rea­son why there is dif­fi­culty in hav­ing an­other EO that will stip­u­late an­other model that is dif­fer­ent from the law,” he said.

Mala­cañang post­poned on Mon­day Pres­i­dent Duterte’s sup­posed meet­ing with la­bor groups, wherein the Pres­i­dent was ex­pected to sign the much-awaited ex­ec­u­tive or­der reg­u­lat­ing con­trac­tual em­ploy­ment.

Lopez said the is­suance of the new EO, or its non is­suance thereof, should not be blamed on the DTI or the Of­fice of the Pres­i­dent.

“The can­cel­la­tion of the Mon­day meet­ing was not due to DTI, DOLE nor OP. There sim­ply is dif­fi­culty in craft­ing an EO that will not vi­o­late the cur­rent law and still meet what the la­bor sec­tor wants,” he said.

“What is im­por­tant is that the il­le­gal prac­tice of 5-5-5 or endo or il­le­gal contractualization has been stopped. I be­lieve this is what our Pres­i­dent promised to stop dur­ing the cam­paign, not le­git­i­mate con­tract­ing,” Lopez said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.