President Rodrigo Duterte’s issuance of an executive order protecting the right of the workers to security of tenure has resulted in the regularization of over 411,000 contractual employees, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said on Thursday.
“True to his word, our President succeeded in the regularization of almost 500,000 contractuals. This is unprecedented,” DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a Palace press briefing.
Bello said that 70 percent of the 411,000 employees became regular due to initiatives of their respective employers while 30 percent were regularized in compliance with EO No. 51 signed by Duterte this year.
“Ang major accomplishment ng Duterte administration ay nandoon sa Department of Labor and Employment (The major accomplishment of the Duterte administration is in the Department of Labor and Employment),” Bello said.
Aside from EO 51, Bello also cited the launching of Overseas Filipino Bank, settlement of various claims of several laborers, and creation of around 826,000 jobs for Filipinos this year.
Bello also announced that the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) has expressed commitment to regularize all their employees.
“When we received that communication, I was surprised. This is a big development in the labor atmosphere because no less than the employers are offering to regularize all their employees and they’re starting with 40 percent of their employees. This is really unexpected,” he said.
Bello said Duterte has made major accomplishments in protecting the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), leading to the signing of memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Kuwaiti government.
The MOU signing happened after Duterte declared a total deployment of OFWs in Kuwait following the murder of Filipina Joanna Demafeliz, who body was discovered inside a freezer in an apartment of her employers.
“This is the first time that they agreed to enter into a bilateral agreement between their country and our country. So, we have an MOU which provides for the protection – very sufficient, very effective protection of workers,” Bello said.
“Now, under that MOU, our workers are entitled to hold their only means of communication to the outside world, their cellphones. And they cannot be taken by the employers without their consent,” he added.
Bello said the Duterte administration has also adjusted the minimum wage not only in Metro Manila but all throughout the region.
“The last of course was in Metro Manila, we had an increase of PHP25,” he said.