Press Release
March 9, 2016

Drilon: Stricter implementation of Labor Code needed
to protect women workers

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon today said that stricter implementation of the country's Labor Code is what the country needs to better protect women workers who are being exploited under labor contractualization. A day after the global celebration of the International Women's Day, Drilon, a re-electionist senatorial candidate of the Liberal Party, urged the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to better enforce existing laws to protect women and other Filipinos from unfair workplace conditions and practices.

The statement came after recent protests about widespread contractualization, with DOLE reporting in 2014 that there at least 600,764 Filipinos who are identified as contractual workers.

Drilon, Labor Secretary during the Cory Aquino administration, emphasized that the Labor Code of the Philippines is already clear when contractualization of workers is permitted, and when qualified workers must be regularized by their employers and given due compensation and benefits.

"Positions which are considered as regular activities and vital to the daily operation and functioning of any business entity cannot be considered as contractual positions," the Senate leader stressed.

He recalled how he, during his time as labor secretary in the 1980's, ordered a foreign bank known for having most of its workers under contractual positions to regularize hundreds of its employees, to which the bank complied.

"It is a matter of political will to strictly enforce the law. The DOLE must closely monitor and swiftly punish employers who violate the law," Drilon said.

The four-time Senate President said that the DOLE must be vigilant and work harder to uphold labor rights, to ensure that workers, especially those who are most vulnerable to abuses like women, do not continue to fall prey to rampant contractualization: "So many workers, including women, are being denied benefits and other privileges they should have been entitled to as regular employees, even in big companies."

"I fear that this is one reason why many Filipinos believe that there are not enough good jobs in the country, because detestable labor practices like these exist. So we must do everything to show that we are looking out for them as they strive to improve their lives," Drilon concluded.

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