The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said half a million workers have been regularized since President Rodrigo Duterte, on Labor Day last year, signed an executive order putting a stop to the unfair labor practice of contractualization. About 435,188 individuals have been made regular employees since 2016, according to DOLE figures. DOLE assistant labor secretary Benjo Benavidez said 320,999 private company employees were regularized only last year, after Executive Order (EO) No. 51 — which aims to protect employees’ right to security of tenure — was issued. However, labor groups described it as “useless” for failing to mention direct hiring as the norm. Josua Mata, secretary general of the Center of United and Progressive Workers (Sentro), said DOLE should not make such a statement because the EO is meant to only prevent workers from being retrenched if their company has been issued a compliance order by the department, and that many were voluntarily regularized. Benavidez admitted that three-fourths, or 310,759, were voluntarily regularized, saying DOLE promotes voluntary regularization as the “fairest, fastest, and less costly” way of improving the status of contractual workers.
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