by Ben O. de Vera, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Jul 24, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – The country’s chief economist on Wednesday said the pending security of tenure bill awaiting President Duterte’s signature needed to be tweaked in order to be fair to both business and labor sectors.
“Our view is that the legislation should be something that will benefit not only the employers but also the workers,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia told a press conference when asked about the state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority’s (Neda) position on the security of tenure bill after the country’s biggest local and foreign business groups asked the President to veto it.
Pernia, who heads Neda, said the business groups already met with President Duterte, who in turn had asked them to substantiate their claims that passage of the bill would negatively impact on the Philippine economy and to workers themselves.
After his fourth State of the Nation Address (Sona) last Monday, Duterte told reporters that he was still studying if he would sign the bill, as it will lapse into law on July 27 if left unsigned.
For the part of Neda, Pernia said it already submitted to Malacanañg its comments three weeks ago, wherein “essentially there is a need for tweaking to address some of the provisions.”
“It has to benefit not only the workers but also the employers because if investments are deterred and they shy away because of the security of tenure, then it’s not good for the workers—there will be fewer job opportunities,” Pernia explained.
“It has to be fair between workers and employers because if you want jobs to be available, you need investments,” he added.
“We have a very high labor force growth. We really have to keep up with so many workers coming into the stream,” according to Pernia.
He said the bill seemed lopsided or one-sided.
Asked if Neda deemed the bill was unfair to the business sector, Pernia declined to comment, only saying that “I think the security of tenure bill is not perfect.
“Also, even from the employees’ side they said it’s not adequate,” the Neda chief noted.
Unlike the business groups asking Mr. Duterte to veto the bill, Pernia said it may be revised and sent back to Congress just like what the President earlier did to the coco levy fund bill.