Historical revisionism has become a crucial political issue in the Philippines over the past six years, and concerns about it have intensified in the run-up to the 2022 elections. Ferdinand „Bonghong“ Marcos, Jr., the son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, is riding the wave of a concerted and well-funded campaign to revise history to transform the narrative of the Marcos years of unprecedented looting and corruption, human rights abuses, nepotism into one that portrays those dark years as the „golden age“ of modern Philippine history. The record of the Marcos era with regard to workers` issues, including contractualization, has not been spared by the spread of false information. Some experts argue that this practice has contributed significantly to the growth of the economy. For them, short-term recruitment of workers provides employment for the unemployed. This improves the state of the economy in the long run. In addition, contracting promotes employee flexibility for companies. In other words, the mix of permanent and temporary workers fosters an efficient and productive workplace. Workers unite against contractualization. Workers representing various unions march side by side on Labour Day.
Manila, Philippines.1. May 2018. Photo by Joseph Purugganan  [Charles Chau, HRM Asia] Foreign investment will create 3 million new jobs in the Philippines, hrmasia.com/foreign-investments-to-create-3-million-new-jobs-in-the-philippines For Filipino workers, one of the main challenges to realizing workers` rights to have and enjoy the benefits of secure and stable employment is contracting. The illegal practice of hiring fixed-term workers, usually for a period of 5 months or less, and continually renewing their contracts to prevent workers from receiving the benefits of regular employment, has become an integral part of the country`s employment system. Marcos` stance on contracting mirrors that of Duterte, who believes there are seasonal jobs that do not exist year-round, such as agriculture.  But apart from very few political statements like these, addressed to the trade union confederation that supported him, Marcos did not present a clear government programme, let alone his views on the problems facing workers. He refused to participate in televised debates and forums, except from one network that supported him, preferring to give selected interviews to convey his message of campaign unity to the public. „The contractor or subcontractor is only recruiting, providing or placing workers to perform work, work or service for a client, and the following are present: Duterte made many promises on his way to the presidency in 2016.
One of them is the promise to end contracting. In the first year, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) issued a departmental ordinance (DO18-A) that established guidelines for the implementation of Sections 106 to 109 of the Philippine Labor Code – the provisions of the law that legalize the practice of hiring agencies, which has been identified and criticized by labor groups as the cause of contracting.  Subsequently, another ministerial regulation (DO174) was issued by the DOLE to establish stricter guidelines for awarding contracts. Like the first DO, workers` groups rejected the new order because it allowed „legal“ forms of contracting and did not promise to end and prohibit all forms of contractualization. According to OD 174, employment agencies – not major employers – are instructed to regularize their employees. Contractualization was a major issue discussed during the 2022 election campaign, with all the main presidential candidates expressing their positions on the issue. All vowed to end contracting and reiterated Duterte`s promise in 2016. All pledged to prioritize the adoption of a new law on the security of the mandate. „The government should really protect workers because they have no bargaining power,“ she said. „They leave it to the government to make sure employers are looking for what`s best for them.
The ILO report also identified the risks posed by non-standard labour relationships for workers, enterprises, workers and society in the following areas: job security, wages, working hours, occupational safety and health, training, representation and other fundamental rights at work.  During his campaign for the 2016 presidential election, one of Rodrigo Duterte`s promises was to move away from contracting and improve work in the Philippines. After his election, he appointed Silvestre Bello III secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, which considered that all companies contracted at least 80% of all employees in accordance with the president`s instructions. By the end of 2016, around 36,000 workers had been regularised. In 2017, Duterte and Bello sought a new permanent policy that would end employment-only contract formation by the end of February, but Bello did not sign it. Instead, he initially opted for a dialogue between the president and union groups to get feedback. Eventually, President Duterte met with labor groups when Bello drafted a new ministerial order that would end labor contracts. On March 16, however, Bello signed County Order 174, which establishes stricter guidelines for contracting, but does not immediately prohibit it.
Duterte, however, maintained her stance against contractualization, promising to sign a decree against it. However, the Marawi crisis delayed the signing. In 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte did not sign an executive order to abolish the treaty altogether. 15. In March 2018, groups of workers held a rally to protest the president`s delay in the EO. Finally, on May 1, Duterte signed a presidential decree that would end the treaty, although the working groups criticize the president for his actions because the one signed was not the draft agreed with them.  It is estimated that in 2016 the number ranged from 1.2 million  to 20 million  contract or irregular workers (2). The lower end does not regularly consider employees (including probationary, casual, contract or project workers, seasonal workers and apprentices) in establishments with 20 or more employees (partly small and medium and large enterprises) . The highest estimate, on the other hand, refers to contract work based on total employment, including in micro and small enterprises. Contract work therefore accounts for about 27-45% of total employment in the country.  Measures [EU] Against violent repression of trade unions in the Philippines, www.ueunion.org/political-action/2019/take-action-against-violent-repression-of-trade-unions-in-the-philippines Marcos, who has a large lead in the polls and wants to win a landslide victory despite growing concerns about irregularities in the vote count, had said he would talk to owners of large companies, some of whom, he said, „Friends.“ to address the problem of contractualization.
 Contractualization has its roots in 1974 during the reign of Ferdinand Marcos, when Ernesto „Boy“ Herrera participated in the drafting of Presidential Decree 442. This decree, which Marcos eventually adopted, would provide the conditions and reasons for the contracting of workers in the Philippines. During his presidential campaign, Duterte vowed that if he won, he would end „contractualization“ and improve working conditions for all. He was referring to the practice of companies hiring employees on fixed-term contracts, which is prevalent in various industries and is of concern to low-income Filipino workers. Today, four years into his mandate, the problem still exists. The House of Representatives recently passed a security bill, but the battle to end contracting continues. In July 2019, Duterte vetoed a real estate security bill passed by Congress. Duterte said he opposed the landmark measure because it „excessively expands the scope and definition of prohibited contracts that apply only to workers and effectively prohibits forms of contracting that are not particularly unfavorable to the employees involved.“  He added that „a complete expansion of the definition of labor contracts alone will upset the delicate balance and put capital and management in an incredibly difficult position, with negative consequences for Filipino workers in the long run.“  READ ALSO: Endo: meaning, contractualization, bill, release, 555 As the 2022 election campaign draws to a close and the country transitions to a new government, the ongoing struggle for safer and more decent work, for decent wages, for a democratic space to exercise their rights and the struggle to end contractualization must continue, although in a context that may be more difficult. How the trade union movement will consolidate after the elections, as it did before on the issue of contractualisation and the Labour Win election campaign in 2019, is a crucial question that the sector must face and resolve as it embarks on a much more precarious and potentially dangerous path.# A street vendor walks along a series of posters, where workers demand fair wages and an end to contracting.