The Department of Labor and Employment netted close to 50,000 regularized workers from its anti-endo drive in the first year of the Duterte administration.

Undersecretary Joel Maglunsod said that since their assumption to office, the department has intensified its efforts to ensure workers' security of tenure and protection following the directives of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Our president is eager to grant Filipino workers utmost protection that the government can give -- security of tenure, self-organization and other social benefits. So far, we are reaching our goal to regularize the employment of workers in the private sector, he said.

The senior official cited the report from the Bureau of Working Conditions (BWC) stating that a total of 49,393 Filipino workers have already been regularized by their employers from August 2016 � June 16, 2017 through the intensified inspection of business establishment nationwide.

Secretary Silvestre Bello III issued last March Department Order No. 174 which prohibits sub-contracting and illegal forms of contractualization.

To complement the ranks of compliance officers, DOLE will be hiring 200 new Labor Laws Compliance Officers (LLCO) plantilla positions with an approved budget from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) of P15 million. The said officers will be on top of the existing 541 LLCOs who conduct assessment and inspection of around 937,554 small, medium and big business establishments in the country.

Maglunsod expects the said number of regularized workers to increase after the deputization of some members of labor groups, unions, and non-government organizations to augment the labor laws compliance officers (LLCO) who are tasked to conduct labor inspections, particularly in areas with high level of non-compliance.

DOLE recognizes the enormous contribution of labor groups and non-government organizations in policy making, reporting of non-compliance of establishments, and their recommendations during public consultations. They are partners of the labor department, and these deputized labor inspectors can bring tremendous help for cross checking business establishments, he said.

Asserting the firm stand on repealing all forms of contractualization, Maglunsod stressed that DOLE only has limited powers and the authority of the labor secretary cannot repeal the existing law passed by Congress.

There is an existing law which recognize legitimate forms of contractual arrangements. We encourage the labor groups and NGOs to urge the Congress and the President to certify as urgent the House Bill 444 which prohibits all forms of contractualization, Maglunsod added.

He urged companies, employers and all business establishments in the country to comply with the general labor standards and occupational safety and health, as well as voluntarily regularize their contractual workers in accordance with D.O. 174.

Maglunsod also encouraged the public to call Hotline 1349 to enlighten them of their labor rights and report their complaints and incidents of non-compliance of various establishments in the country.