DSWD leads roundtable discussion on contractualization issue in public sector

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) today initiated a Roundtable Discussion on Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)/Contract of Service (COS)/Job Order (JO) Workers at the DSWD Central Office, and in attendance were representatives from various major government agencies. Among the agencies who sent representatives are the Department of Health (DOH, represented by Dr. Elvira SN Dayrit); the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH, represented by Mr. Rommel Azarcon); the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG, represented by Assist. Sec. Ester Aldana); the Department of Tourism (DOT, represented by Atty. Audelle H. Zamora); the National Housing Authority (NHA, represented by Ms. Elvira A. Sabado); and the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC). The representatives of the public sector agencies gave overviews of the situation of MOA/COS/JO workers in their respective agencies, and it was concluded that the problem of contractualization was widespread in most government agencies. For instance, it was revealed during the discussions that the DOH employs 16,200 job order (contract of services) nurses who are currently under deployment. Their salaries are charged to the MOOE, they have PhilHealth insurance, as well as GSIS personal group insurance. In the meantime, representatives from the national government's oversight agencies also attended to give their response to the situation presented the public sector agencies. Among those in attendance were from the Civil Service Commission (or CSC as represented by Chairperson Alicia dela Rosa-Bala); the Department of Budget and Management (represented by Dir. Ryan S. Lita); the Department of Labor and Employment (represented by Dir. Benjo Santos Benavidez); and the Commission on Audit (represented by Asst. Commissioner Sabiano G. Cabatuan). The seven government agencies reported a total of 65,038 contract of service/MOA/JO/emergency hires which is 40.77% of the 159,463 total workforce of these agencies as of October 2016. DPWH, with 34,259, has the most number of COS. DSWD follows it with 16,558. The RTD participants questioned the concept of no employer- employee relationship and agreed that its removal in the contracts of COS is an important first step. Status of DSWD employees DSWD Usec. Ma. Lourdes Turalde-Jarabe shared that the DSWD's MOA/JO workers far outnumber the permanent employees of the agency. So much so that only 10% of all DSWD personnel are permanent employees. About 35% of the total personnel are casual and contractual employees who have no job security, but enjoy benefits such as those received by regular employees. They are legally considered as government employees who have CSC-approved plantilla positions. In the meantime, COS or MOA workers are those who are hired only for one year, and JO workers for only six months. They are non-plantilla workers; not considered employees of the government; they are not entitled to benefits received by plantilla workers except for overtime payments and travel allowances; and they are not entitled to leave benefits nor holiday pay (CSC MC No. 40 and17). In the DSWD, there are at least 458 workers who have been serving for 5 to 28 years as MOA workers. This is based from monitor reports of 11 of the 17 DSWD Field Offices. "One would've thought that these workers would have been given regular status long ago because their work is already organic, but they have become "regular contractual workers" of the DSWD. For instance, Christina Valera has been with the Elsie Gaches Village, a center managed by DSWD-NCR, for 22 years and 8 months. She works as a house parent, and has since from the beginning been employed as a MOA workers. This is particularly unjust," she said. DSWD Sec. Judy M. Taguiwalo said that it was unfair that MOA/CO/JO workers receive no recognition for their contributions to the agency's achievements. "If each of the 27,648 actual personnel of the DSWD were to serve the 28.7 million Listahanan-targeted individuals on an equal basis, each personnel would have to serve 1,063 people. If we exclude the DSWD MOA/JO workers, each of the remaining plantilla workers who have to double their caseload. This quantitative analogy is sufficient to show how necessary and integral to the DSWD the MOA /JO workers are to the agency - how great their contributions are to the agency's annual performance targets. Despite this, only DSWD plantilla workers are going to receive performance-based bonuses for this year," she said. "It is an important issue of social justice that those who do the work get the recognition for it. Our MOA/COS/JO workers are behind the successes of the DSWD - they perform their services for the agency and the Filipino people come hell or high water. We need to recognize their efforts and address their needs. It is long overdue that they enjoy the benefits of their labor the same way their regular, permanent counterparts do at the end of every fiscal year," Sec. Taguiwalo concluded.

Source: Philippine Information Agency