DOLE has 686 contractual workers, Bello says

MANILA -- Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Wednesday admitted that his agency has a total of 686 contractual workers nationwide.

During the House of Representatives' briefing on DOLE's proposed PHP10.816-billion budget for 2018, Act Teachers Partylist Rep. Antonio Tinio asked Bello the total number of DOLE personnel hired through contracts of service or job orders.

Bello responded that out of the 6,300 employees of DOLE nationwide, 686 are contractual workers.

Tinio pointed out this runs counter to President Rodrigo Duterte's directive of ending contractualization as at least 10 percent of the DOLE employees are contractual workers.

Bello said that while he wants to regularize all the contractual employees in his department, there are existing budgetary constraints that prevent the creation of new plantilla or permanent positions.

"Kung pwede lang sana bakit hindi. We are aware of budgetary constraints. It's not easy to create plantilla positions," Bello said.

DOLE's proposed budget for next year is in the amount of PHP10.815 billion, representing a PHP623-million or 5 percent cut in the 2017 appropriation of PHP11.439 billion.

Bello said of the PHP10.815 billion DOLE budget, PHP68.59 million will go to the Office of the Secretary, comprising the central office, offices of the five undersecretaries, offices of the six assistant secretaries, seven services, 16 regional offices and 36 Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLO).

For the first time, Bello said the budget of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is now included in the 2018 National Expenditure Program (NEP) pursuant to Republic Act No. 1081 or the OWWA Act.

He said they requested the Department of Foreign Affairs (DOF) to allow them to establish a POLO in Florida, Los Angeles, Germany and China where there are a big number of seafarers and nurses.

Source: Philippine News Agency