House should lead by rehiring casual, contractual workers — solon

Published January 15, 2021, 2:16 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Anakalusugan Party-List Rep. Mike Defensor prodded on Friday the House of Representatives to take the lead in the rehiring of casual and contractual employees.

Anakalusugan Party-List Rep. Mike Defensor (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

The former Committee on Public Accounts chairman noted that an estimated 700,000 casual and contractual employees in the bureaucracy were let go at the turn of the year.

“These casual, contractual, job-order (JO) personnel, or whatever we call them, should be rehired. We should not add to the joblessness in the country and to the suffering of our people caused by the pandemic by terminating their services,” he said.

He particularly challenged the House, which enjoys an additional P1-billion budget this 2021, to lead the way by renewing the contracts of its affected personnel.

“The funds for salaries we appropriate in the annual budget include compensation for these workers. So there will be funds in this year’s budget for their continued employment,” he added.

President Duterte signed the P4.5-trillion 2021 national budget last Dec. 28. The House and the Senate increased their appropriations for this year by P1 billion each for a combined funding amounting to P28.5 billion.

Of that amount, congressmen will have P18.2 billion, while senators will get P8.8 billion. The Commission on Appointments will receive P815 million.

The Senate Electoral Tribunal has a budget of P303 million. Its House counterpart will get P272.5 million.

Defensor said contractual, casual, and JO employees perform important tasks in the bureaucracy, as they fill vacant positions and help regular personnel.

The solon also cautioned agencies against choosing not to rehire such employees in an attempt to generate savings.

“The President and Congress should not allow that. Funds for salaries are meant to be spent for personnel compensation and other benefits. They can try to save on other appropriations but not salaries,” he said.