Robredo says ‘we could have done more’ with more people

Published July 11, 2021, 2:14 PM

by Raymund Antonio

The Office of the Vice President (OVP) could have done more with their coronavirus response programs if they have access to 375 contractual workers similar to what the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) had in a year, Vice President Leni Robredo said on Sunday, July 11.

Vice President Leni Robredo (Mark Balmores/Manila Bulletin)

“Hindi ko maimagine ‘yung 375. Kapag iniisip ko may plus 375 kami ang laking bagay nun to any office. Ang dami daming pwedeng gawin (I can’t imagine the 375. When I think about having plus 375, it’s a big thing to any office. There’s a lot that can be done with it),” she said during her weekly radio show, “BISErbisyong Leni.”

The vice president was reacting to the Commission on Audit’s (COA) flagging of the “massive” and “unrestricted” hiring of contractual workers by the PCOO that resulted in the unnecessary expense of P71 million.

In the 2020 annual audit report, COA said that PCOO hired 375 contractual personnel, which is 260 percent more than the number of regular personnel. The biggest number of hires came from the office of PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar.

READ: PCOO eyes plantilla positions for contractual employees

Robredo compared this with her own office, who she said only has 21 contractual workers and 64 with a contract of service. Their regular employees are around 160.

“Ang dami naming magagawa kapag binigyan kami ng additional 375 (We would’ve done more if we’re given an additional 375),” she said.

The lady official shared that their numbers only “ballooned” during the COVID-19 pandemic when they have to hire more than 70 contract workers.

But that’s because they had additional services they have to provide to the people such as ambulance, emergency medical services personnel, Bayanihan E-Konsulta, and others.

“Ngayon lang iyon. Pansamantala lang iyon (That’s just now. It’s temporary). Over the past five years, less than 300 kami (we’re less than 300),” she said.

Robredo reported that the OVP only has one or two assigned to its social media pages while they have about two videographers assigned to cover their projects around the country.