DOLE admits hiring non-regular employees

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 16) — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Wednesday admitted to hiring employees on a job order basis, a non-regular position.

During the hearing on the DOLE's 2018 budget at the House of Representatives, ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro asked Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello if the agency has contractual employees.

"Ilan po ba ang contractual employees sa DOLE? Meron ba tayong contractual employees sa DOLE?" said Castro.

[Translation: How many contractual employees does DOLE have?]

Bello then replied, "Ang tawag namin sa kanila, your honor, is job orders."

[Translation: Your honor, we call them job orders.]

Castro then questioned why there was contractualization in DOLE, when they should be the ones pushing for its removal.

"Diba ang ano natin sa DOLE, bawal ang contractualization? Mismo pala sa DOLE ay meron contractualization pa rin?" Castro said.

[Translation: Isn't it DOLE's mandate to ban contractualization?]

Bello said roughly 10 percent, or 686 of the 6,300 DOLE employees nationwide are not regular employees, mainly due to budgetary constraints.

He added it is not easy to create plantilla or regular positions as it would require additional budget.

"Kung pwede lang sana, bakit hindi? Pero the budgetary constraint (If possible, why not? But there's budgetary constraint). It's not so easy to create plantilla position. We always go to the motion of creating plantilla position. But we always expect a rejection of proposal because of budgetary constraints," Bello said.

Bello also said there were situations when some applicants failed to meet the requirements of a plantilla position such as a civil service eligibility.

Instead of rejecting them, Bello said the agency decided to hire these ineligible applicants on a job order basis instead.

"Kung hindi siya ma-qualify because of lack of civil service eligibility, kinukuha namin on a job order basis. Hindi naman lahat job order dahil walang plantilla position," Bello said.

[Translation: If a person does not qualify because of lack of civil service eligibility, we hire them on a job order basis. Not everyone is on job order because there are no plantilla positions.]

For ACT Teachers Party-list Representative Antonio TInio, this is problematic especially because DOLE is supposed to be the agency which will implement and stop contractualization in the private sector.

"Yun ang problema, kayo ang pangunahing ahensya na inaaasahan magimplement sa pribadong sector noong no contactualization pero kayo mismo ay may job order," Tinio said.

[Translation: That's the problem, you are the primary agency we expect to implement the banning of contractualization in the private sector, but you yourselves have job orders.]

Tinio added that in 2016, 9,000 new permanent positions in state universities and colleges were created, after decades of having no openings.

Earlier, Bello said under the present set-up, there are contractual arrangements which are allowed by law.

"The President truly committed that there will be no more contractualization, but then you have to distinguish between what is legal and what is illegal contractualization," Bello told CNN Philippines' The Source on August 3.

He cited security guards and janitorial services as examples of those allowed by law to be employed through an agency.

"Then we have what is called...the project-based workers. If you are a contractor…and somebody orders 1,000 houses for you to construct, you have to get additional workers only for that project. If you are required to retain them as regular employees, how can you manage to run the business?" Bello said.