Government top ‘endo’ violator — senators

By Paolo Romero

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The senators made the call after the House of Representatives passed on third and final reading last week a bill seeking to strengthen the security of tenure of employees in the private sector by prohibiting labor-only contracting and “endo” or “end of contract” practice by employers. Philstar.com/File Photo

MANILA, Philippines — While it pushes to end labor contractualization in the private sector, the Duterte administration should also address the practice that is widespread among government agencies, senators said yesterday.

The senators made the call after the House of Representatives passed on third and final reading last week a bill seeking to strengthen the security of tenure of employees in the private sector by prohibiting labor-only contracting and “endo” or “end of contract” practice by employers.

“The biggest violator of contractualization is the government. The government should be the first in fighting contractualization,” Sen. Nancy Binay said. 

Binay cited the case of an employee of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) who remained a job order (JO) worker for 32 years and is retiring without any benefits.

The Senate committee on labor and employment, chaired by Sen. Joel Villanueva, is set to report for plenary approval its version of the “endo” bill this month.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto had called for the initial doubling of the number of permanent job items in the DSWD – which he labelled the “contractualization capital” of the bureaucracy – due to its high number of temporary employees, estimated at 25,000.

Recto said the agency only has 2,842 regular employees to serve a clientele base of 28 million, on whom P137.5 billion will be spent this year.

“Since 2010, the DSWD ballooned by 800 percent but the number of regular employees rose only by 10 percent,” Recto said.

“Another bad side effect of having a big budget and a small staff is that when funds are not liquidated by DSWD recipients, the responsible DSWD officers are the ones sanctioned,” he added.

This, he said, is reflected in the DSWD’s ability to spend allotments, having failed to obligate P23 billion of these since 2015. 

Recto said the DSWD and the Department of Budget and Management, which is empowered to approve personnel positions, “must now create a pathway for the regularization of these temporary workers, many of whom have been serving for years.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Loren Legarda urged the DSWD to refine the systems and processes in implementing the agency’s Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP).

Meant to complement the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, the SLP aims to enhance the capabilities of poor Filipino households and individuals by strengthening their skills, competencies, abilities and resources in accessing income-generating opportunities. 

Legarda, chair of the Senate committee on finance, said the DSWD should ensure the full utilization of the P5.06-billion budget of the SLP for this year.

“Compared to other DSWD programs, the SLP registered a low utilization rate at 78 percent (last year) due to the lack of accreditation and selection process required by our laws. Having a low utilization rate only means that there are funds unspent for the intended beneficiaries of the program which, in this case, are the poorest of our poor families,” Legarda said.

She added that the SLP should undergo performance audit to check whether the program has helped the poor families in terms of the success or progress of their livelihood ventures. – Marvin Sy

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