THE Department of Social Welfare and Development is the bureaucracy’s “contractualization capital” due to its many temporary employees and 25,000 casuals, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said Wednesday.
He said the agency had only 2,842 regular employees to serve a client base of 28 million on whom P137.5 billion would be spent next year.
“Since 2010 the [department’s] budget had ballooned by 800 percent but the number of its regular employees had increased by only 10 percent,” Recto said.
To meet its mandate, the department had been forced to hire 25,122 temporary employees “under an alphabet soup of hiring schemes.”
“It has 1,351 J.O. workers or those covered by Job Orders,” Recto said.
“There were those who were hired under MOA or Memorandum of Agreement and COS or Contract of Service. These two account for 14,189. The contractual employees number 9,582.
“The result is that nine in 10 DSWD employees are temps [temporary employees].
“Those hired through JO, MOA and COS have no allowances, no bonuses, no pension. All of them have no security of tenure. Most of them have contracts that are renewed every six months or yearly. This is a class of ‘endo’ workers.
“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.”
This, Recto said, was reflected in the DSWD’s ability to spend allotments, having failed to obligate P23 billion of this since 2015.
“Kawawa ang mga DSWD employees. Halimbawa, kapag ang local government hindi na-account ang pondong na-download sa kanila, ang DSWD responsible officer ang natatamaan,” Recto said.
He 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.”
“In the meantime, maybe we can find a way to grant them some benefits already allowed by existing laws.”
Recto is batting for a gradual expansion of the DSWD authorized personnel ceiling, which is now at 3,226.
“Let’s double it first. Then we add more positions later,” he said.
For the 25,000-plus non-regular employees, Recto is urging the DSWD and DBM to jointly study a compensation scheme in which their allowances could be increased “based on the equal pay for equal work doctrine.”
Recto said the DSWD’s proposed 2018 budget of P137.5 billion was P9.5 billion bigger than what it would get this year.
The bulk of the DSWD’s budget will go to help the poorest of the poor.