Gov't urged to find way to regularize thousands of contractual state workers

Gov't urged to find way to regularize thousands of contractual state workers
Staff members of the Quezon City health department conduct disinfection of a vaccination site set up at Emilio Aguinaldo Elementary School on April 27, 2021.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — As the country's largest employer, the national government should mark Labor Day by launching a program that would regularize thousands of its longtime casual workers, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said Thursday. 

For Recto, it is high time for the government's mass of eligible casual employees to be granted a pathway to jobs which carry security of tenure. 

"It can begin with contractual workers in government hospitals. Not only medical staff, but essential workers like attendants, cleaning and sanitation personnel, equipment technicians — without whom no hospital can exist." 

"The are many civil servants who work on the basis of one short-term contract to another. Their contracts are not ended but they are not made permanent either," Recto added partially in Filipino. "They languish in the bureaucracy's version of purgatory." 

Recto said the government had 600,000 contractual employees as of August 2020, citing the Civil Service Commission (CSC), "At 600,000, the 'contractuals' are bigger than the Army, and second in size to the almost million-man DepEd workforce." 

He futher noted that these numbers show a five-fold increase from the 120,000 reported by the CSC in 2010. According to Recto, the sharp increase of temporary hires "distorts and hides" how much the government spends on personnel services.

The government on Labor Day is expected to inoculate against COVID-19 some 5,000 minimum wage workers and overseas Filipino workers under the A4 priority group as part of a "symbolic inoculation ceremony" proposed by DOLE. 

— Bella Perez-Rubio 



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