EXPLAINER: Mayor Mike uses DILG transition order to weed out 'kawatan, tapulan,' other City Hall undesirables by June 30. Covered are casual, job-order workers, but not executives called out by Councilor Mabatid, anti-graft advocate Oaminal.

CEBU. Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama and copies of the memorandum issued by the DILG and Rama. (Contributed)
CEBU. Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama and copies of the memorandum issued by the DILG and Rama. (Contributed)

WHAT JUST HAPPENED. In a memorandum (#226-05-2022 dated May 16, 2022), Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama ordered casual and job-order employees to submit an application letter and a copy of their previous personnel data sheet on or before June 16 to the "evaluation committee" in the mayor's office.

They will be reevaluated. Those not issued an appointment or job order are ordered to "refrain from reporting" on July 1: in other words, they're already fired. (Appointees who are coterminous with Mayor Mike will be reappointed, says the mayor's memo.)

INTERESTING, CURIOUS BASIS. What catches attention is the memo's second paragraph that lists the "basis of evaluation," namely:

"1. Kawatan 2. Tapulan 3. Hugawan 4. Intregero/ intregera 5. Palaaway 6. Way nahibaw-an 7. Dili mobayad og utang 8. Mobuko-buko."

Phrased in in Cebuano-Bisaya and typed in all-caps, the list is colorfully descriptive yet ambiguous and almost totally dependent on personal and collective judgment of the evaluators, whose names and faces are not publicized, probably to shield them from influencers.

After Rama rose last November 22, 2021 from acting mayor to full-fledged mayor, he said at more than one Monday flag ceremony he would screen and, inevitably, reduce the number of casuals and J.O.'s, whose exact number he rhetorically kept asking for. After the election victory, he repeated the same line, which finally landed in the May 15 memo. The noticeable addition: "(8) Mobuko-buko," which must refer to those who figuratively stabbed him the back, probably those who promised support for his election bid but supported his rival.

ALL UP TO NEW ADMINISTRATION. Casuals and J.O. employees entirely depend on the new or reelected mayor, the appointing power, for their entry and continued stay. The mayor isn't required to give any reason for hiring or firing a worker in that category.

The evaluation process, with those vividly-named criteria for non-renewal of appointments, apparently aims to project fairness, both for the city's interest along with the personal and party interest of the administration.

Underneath that is the almost supreme right of the mayor to choose the army of extra workers. Mayor Mike's opponent, Margot Osmeña, had in mind excess casuals and J.O.'s when she, as city's would-be "Mom," talked of "fixing" the household that is City Hall.

ATTACK ON 'THIEVES.' PR-wise, listing "kawatan" as #1 projects an intent, if not a promise, to make the new Rama administration corruption-free: a good plank in the public relations platform.

Yet it can be used against the propagandists when later it could not pursue the objective of having an often-proclaimed "lean and mean" work force for City Hall. Even now, that the mayor's memo is out, the question may be asked: If they remove the thieves from among the lowly casuals and J.O's, how about the "kawatans" among the executives and decision-makers?

How about the corrupt in the top level, among whom one was called out by Councilor Niña Mabatid as "ungo sa City Hall" and a group was repeatedly condemned in public by the late anti-graft advocate and Cabinet undersecretary, Clarence Paul Oaminal, as "Kurakot Gang sa City Hall"?

DILG ORDER AS PEG FOR RAMA'S MEMO. The order of DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) -- Memorandum-circular #2022-029 of March 10, 2022 -- deals with turnover of responsibilities to reelected or new officials. It's about protecting assets, records and documents and transferring them to the new administration after the May 9 elections. DILG ordered the creation of an LGTT (Local Government Transition Team) in each city, municipality or province.

The DILG order includes in the list of LGU documents an "inventory of personnel by nature of appointment" but those enumerated papers are for the transition team to "gather, secure and preserve." Rama's memo said the evaluation of casuals and J.O.'s by his office is "pursuant to" the said DILG transition order.

Apparently, the mayor is using the DILG as a peg, or occasion, to make an overhaul of the "temps" personnel, which he can do anyway, even without a directive from the overseers of the local government.


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