THERE was no turnover of documents yet during the preliminary meeting of the transition teams of outgoing Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia and Mayor-elect Alfredo Benitez at the MassKara Hall of the Bacolod City Government Center Wednesday, June 22, 2022.

The turnover of documents is expected on June 30, the first day of Benitez’s administration, which is also the date set for the next meeting of the transition teams.

The preliminary meeting was witnessed by representatives of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Outgoing City Administrator Lawyer Eduard Joseph Cuansing, who is one of the focal persons of Leonardia’s transition team, said they will turnover the documents on June 30 as per circular of the DILG.

But some of the documents are ready, Cuansing said.

“The incoming administration could communicate with the concerned departments or offices so that they can have the documents that they're looking for as long as it is ready,” he said.

For his part, Bacolod Lone District Representative Greg Gasataya, who leads the transition team of Benitez, cited the continuous cooperation of the department heads.

Gasataya said they just facilitate the necessary preparation as mandated by law.

“They signified that they already have some documents ready for turnover. We just need to get those documents,” he said, adding that “so far, it was fruitful as they manifested cooperation. Our intention is to have a smooth and peaceful turnover.”

But lawyer Caesar Distrito, who is one of the members of Benitez's transition team, said the other team failed to report about their queries on the total number of job order (JO) employees under the outgoing administration.

"We want to know the exact number of employees because there are a lot of offices that are requesting for the retention of some employees serving the city for a number of years,” he said, adding that Benitez has promised that “those who have been working for a longer period and are needed will be given the privilege.”

Distrito said they want to determine how many JOs were hired from January up to the present.

A member of Leonardia’s transition team said they cannot determine the exact number of JOs because they are not in charge of their appointments.

The names are transmitted to the accounting department, the member added.

Distrito, however, said that it clearly showed that "they are running away from the responsibility of who will really submit the documents.”

The lawyer also said having no copies of the documents “is a sad reality,” lamenting that “how then can we help these employees who are needed and want to be retained.”