THE Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Northern Mindanao, through its Social Welfare Employees Association of the Philippines (Sweap), has called for the regularization of all contractual and job order (JO) workers of all government agencies, instead of implementing the Joint Circular No. 1, series of 2017, of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the Commission on Audit (COA).
Morena Fernandez, the president of Sweap-Northern Mindanao, said the labor union is opposing one of the provisions under the joint circular which allows the renewal of contract of existing contract of service (COS) and JO workers until December 31, 2018.
Come 2019, the government will hire contractual workers through private agencies - a practice also criticized by labor groups in the private sector.
"Employment of the COS and JOs in 2019 will be via a private agency. Since we have a procurement law that mandates the government to pick the lowest bidder, their salaries will expectedly be low as well," Fernandez said.
Under the joint circular, COS and JO workers should not be made to perform functions which are part of the job description of the agency's existing regular employees, following the implementation of the Rules and Regulations Governing Contract of Service and Job Order Workers in the Government which was signed jointly by the CSC, COA and DBM.
It also clarifies the nature of COS and Job Order (pakyaw) and addresses issues on the lack of social protection of workers and inequality in benefits and the obscure accountability of COS and JO workers due to lack of employee-employer relationship with the hiring agency.
The joint circular covers all National Government agencies, government-owned or controlled corporations with original charters, state universities and colleges, and constitutional bodies which avail of the services of COS and JO workers.
Oliver Inodeo, Pantawid Pamilya informational officer of DSWD-Northern Mindanao, however, said there's a possibility that the contractual and JO workers will be without jobs if the joint circular will be implemented.
DSWD, according to Inodeo, comprises of about 200 regular workers and more than 1,000 contractual and JO workers.
"1000 of those mawawalan ng trabaho, na nganganib, kung ipagpapatuloy itong joint circular (1,000 of those contractual and JO workers are in danger of losing their jobs if the implementation of the joint circular will continue)," Inodeo said.
The DSWD also called onto President Rodrigo Duterte on his promise on the regularization of the contractual and JO workers.
"Kung ang ating pangulo ay nag promise na regularisasyon sa ating mga job orders, dapat ipagtotoo na ito (When the President promised for the regularization of the job orders, it should be done). He must be true to his pronouncement na dapat i-regularized kasi qualified naman ito based on the Civil Service Law ang mga workers na to, so yun po ang pinu-push ng Sweap region 10 ng DSWD (that the contractual and JO workers should be regularized because based on the Civil Service Law, they are qualified. So, that's what the Sweap-Northern Mindanao of DSWD would like to push through)," Inodeo said.