THE Toledo City Government has temporarily let go of more than 100 job-order (JO) workers of the Toledo City Hospital because it lacks the legal basis to keep paying their salaries and wages.
Acting Mayor Antonio Yapha said that the JO personnel can only be reinstated if the City Council will approve the P1.2-billion budget for 2018.
Yapha said the 2018 budget is bigger than the P800-million budget for 2017 and includes P2 million for JO workers, among them six doctors and 52 nurses, midwives, medical technologists, ambulance drivers, security guards, and helpers.
The hospital has three buildings but only one is now being used because from Level One status with 50 beds authorized by the Department of Health (DOH), the city hospital has been reduced to an infirmary hospital with only 12 beds.
“I am ashamed of what has happened because I am a doctor of medicine. The temporary dismissal of the JO personnel has affected the delivery of basic health services,” Yapha said.
He also said that the 2018 proposed annual budget was submitted to the City Council presided by Acting Vice Mayor Joie Perales last October 2017 and was supposed to be approved before the year ended, but that hasn’t happened.
“I cannot reenact the 2017 annual budget because there was no action by the City Council. If they don’t agree with any items of the proposed annual budget, they (councilors) may delete some items, but not the entire budget because it involves the taxpayers’ money,” Yapha said.
He said the proposed projects in the budget had been approved by the Toledo City Development Council that includes representatives from non-government organizations and the academe.
“Worse, the City Council discussed other items as if they did not have a pending annual budget to attend to. They are vulnerable to administrative and criminal cases but I haven’t done it,” Yapha said.
In August 2017, the Office of the Ombudsman suspended Toledo City Mayor John Henry “Sonny” Osmeña for a year for grave abuse of authority.
When reached for comment, Acting Vice Mayor Perales said that councilors have until March 31, 2018 to approve the annual budget. She said that originally, Councilor Leo Dolino chaired the appropriations committee, but the lawyer suddenly relinquished the position.
Perales said that the new chairperson of the appropriations committee is Councilor Merle Abad and that the proposed annual budget is still being “evaluated and reviewed.”
She said she has also learned that the hospital management is in the midst of a transition period from the former chief to Dr. Bonito Zanoria.
“Why blame us for the stopping of services of the JO personnel?” Perales said.