THE fate of about 1,000 casual employees in the Cebu City Hall is in limbo, as Mayor Michael Rama moves toward achieving his goal of “rightsizing” the City Government’s manpower.
However, the City will try to find work for those employees who will be affected by the downsizing, Rama said in a press conference on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024.
He said the plan is to trim the number of employees, whether regular, casual or job order (JO), to just 3,000 before his term ends in 2025.
To prevent the matter from being politicized, he said the employees’ work performance will be evaluated. Those who pass will be retained, while those who fail will be let go.
Rama said he wants to streamline “online transactions” and go paperless across all offices and departments to make it easier to do business at City Hall.
He said he expects 27 departments to be connected online.
“We’re pursuing doing an ease of doing business, and online too. Twenty-seven departments are expected to be online. So there will less people coming to City Hall and because of that we are pursuing ‘rightsizing’ as a management perogative,” Rama said.
The mayor is also pushing to outsource other functions and jobs that will be left vacant, as well as limit foot traffic and physical interaction with the public.
Rama said the first time he became mayor in 2010, City Hall had around 4,000 employees. That number rose to 10,000 when the coronavirus pandemic struck under the administration of the late mayor Edgardo Labella, he said.
He said the Commission on Audit had found the number to be excessive and regarded it to be a “waste of money.”
Rama said the rightsizing was supposed to start last October, but he decided to defer it to 2024 so the employees would receive their Christmas bonus.
“Likely the regular employees will not be affected by the downsizing since they cannot be terminated because of security of tenure unless, of course, there are grounds. Number two, for casuals, if they are not renewed, then they are not terminated but they are not renewed. Non-renewal and termination are not the same. When it comes to job orders, it’s the same with casuals,” Rama said in a mix of Cebuano and English.
In the same press conference, Henry Tomalabcab, chief of the City’s Human Resource Development Office (HRDO), said City Hall currently has around 9,000 employees on its payroll.
He said more than 4,000 are JOs, while 3,212 are casual employees. Only 1,400 are regular employees, while around 200 are co-terminus, and 40-plus are contractual employees.
He said the renewal of casual employees’ appointments is ongoing, adding that 2,046 were renewed as of Tuesday.
However, he has no assurance that the appointments of the other 1,000 casual employees will be renewed.
Rama also announced that the security of tenure of all employees that will be hired between January and June will be six months instead of the usual three months.
Meanwhile, City Hall will implement interventions to cushion the effects of the downsizing, including connecting with employers in the private sector to encourage them to hire affected employees.
Suzzane Ardoza, head of the Department of Manpower Development and Placement, said they will conduct a special recruitment activity within the week to assist those whose appointments were not renewed.
She said they are waiting for the HRDO to provide them with a final list to identify those who will be out of a job and who will need assistance.
Ardoza said affected workers will have the option to avail themselves of livelihood assistance from the Department of Labor and Employment, or training programs with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
She said they will also ask their service providers and contractors to hire affected workers.
Based on the number of the plantilla or regular positions, the City Government has 3,888 items.
Ardoza said they will use this number as a guide when cutting down the number of employees in each department to determine how many jobs will be outsourced.