7,000 Cebu City Hall employees to lose jobs

MAYOR’S VOW. Last December, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama promised not to abandon the workers of the City Government who will be affected by his rightsizing, and guaranteed them jobs.
MAYOR’S VOW. Last December, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama promised not to abandon the workers of the City Government who will be affected by his rightsizing, and guaranteed them jobs.SunStar File

THE Cebu City Government will not be renewing the contracts of some 7,000 City Hall employees if it stays on target with Mayor Michael Rama’s plan to only have 3,000 employees – whether regular, casual or job order – when his term ends in 2025.

This is because the City Government employs around 10,000 people, and not 7,000 as initially believed.

City Administrator Collin Rosell made the announcement during the flag ceremony on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024.

He attributed the discrepancy to a “miscalculation” of the total count.

Meanwhile, Human Resource and Development Office (HRDO) head Henry Tomalabcad admitted that his department committed lapses in getting the exact number, saying “there was miscommunication along the way.”

Tomalabcad said he will take full responsibility for the “hitches and glitches” along the way towards rightsizing.

He said that since Cebu City is the first local government unit in the country to apply it, they do not have any templates to follow.

“Naa ta’y mga (There were) discrepancies in terms of numbers of employees, especially the job order personnel, kay dili kay makuha ang (because couldn’t get) accurate numbers,” he said in front of fellow City Hall employees on Monday.

He said rightsizing, which entails adjusting the workforce to the appropriate size, is “intended for the good of everyone.”

In a follow-up interview, Rosell said there was a significant oversight in determining the precise number of employees at City Hall.

He said they need to adopt a distinct approach to address the issue and to achieve their goal.

Rosell said it is crucial to handle the problem that acknowledges the miscalculation, as there is a big difference between the two numbers.

He said the HRDO initially disclosed a count of at least 7,000 City Hall employees only to revise the number to 10,000.

“The error lies in the accuracy of determining the exact number of employees,” he said in a mix of Cebuano and English.

He said Rama is steadfast in trimming the number of City Hall employees.

Rosell emphasized the importance of thorough documentation in the HRDO to identify who is included in the employee count.

He said it is important to differentiate between current employees and employees who are unaccounted for, as it is not acceptable to base assessments solely on those already included.

He said the more employees the City Government hires, the more it has to take care of.

Last year, Rama promised not to abandon City Hall employees who will be affected by the rightsizing.

“One day 3,000 na lang ta (there will only be 3,000 employees). Ayaw mo kaguol (Don’t worry). Outsourcing ta (We will outsource). You will have jobs. I will guarantee those who will be displaced, you will still have jobs somewhere. You will never be makulban of kon (silenced dismissively), that will never happen,” Rama said during the flag ceremony on Dec. 18, 2023.

Past administrations

The number of City Hall employees ballooned to 10,183 in 2021 during the term of the late mayor Edgardo Labella.

When Labella died in November that year, then vice mayor Rama took his place to serve out the remaining 223 days of the former’s term.

On Monday, Rosell presented the number of City Hall employees since 2007 when Tomas Osmeña was still mayor.

In 2007, City Hall had 4,606 employees. When Rama served his firm term as mayor in 2010, the number was 4,503 employees. When Rama served his second term in 2013, there were 4,305 employees. The number climbed to 5,407 when Osmeña returned as mayor in 2016.

When Labella took office in 2019, the number of employees was 7,210. This went up to 8,420 in his second year in office before ballooning to 10,183 before his death in 2021.

In May 2022, Rama issued a memorandum stating that employees must undergo an evaluation to determine if they would still be included in the City’s payroll on July 1 that year.

Under the memo, the employees were evaluated based on the following: “kawatan (thief), tapulan (lazy), hugawan (messy), intrigiro (intriguer), pala-away (quarrelsome), walay nahibaw-an (ignorant), dili mo bayad og utang (does not pay debts), and mo buko-buko (backstabber).”

Based on the Cebu City Government’s official website, City Hall has 30 offices and departments, and 34 special bodies and offices attached to the mayor’s office.


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