HCDC president: School’s financial troubles led to retrenchment

Photo grabbed from Holy Cross of Davao College website
Photo grabbed from Holy Cross of Davao College website

THE Holy Cross of Davao College (HCDC) management admitted that the financial woes brought by the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in its board of trustees retrenching all its employees effective 2021.

HCDC President Bro. Noelvic Deloria said in a radio interview via Crossian Youth Meet-Up on 89.9 dxGN Spirit FM on Friday, December 4, 2020, that prior to becoming the school’s president in June this year, there were already a series of dialogues with workers, where they presented the financial status of the school.

Despite some workers voluntarily offering to the school administration to reduce their working days and salaries at a certain percentage and other benefits, Deloria said this was still not able to save the institution from its deficits.

It was then when the school's board of trustees decided on November 19 to retrench all its teaching and non-teaching staff, which would take effect beginning January 1, 2021.

"Atong deficits, dagko kaayo. Gisamutan pa karong pandemic. So nag-ilaid gyud ta karon sa kalisdanan financially. Busa, tungod niini, mao na nga ang board of trustees naka-decide nga aduna gyud pag-retrench sa tanang empleyado," Deloria said.

(We had huge deficits and this was worsened during the pandemic. We are struggling financially. With this, the board of trustees decided to retrench all employees.)

Deloria added that retrenching is the only "viable" means to keep the school operating.

He denied during an interview that the retrenchment did not undergo due process.

The school president said they submitted a communication to the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) on November 23 regarding the management's decision.

Under Dole’s guidelines, there should be a one-month period of notification before the retrenchment would take effect.

"Nasunod gyud namo ang proseso sa Dole (We followed the process required by Dole)," Deloria said.

The management's response came days after Kilusang Mayo Uno-Southern Mindanao Region (KMU-SMR) posted on their Facebook page an internal communication letter, signed by Deloria, wherein it stated that the retrenchment is effective December 31, 2020 for college-level employees, January 31, 2021 for graduate school, and May 31, 2021 for the Basic Education Department. The internal document has been circulating on social media and shared by KMU-SMR on its Facebook page.

While Deloria did not react to the circulated letter, he confirmed some of the letter's provisions, including the suspension of Basic Education that will start in Academic Year (AY) 2021-2022.

He also confirmed that employees must inform the school via letter or email of their chosen package on or before November 25. After the deadline, only the retrenchment package will apply.

HCDC, meanwhile, will not cease operations despite the retrenchment of a large number of employees.

"Magpadayon ang HCDC. Mao kana ang gipaningkamotan sa management nga mupadayon gyud ang Holy Cross of Davao College despite the severe or serious financial crisis sa atong eskwelahan," the school president said.

(HCDC will continue to operate. That is what the management is trying to sustain the school’s operation despite the severe or serious financial crisis it endured.)

He said the school lost 50 percent of its total enrollees in all levels this year compared to the previous school years, particularly in 2015 to 2016, the period when the impact of the K to 12 program was mostly felt.

Despite experiencing financial constraints in the previous years, he said the management did not retrench anyone.

He assured that affected employees will get their separation pay and benefits.

In addition, he mentioned they will be offering retirement packages to eligible employees.

He said the management will reorganize its financial and organizational structures after the implementation of the retrenchment.

KMU-SMR earlier condemned the management's action calling it "illegal and inhumane" while the country is still under a state of pandemic.

The labor group also slammed the school's move as "dubious for various reasons."

It added HCDC "is taking advantage of the present pandemic in justifying the adverse effect of the current situation to its operations."

KMU urged affected employees to "challenge the illegal action and collectively fight" for their tenure. The group also called on the government to look into the situation.


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