Bello says contractual workers in gov’t beyond his reach
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III told lawmakers on Thursday that ending contractualization within government, even inside the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), is well beyond his jurisdiction.
During the House Committee on Appropriations’ budget hearing, Bello answered questions why there are contractual workers within the department itself, which has called for the end of labor-contracting only practices.
“Honestly your honor I share your sentiments about the situation of our public sector employees, unfortunately it is not within my jurisdiction,” he said, in response to queries from Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate.
“The public employment is under the jurisdiction of the Civil Service Commission (CSC),” he claimed.
According to Zarate, it is “ironic” why there are 15 casual workers, 228 contractual employees, and 2,071 job orders inside DOLE.
“This is the irony of all ironies, the department who is saying to our private companies and factories to end ‘endo,’ but we have a lot of government workers within the department who do not have a security of tenure,” Zarate told the committee.
Bello further explained the differences between the public and private sectors, and insisted that some situations call for hiring contractual workers even in government.
“But having said that Your Honor, we have to consider the difference between a business establishment and the government agencies. Because basically business establishment is for profit, while the government agency is for service,” he said.
“Sometimes we have to resort to hiring casuals or job-orders. And the very good example would be during the Yolanda calamity Your Honor, where government was compelled to hire as many as 5,000 to 7,000 people to address the incident,” he added.
In previous budget hearings, Bello has also admitted that DOLE has contractual workers. In 2017, he cited budgetary constraints as the main reason why DOLE has not regularized all of its workers. /jpv
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