A party-list lawmaker on Saturday urged government agencies to rehire or renew the job contracts of an estimated 700,000 casual and contractual employees in the bureaucracy who lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor made the proposal to address the unemployment due to the pandemic.
“These casual, contractual, job-order personnel, or whatever we call them, should be rehired. We should not add to the joblessness in the country and to the suffering of our people caused by the pandemic by terminating their services,” he said.
The employment contracts of this personnel expired last Dec. 31.
Defensor said the House of Representatives should set the example and take the lead in rehiring casual and contractual employees by renewing the contracts of its affected personnel.
He said contractual, casual and JO employees do an important job in the bureaucracy, as they fill vacant positions and help regular personnel.
He said the government, which is the country’s biggest employer, has the funds to continue employing these workers.
“The funds for salaries we appropriate in the annual budget include compensation for these workers. So there will be funds in this year’s budget for their continued employment,” he added.
Defensor cautioned agencies against choosing to not rehire such employees in an attempt to generate savings that they could use for other purposes.
“The President and Congress should not allow that. Funds for salaries are meant to be spent for personnel compensation and other benefits. They can try to save on other appropriations but not salaries,” he said.
President Duterte signed the 2021 national budget last Dec. 28.
The House and the Senate increased their appropriations for this year by P1 billion each for a combined funding amounting to P28.5 billion.
Of that amount, congressmen will have P18.2 billion, while senators will get P8.8 billion. The Commission on Appointments will receive P815 million.
The Senate Electoral Tribunal has a budget of P303 million. Its House counterpart will get P272.5 million.