DPWH exec recalls laid-off employees amid fund lack


dpwh logoBy Manilyn Ugalde

LEGAZPI CITY, 20Sept2013 – Despite lack of funds for casual employment, a district engineer here serving in concurrent capacity, recalled laid-off employees reportedly upon instruction from a lawmaker.

Earlier, district engineers of Bicol’s 16 district offices took the bold step, even against their will, of terminating almost 600 casual employees three months before the 2011 Christmas holiday, reportedly on order from the DPWH regional office.

An employee for 25 long years at the Albay First District Engineering Office cried foul, saying those who had the connections were actually retained.

Last week, Albay 2nd district engineer Rody Angolo recalled laid-off employees not in his own district but at the Albay First District Engineering Office despite complaints by some section chiefs on the insufficiency of funds for extra job-order and emergency-hired employees.

Angolo was the designated concurrent Albay first district engineer following the retirement of district engineer Roberto Rito last Aug. 18.

DPWH Albay First District administrative officer Teresita Talastas confirmed the recall of initially 14 employees.

Talastas clarified that the recalled employees were all emergency hired and that they did not require clearance from the regional director. She refused to elaborate.

Before his retirement, Rito had strongly stood firm on not rehiring close to 80 laid-off “job-order and emergency-hired employees” in his district since last year, saying those who were retained were sufficient enough to serve as assisting work force for his district.

The retained job-order employees, based on the DPWH policy in 2011, were equivalent to 50 percent of the permanent work force.

Rito said that while he had the same sympathy for those who were affected by the layoff, he stressed that the hiring of many employees was a waste of taxpayers’ money for having no work to do, in addition to the fact there is no specific fund for their service other than from projects savings.

Early last year, however, Rito allowed the rehiring of some of the terminated workers but only for at least a 10-day-work schedule a month.

Many of the waiting terminated employees cried foul, saying those who were initially rehired all came from the first district allegedly through the prodding of First District Rep. Edcel Lagman Jr.

An engineer, who asked not to be named for lack of authority to do so, being from the second district, confirmed that the new rehired employees all came from the first district.

Somebody close to Lagman, who asked not to be identified, said there is nothing wrong with employing emergency-hired workers from the first district as others DEOs also do the same in their respective districts.

Lagman’s close aide said the lawmaker only wanted to give employment opportunities to job seekers from the first district as they had been left out in employment in other districts and the First DEO also has in its employment workers from the second and third districts.

Assistant district engineer Rafael Presbitero, who reportedly received the list of the first batch of rehired employees, refused to comment when asked why the list contained only those from the first district.

Both the Albay First and 2nd district engineering offices are located in one DPWH compound near the airport site here within the second district.

The Albay First DEO covers the towns of Sto. Domingo, Bacacay, Malilipot, Malinao and Tiwi and Tabaco City where the rehired employees came from.

Reports said that many of the terminated employees exerted efforts to be recalled using appropriate connection following the rationalization program which upgraded emergency-hired and job-order workers’ daily wages from P250 and P300, respectively, or to a uniform rate of P409.(PNA)


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